Monday, December 06, 2004


I arrived at Ahemabad after another long bus journey from Udaipur.

I was close to getting scammed again, but just escaped it!

I got a taxi to the travel agents from where the bus left. The bus was an express bus (5 hours) leaving at 08:00 as my ticket said.
I showed my ticket to a guy from the travel agency who said to wait here for the bus. In India different travel agents sell bus tickets for the company who actually runs the bus, all kinda confusing and with little comeback if something goes wrong.

There was a bus already there going to Ahemabad waiting there but when I asked about it I was told that was the deluxe bus and cost 300rps, my ticket was 180rps. I could pay the difference if I was in a hurry, otherwise the bus would be here at 08:30, even though my ticket said 08:00.
Just as the bus was about to leave, and the travel agent was indoors I showed my ticket to the guy at the bus waiting, where I promptly got onboard.

I get the feeling that if the travel agent had seen me he would of shouted (in Hindi) to not let me on without paying more money! And as everybody seems to get a cut of the comission it would of been in his favour to make me pay. Or maybe I'm just getting paranoid!!

Still I was happy to get onboard the express bus, as I had seen other agency sell tickets for the 08:30 bus, which took another hour or so.

So when I arrived at Ahemabad as the bus guy had thrown my luggage in the hold I didn't have a chance to find a hotel from my guide book.
So I ended up standing in the bus station reading my guide book, with four or five taxi drivers surrounding me watching intently and sometime throwing in suggestions for their hotels.
Anyway once I had selected my hotel, one driver seemed to be chosen based on my hotel choice. So he took me to the hotel for a reasonable 20rps and I don't even think he got comission as my hotel was the stated price. I was very suprised! However the hotel was a bit of a dump and I resolved to look for a better place tomorrow.

I went to the train station to try and reserve a ticket but the office had closed at 14:00, as it was Sunday, and it was now nearer three. When I say it was closed, it was closed in a way that only an Indian office could be closed. There was one member of staff remonstrating with everybody that came in that the office was closed! Still I managed to get a reservation form from him. For some reason forms can only be got from behind a counter. Usually at the train station you see people shoving their way to the front to get a form from staff whilst they are dealing with another customer. Sometimes you think they are making things awkward just for the sheer hell of it! Being all very British and unaccostommed to jumping to the front of the queue and shouting at the staff for a form, whilst they are dealing with someone else, it takes me ages just to get a reservation form. You need to sharpen your elbows if you want to get ahead in India!

As trains must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance, and my train was leaving at 22:00 then on the Sunday I couldn't get a train till the Tuesday night. This led me to think about the hotel situation, if I could find a hotel with 24 hour check out then I may as well go to a better hotel tonight, instead of tommorow. So I checked into a new hotel at 21.00 on Sunday where I should be able to stay until 21.00 on Tuesday and catch my train. It's still just two nights with the advatange that I have a room up until my train. Well I think thats how it should work out!

I went for to a fancy restaurant last night called Agashiye at the House of MG (

It was more posh than I expected! There was a set price of 300 rps for the menu (100 rps more than my guide book said, still keeps out the riffraff!!) which changes every day.

I was led to the rooftop where the starter was served. I don't know what half the food was though! After the started I moved through to the main outside dining area, which had mosiaced tiled seats which reminded me of ones I seen in Parc Gaudi. There I was and waiters covered the table in food! I couldn't believe how much there was. I had a main plate with 2 bowls of soup, a veg dish and some potatoes and peas. There was also curd, poppadoms, parantha and another form of bread. Also a bowl of herbs and spices to add, a large bowl of something that looked like turnip, a small bowl of fancy decorated food and a coconut drink. I think I'm forgetting another couple of dishes.
When I finshed anything a waiter immediately appeared offering to top it up! And then can another waiter with a giant bowl of rice turned up, ugh too much. Although still a small room for some ice-cream with came with about 8 bowls of decorations like nuts, raisins, etc.

I finally waddled back to my hotel and flopped on my bed. Definitely the fanciest meal I've had in India!

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