Saturday, 16 June 2012

Daman and not much of Nashik

Another early start from Vadodara I navigated through the city onto the highway south. Pretty easy road out and then onto a six lane road for the rest of the day. Getting closer to Mumbai the traffic's getting heavier again though. Trucks everywhere, trucks overtaking trucks, cars speeding and using the horn to push away traffic with the power of sound waves (it doesn't work very well). And me! At high speed in the middle of all of this.

I skipped Surat, not much of interest except for a big jewel market. According to the Lonely Planet a majority of the worlds diamonds are cut in Surat. But I was headed to something better (tax free alcohol). Near Surat and south the highway goes through some large Industrial lands where they all seem to be making some sort of chemicals with a big ammonia or urine smell. Quite unpleasant to ride through.

Closer to Daman everything starts to look tropical. Greener trees, palm trees, clearer sky and humidity rather than plain old heat. I was going to see the ocean again too, but I'm not sure I expected much.

Daman is an ex-Portuguese settlement, along with Goa and Diu. And like the other two, it comes with little to no tax on Alcohol. For Daman this is the only selling point. I went to the beach as soon as I arrived...

Yep. That's what I expected.
Garbage everywhere. Some of it on fire.

Knowing I wouldn't be spending too much time sightseeing in Daman I found a hotel room and got to enjoying the cheap grog. A 600mL bottle of beer is only $1AU, so I gave Fosters a try. Don't like it, but it has that Australian beer taste to it. A 180mL bottle of Indian rum was only 75cents, and a 365mL bottle of Vodka (to put in my Limca) was about $1.80AU. There are customs checks on all the roads out, and also Daman is surrounded by the state of Gujurat where alcohol is banned (unless you have an easy to get license).

So I was set for a while... No need to go outside, it was hot out there anyway.

I did go down and see one of the old Portuguese forts however.

The way in.

From the top of the fort wall. Look at all that poo water floating past.

More of the fort.

Every one of those holes was filled with rubbish...

I think they're all bullet holes. Target practice I guess...

The curch inside the fort.
And that was is for the fort. I walked the loop back along the beach to get to the hotel, it was the same distance, perhaps I missed some of the trash I found yesterday.

Fishing fleet, in for repairs.

More boat repair.

Houses and garbage.

Ahh, brown sand, brown water.

Looks so inviting doesn't it.

No idea why this was on the beach.

And that was it for sights in Daman. I went back to focusing on drinking for a while.

After a slow morning start at 8am, I headed out of Daman towards Nashik. But on the way out I stopped at a beach just to the south of Daman.

Better... But not by much. I've been spoilt by wandering the beaches of Malaysia and Thailand (and Queensland)

All the rubbish that people leave on the beach ends up here. There was a LOT of it.
For the rest of the day I'd be riding along roads in very good condition with little traffic. The roads wind through the hills with a couple of villages along the way. There was one BIG market that I had to ride past, lots of people just in that spot. On the roads around it were 4wd's filled with people, and then another 10 people hanging on to the outside or sitting on the roof.

My bike!

The road winding down a hill.

Panorama time!
The other odd thing today is that with the lack of people everywhere I could actually stop on the road and not have people flock to me (well my bike, not me). People still stopped though. If I was still for about five minutes taking photos or looking for accommodation someone would have turned up to stare at the bike in awkward silence. There was one awkward scene getting petrol when after I filled up and pushed my bike out the way everyone was too busy staring at me and the bike to remember they were there to get petrol. Indians do like themselves some staring.

Once I got to Nashik I tried to find a hotel though the various one way crowded streets, locking up the rear brakes a lot as pedestrians or bikes decided they suddenly wanted to be in front of me. The GPS didn't have all the roads marked in this town, and a lot of them were one way streets. I eventually found a way into the spot where the Lonely Planet mentioned a largish hotel that may have somewhere to park, but I failed to find any sign of it. I got sick of riding through the middle of this city so I set the GPS for a hotel that was along the highway figuring there'd be more along the way somewhere. And there where, just very expensive. The hotel the GPS was navigating to was in the region of $80+/night (nothing compared to *.au). I consulted trip advisor and the number one hotel on their list was a budget hotel with rooms for about $20/night, and that's where I ended up.

In the morning on the way towards Auranubad I stopped of at Nashiks big attraction, the big bathing tanks in the path of the river called Ramkund.

Here you can swim in the ashes of your dead relatives. And/or garbage.

Futile efforts.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice pictures. Very useful post. The word Daman is a corruption of Portuguese word Damao. Though its age is unknown, it’s said to have existed during the same time as the Bassein Port, which in turn traces its origins to 9 CE. In the 16th century, prior to its capture by the Portuguese, Daman was a part of the Gujarat Sultanate. Check out all best places to visit in Daman also.