Weekend in Surat


To summarize how I feel after this weekend, all I have to say is that I am really glad to be back in the quiet, peaceful community of Kadod in the comfort of my bedroom. How to begin to describe how spending the weekend in Surat was... Well, we stepped out of the bus, and one of the first things we had to do was play a real life game of Frogger to get to the other side of the street and start looking for hotels.

We must've just stood there for at least 5 minutes, just watching traffic whizzing by in all directions, laughing and asking ourselves whether or not this was really going to happen. But as we watched other Indians walk into the river of auto-rickshaws, buses, cars, and motorcycles, seemingly unphased by the prospect of possibly losing their lives, we realized that we just had to take our first steps, and trust that the traffic would avoid us. What I learned is that once I step out into the street, I can't stop. The drivers heading toward me expect me to keep walking, and they adjust their direction accordingly. When I froze a couple of times, I'll admit I was nearly grazed by some vehicles.

After checking the rates at a few hotels, we settled on one called the Dreamland Hotel. The owner of the hotel, Anil, sat us down in his office and demanded that we share a cup of coffee and biscuits with him before we headed back out. Nice guy. For the rest of the afternoon, we took rickshaws from one part of the city to another. There wasn't much for us to do. It was fun seeing the occasional American store like a Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, and Citibank. We ended the day at the Kandeel Revolving Restaurant, a restaurant that does just what it says it does at the top of a hotel. The dinner was a buffet, and the food was incredible (for only $5)!

view from outside the revolving restaurant

the surat revolving restaurant

After a good night of sleep, we were excited to do some more exploring. We stopped a rickshaw driver and just asked him to take a place for breakfast that's cheap with good food. He first suggested a place that was just around the corner, but we, wanting to be a bit more adventurous, told him to take us farther. "Oh, beach is very nice. And very good place eat there is." Wow! The beach! The 50-minute ride in the cramped rickshaw seemed worth it for a good meal by the beach. Here are some important observations we made as soon as we got out and paid the driver his fare:

1. The extent of food was a few snack stands.
2. The sand was an alluvial soil (aka mud).
3. The nearest point where there was water was at least a 30-minute walk out through the mud.

We'd taken the effort to get that far, so we figured we couldn't just go back without at least having reached the water. The first few minutes of the walk were fine. The mud was dry enough to give us firm footing. The further we went out, though, the wetter the mud became until my sandals were carrying about 5 pounds of mud each. Had to lose the sandals and walk with mud filling the spaces between my toes and sometimes coming up as high as my ankles. Here are some of the more scenic shots I was able to capture.

In summary, it might be a little while before I make a trip back out to Surat, but I'm also glad I've been able to see a little bit more of India outside of Kadod. Going on this mini-adventure has made me excited about getting out and really exploring this country. Walking through downtown Surat with legs caked in dried mud, I think things can only be uphill from here!


curiouscrunch said...

The revolving restaurant sounds pretty awesome...though I'm not sure how I feel about the beach. :x

alexlee said...

yeah that restaurant looks awesome

noonarulez said...

keep up the great blogging!! loved the rickshaw ride video.

Post a Comment

This entry is filed under .

You can also follow any responses to all entry through the RSS Comments feed.