GUJARAT, WHAT NO BEER ?

It’s a “Dry State” of affairs in Gujarat !

By Will.

7/11/16 Monday, Gandhinagar, get well soon Jenny, day off.
8/11/16 Tuesday, Gandhinagar to Rajkot, 250kms, 6.5 hours.

Anyone who knows me or has read any of our blog posts, will know I don’t mind the odd refreshing ale after a hard days riding ! Jenny likes to have the occasional cider or red wine, during our India tour she has been having a shandy or two (beer mixed with sprite).

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While Jenny rests I spend some time watching the locals play cricket.

The first night we arrived into Gandhinagar (pop. 250k) meant we had crossed the State line of Rajasthan & Gujarat , cool must have missed the border sign on the back roads somehow ! Maybe it was behind a water buffalo ?

In Gandhinagar we had booked into the Grand Midway Hotel, ($36 per night) it is on the 10th floor, perched above a Bollywood Cinema Complex, which was probably why we could hear loud music playing most of the day and until about 10pm. We arrived late, around 5pm and were stuffed after our great ride through the country side.

I asked if I could get 3 Kingfisher Beers to help relieve my aching right shoulder. Jenny was coughing & spluttering but said a shandy would be nice. Before the beer was delivered, reception rang our room & said it was going to cost 500IR per 500ml bottle….whoa that equals $30 Aussie, gee I’m not that thirsty. A little alarm bell started ringing in my head. So no beer just sprite, oh and pizza, sorry about that curry lovers.

The next day I discovered that Gujarat is a Dry State with prohibition & the only way you can purchase beer is with a permit. It all sounded like way to much effort to me.
I had resigned myself to water & Chai until we reached the next State of Maharashtra in about 7 days.

Poor Jenny was feeling terrible with a shocking head cold, elevated temperature & bad cough, I booked in for another night & Jenny slept the day away. During the day I came across the owner of our Hotel, Mr Seth , he must have felt bad for me & explained there was an Alcohol Dispensary not far away & he would write me a letter of recommendation & permission saying that I would only consume the evil beer in my room. It would have been impolite to refuse.

Beer mission successful, still way to much effort to go through it again.

In the late afternoon of Monday we headed over to Alcohol Dispensary with all my paperwork & documents, the minimum I was allowed to purchase was 5 x 500ml bottles of Carlsberg, (max is 12 bottles) hot of course. I had to sign my name on 6 different documents, permits, etc. then handed over 600 Gandhi’s , it was so weird ! Funny we met an other Aussie in there getting his evil juice supplies, Miral originally from India but immigrated to Oz, 20 plus years ago. He lives in Perths north with his wife & children. Just over for a quick family visit, he reminded me how lucky us Australians are ! Too Right Mate, we are !

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Finally up and thinking about some dinner, after lying in bed all day recovering.

Later Jen & I had a lovely dinner at the Fortune Hotel. By Indian standards dinner was a fortune for the two of us it cost $36 for a 3 course buffet style meal, that included Rogan Josh with mutton, oh it was so good ! Red meat & beer, Willsie’s world is right again !

Tuesday saw us up fairly early, around 7am. I was a little tired (no it’s not what you think, I only had one beer). My brother Geoff, who is holidaying in the USA got his time zones mixed up and gave me a phone call at 4am to see how team wiljen were getting on, thanks bro.

Jenny was feeling quite a bit better, but was still coughing like a chain smoker. We had breakfast, packed up, fuelled up the bikes & were on the road by 9am. Gandhinagar seems like a nice place & possibly we should have at least checked out it’s ancient/modern Hindi Temple called Akshardham (1992). We nearly looked at it the previous night but it is closed on Mondays.

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Rajkot here we come, 250kms away.

Most of our ride today was on the highway, not to much back road action. The biggest high light was lunch at a road side stop, it was various vegetarian curries, but the funny thing was they just kept bringing out more & more food. We kept saying no more but they only spoke Gujarati, in the end we just stopped eating anymore. I had an inkling we may have been getting slightly Carpet Bagged, but the bill only came to 180IR ($3.60) for all that food and bottled water, I tried to give them a $1 tip but they refused to accept it. Really nice people !

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Our really cool & funny lunch break.

Motor bike action shots, not as good as the GoPro, but I have a new plan to get that going again.

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Every time we stop, locals show up to talk to us and get a selfie with the weird Aussies.

The ride into Rajkot a city of 1.5 million people was a bit daunting. Our Hotel called Evershine is located right in the middle, ie city centre. The traffic was bad & we missed our first turn off, Jenny & I had a little argument over the intercom, but quickly recovered & went into plan B.

Davo GPS had done a good job getting us this far, it was now time to let Madam Google do her thing. Jen did a top job leading us into the heart of Rajkot , I cannot describe to you how manic the traffic is, trucks, bikes, Tuk tuks, cars, Jeeps,  cows, camels pulling wagons, hybrid motor trike tractor thingy’s, people, dogs, the list goes on. We finally pulled over to the roadside and Jenny said it should be here ??? A local noticed we looked lost and asked if he could help. We told him our Hotel name, he laughed and pointed out the next building. We had done it ! (NB: it was survival riding, so no time for photos, of the traffic, I’ve come up with a plan to get the GoPro back in action).

Rajkot, somehow we safely arrive at our Hotel, Evershine in the city centre.

Later tonight we’ll go out for dinner, then have a couple of sneaky beers in our room, we’ll have to take the evidence with us as there is a big sign in our room saying “No consumption of alcohol on the premises ” “offenders will be reported to the police”.

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The riot act on the back of our door, the bottom motto is a laugh.

The Barmy Army are in town as England are playing India tomorrow in the 1st Test Cricket Match. I wonder how they are all getting along. Seen a few of them wandering the streets.

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