Before continuing with the story of my adventures in Benin, a small Indian interlude. It has been almost a year that I have not spoken to you about India , a height when this country is engraved in the very name of the blog! So here is an anecdote that, better than a long speech, should express quite well why sometimes, in India, the Westerner that we are can saturate a little , just a little. Nothing really bad, rest assured, just an anecdote.
On a hot February afternoon, I arrived in Ahmedabad , the largest city in the state of Gujarat . After the calm of Bundi , Chittorgarh and Udaipur, so it left for a good dose of Indian brothel . Like all major Indian cities, Ahmedabad is polluted, chaotic, noisy, messy, finally it’s India. But Ahmedabad, it will also be the story of a memorable night . A story for which the epithet only in India fits perfectly.
I just got off the bus from Udaipur as the rickshaws came to the rescue. But Ahmedabad is not a tourist city, we agree on a price in less than 5 seconds. And here we go for a Mario Kart tour. Buses, trucks, taxis, dogs, cows, and as many zigzags, fish tails, ” but no it does not pass” followed by ” ah bah si in fact” , and then horns, still horns, always horns.
Mission hotel room
At the announcement of the first two hotels where I want to go, the rickshaw wallah makes me the shot of ” it’s closed, but I know another”. Yes that’s it, and I know the song. The third and the fourth are complete, decidedly, hard to find a cheap hotel to stay in Ahmedabad. After having locked some addresses of my choice, I leave the rickshaw at the controls. We furrow the neighborhood, one shot is complete, the next is not allowed to welcome tourists, the next is too expensive, bigre, it is almost never happened to me to fight so much to find a room.
In the tenth , bingo, a free room. 1100 Rs 1 15 € It’s more than what I usually pay in India, but it will do. Thank you, Mr. Rickshaw Wallah, without his precious help, I’ll be there again. And check made the same evening, the first two addresses were well and truly closed! Like what, outside the tourist cities, rickshaws nice and honest, it exists.
The next day, it’s time to visit, but what to visit in Ahmedabad? As often traveling in India, I spend my day walking around the streets, drinking a chai around here, smoking a bidi there, take pictures over here, put my ass to observe everything there. The old city between its market and the big mosque, Jama Masjid , is really conducive to that. And the tourist is not really legion, people are curious without being at least oppressive.
Small trip also to the Ashram of Sabarmati founded by Gandhi . It is not necessarily transcendent, but it has the merit of recalling some of the actions of the great man.
Then came the night …
All this was not unpleasant, but not necessarily memorable. At most a day like any other in India. In fact, what I will probably remember most of Ahmedabad, it is this rather epic night .
Being a little feverish (a little bronchitis had just pointed the tip of his nose), I go to bed early, at 22 h. The street is still very noisy, but I am HS, and fatigue helping, I should end up getting sleep. And then the hours passing, the sound of the horns will eventually end up lessening. But Bonux first gift, in addition to horns, I have the right to the shrill beep of a car alarm that is active, followed by the beep of the same alarm that is this time off. Beep, beep, beep, beep-beep with at most a pause of 5 to 10 seconds between each. And that, right under my window, the thing that annoys just a little. But all good things having an end, the game ends up stopping. It’s midnight. Yes, midnight, the guy played with his alarm for two hours! The story does not say whether, in the end, the alarm of the car remained or not activated!
Medor, shut up Medor
There is still traffic in the streets of Ahmedabad, but no more, everything is fine. All is well, until my canine friends decide to push the ditty . It starts with classic barking, but quickly, they fight, and icing on the cake, some start screaming at death. And to accompany this canine concert of some percussions, my friends the pigeons who have taken up residence above the block of air-conditioning out of order of my room enter the dance. They do not coo, but tirelessly scratch a thin wooden plate that separates me from them. It is 1:30 in the morning and the concert is still in full swing. There are still no reminders.
Gateway to the old town. A pretty henna color. And that farting …
Is the end of the concert, I do not know, but I end up falling asleep. Finally, not for very long, because I wake up a little later in swimming, half panicked . No, the pigeons did not burst into my room. Simply, instead of dreaming peacefully, I was plunged into a nightmare . In this nightmare, I sleep in a house, I do not know where someone burst during my sleep. But not a cool guy who gets stuck with your computer and your camera without asking for his rest. No, a maniac who as soon as he finds a glass object breaks it and comes slice the flesh with the shard of glass. And it never ends. As soon as I managed to escape and barricade myself in another room he reappeared. He breaks a new bottle and starts his little game again. I am absolutely terrified, and to say that waking me was a real relief.
And if we tapped the talk now
I finally find my mind and calm down. It is now 4 am and I would have nothing against a little nap, but without a nightmare if possible. But it’s not counting on my roommates who have, it seems, decided that it is not really time to sleep. They talk like daylight in their rooms and in the corridors of the hotel. This is not the first time I have been to India, and in these situations, complaining is usually not very productive. On the other hand, if you really want to fart a cable, why not.
Respect for the calm and sleep of others is not really an Indian concept. Most of the time, your interlocutor, even if he speaks English, will pretend not to understand what he is talking about. I remember one night in Hyderabad where, after very calmly and politely asking my two roommates to speak a little less loudly, one of them replied: ” sorry sir, we do not know what happened with your luggage. Please ask the reception for That Matter “2 sorry sir, we do not know what it is spent with your luggage. Please ask at the reception . The guy does not care a little (a lot) of my mouth, but that’s not really the purpose of the maneuver. Simply, he refuses to lose face by recognizing his wrongs, and takes out the first thing that goes through his head. He might be discussing suitcases with his friend, so here you are, you’re entitled to a baggage story!
God is great
At 5:30, my neighbors are probably a bit of a bar because they end up quiet. My alarm clock is set at 6:30, happiness, a good little hour of sleep waiting for me. Admit, you too believe in it? No, my hotel is near a mosque and it’s time for the first prayer. The muezzin plugs his microphone, and go for some Allah akbar , Allah akbar. Allah is great, yes, no doubt, but now right now, this muezzin is especially a great pain! But without him, history might have missed a fall worthy of the name.
Shortly after, my alarm clock rings. I get up, loop my backpack and take a rickshaw to get to the station. In the cool early morning, the streets of Ahmedabad are very quiet , a height. There are just a few rickshaws filled to the brim with kids bags of schoolchildren heading for school.
As for me, I’m waiting for my train to Junagadh on the platform of the station. All’s well That ends well. I won a night so to speak white, but at the same time, a story that will have you, I hope, amused. Only in India ! And you, where was your portnawak night traveling?