Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Arrival in Surat
Back at the hospital, our group splits. Most people will drive back to Vallabh Vidyanagar. But Adam has offered to visit another educational institution which is interested in establishing links with overseas contacts. This would be in Surat, a few hours more to drive from here. Beccy and myself have been interested in this, but she does not feel so good today - some of the spicy food has not been kind to her. We are considering cancelling that trip, but Adam convinces here that it would be good to go. So the other ones take off, and Beccy, Adam, Asha, and myself stay behind.
We sit in the garden, chat with out hosts while it gets dark. A great view onto the starry sky. At 8pm the driver from Surat arrives, we say good-bye and drive off into the darkness. The driver seems to want to make up time, he drives quite energetically over the potholes. Often we "test the suspension" - yes, it still works ok.
After 45 minutes we get a call, from the people back at the hospital. They found an ID card, with the name "Reinhold Behringer". What the hell...? I check my wallet, everything is there. I did not take my passport with me. What could this ID card be? Then I realise: it is my German driver license! Just a few months ago I had been looking for it for a few weeks, because I had replaced it and could not find it. And now this old grey paper document has again disappeared. Fortunately Dr. Yoshi would bring it to Vallabh Vidyanagar on Thursday, so I would have it back then. I have to find a better place to carry it with me than the mobile phone pocket.
A few times we cross railway tracks of those narrow gauge lines. I mark the position on my GPS, to be able to explore them sometime in the future, maybe. The ride goes through a lot of construction. After a while, the air begins to smell "chemically" - there are many factories outside, we are driving through a very industrial area. Around 11:30 we arrive in the outskirts of Surat, at the Pacific Inn Hotel. Makes a nice impression in the dark - before I enter the bath room. There are the usual buckets and fossets/taps on the wall, no surprise there, but the bath tub is something that I must take a picture of: it has stains, traces of dirty water, I would really not want to step in there and take a shower, not talking about a bath. And the toilet... well, I will be kind to the readers and spare them a detailed description of what was swimming in there... I wanted to take a photograph as evidence, but then I shy-ed away because it was just too disgusting. The whole think looked like something from the movie "Trainspotting"...
Well, no time to think much, I switch off the air conditioner and go to sleep.