Part 1


Catch plane early in the morning, get security checked lots at Heathrow.

1st plane is okay, Boeing 777 [the big one], watch Clash of Titans, Xmen and the start of a Hindi film. I like the women in the films especially a film another passenger was watching.

Long wait at Mumbai, nothing really to do, tried to go to the loo but was wet and disgusting so gave up.

Lady on bus tells us we must take seats and we must check our boarding passes, she is very funny, bossy.

Second plane is small Airbus three seats then three seats. It pulls up to take off, but then has to go back because it was broken. shit scared. Takes of think, I'm going to die, weird look with beautiful but skinny stewardess. Make jokes later about it.

Arrive Ahmedabad, really nice airport lots of plants and water feature.

Forms filled out wrong so customs guy thinks we are naughty. Lets us through after making us wait five minutes. Dan hits passport on side, this annoys him.

Bag takes ages to come, really worried, but then it comes.

Plane was delayed so arrive at 5.30, Indian guys have been waiting long time, see Tarun first and don't know who he is, then see Sharan, Sharan is a welcome face, he is like the boss, then he goes and we get on an old bus with Tarun, the other two go on motorbike.

Bus journey is fun, takes not too long, roads are dangerous, 'blue cow' runs out in front of us, Tarun translates. Arrive at NID, Ghandinagar. Drive in through security, the other guys arrive on silent motorbike, very strange.

Yuri goes of to her bit then they help us to our room.

It is on the fourth floor, building does not seem finished, lift to floor.

Room is white, two beds in living room, which I have pushed together for my bed until Amit arrives. Greg and Gian in other room and Dan and Brenden in the other, they have ensuite but I have to use them. Go to bed, ceiling fans make this easy.

There is a balcony and lizards in the room.


Men come into room to change taps.

Lots of dogs and birds of prey, chipmunks and a cat.

Recreation room has guitar and drums, ping pong etc.

nothing is finished, no buildings.

Dusty ground everywhere.

White socks are dirty after walking in the street.

Pretty girl in foyer of main hostel building.

Met warden and dean, no idea what they said, something about not bringing either alcohol or women into room only in hotels. He lives on the 1st floor, 6d, we live on the forth.

Three wheeled rickshaw fits five people in, two in the front, try to rip you off, but 40 rupees to weird market.

Weird market people want to give us white bag, manager makes them get us really good carrier bag.

Begging child appears. Gian tells story about someone giving a small boy a new kit to polish shoes, he was killed for it.

Market everyone stairs at us, very weird but only a bit worrying.

Long walk back, roads are dangerous.

Going to the toilet, lizards in the room: two small, then suddenly one big.

There are ants everywhere, but not seen mosquitoes.

Rooms are okay because okay ceiling fans.

Everywhere smells, musky.


No sleep and get up early worried about getting Colin sorted of the plane. He arrives at 0300hrs the next day [17th]

go down to breakfast with no shower, everyone wants to go to Ahmedabad early. First bus at nine, which leaves at half nine.

Breakfast first, only small light breakfast for me of crushed yellow rice. Not very hungry and feeling a little ill.

See Anita she tells me of a guide that helped her and could find Colin a room and collect him from the airport: Parekh JUGDISH Somabha, tourist guide.

Bus ride takes just over an hour and is very hot. The roads are busy, but get to see a lot on the way.

At first the city seems not so nice like the market from yesterday, but as we get into the centre it becomes better and better.

We arrive at NID Paldi campus at the main gate.

Security look at us weirdly but not with anger in their eyes.

We find out that we must go to an office, which we don't know where is.

We meet Catherine Aberneithe, coordinator, international programmes. She says we are in the wrong place and that Deepak who we came to meet was in Ghandinagar. She arranges a tour and then a money transfer at 1200.

The tour is long and boring a man whose name I forget takes us round the building very much like UCA and shows us things I care little about, library, IT centre, glass studio, metal workshop, wood workshop, visitor centre with info about NID, sponsored labs, 3d printer, chairs, furniture store, with weird see-saw and mood board of Paris Hilton. He did not show us the photography department and to be honest I was relieved.

Money man turns up to help with transfer, we do it out side on benches/chairs that are covered by the building. It feels like a drug deal as he carefully goes through each of us one by one until we all have wads of 1000 rupee notes [which are useless because they are too big and no one has change]. Also we need copies of passports and visas which he watches us sign.

After this we go to try and get sim cards.

It turns out we need more copies of visa and passport so we get them xeroxed from the same room as when we got them for money exchange. The women puts both on one page for me, for everyone else the man puts each on two separate pages. She is more skilled.

We take these back to the guys at the sim card place and they say we need passport photographs so we go to print them from the IT suite. To get into the IT suite you have to hand your bag into the first guard, he will give you a tag to attach to it and a token to take with you. Then to the second guard who makes you sign in, because we have no formal ID I flash the man Catherine's card from earlier and this does the job.

In the it suite we print passport photographs, first too small so why Gian is fixing this I go to the toilet, there is no toilet paper just a tap for washing, I find this confusing.

I go back to find them still in the IT suite, I do not go in as I cannot be bothered to check my bag in and sign in again.

When they come out they have to go to another office, buy a token and take it back to the it suite to pay for the printing, it is about 20 rupees, but takes so long.

We take this back to the guys at the sim shop who have now changed, they say we cannot use this badly printed photograph and that we must find proper ones.

Quickly I ring the guy Anita suggested for Colin, after a half conversation in a thick Indian accent I am confident he will pick him up from his flight and take him to a cheap hotel.

Frustrated we go for lunch at BMW [behind metal workshop]. There is a counter where you order and then you wait by a hatch for food that they seem to know will come and does after handing in a receipt and waiting for them to get it ready, I just had egg fried rice as I was not feeling to hot. We meet a German from Hanover called Flo, he is on an exchange too, he talks about how to dress well for the India, no shorts etc. where shirts etc.

We then go to the photo shop which is out side the campus. The roads are very busy and we run to cross at less busy points, it is scary but fun too.

We get to the camera shop and take our shoes of because we believe this is what you have to do, it turns out you don't. We go inside and the man tells us it is fifty rupees for eight photos we say okay and one by one we go out the back to have our photo in a poor excuse for a photography studio, but I find it very funny.

It takes a while as a child abut 12, is a photoshop wizard. We talk to the shop guys showing our cameras they seem impressed.

We get the passport photos which are in the store owners words: “3.5 by 3.5, 80% face.”

We try to go to the shop next door and find that they only sell phones and not sim cards.

On our way back we see lots of cows they are everywhere in the city. Anita gets a call from Sharan, he is meeting us at the main gate, she goes to the kite museum while we meet him.

It is good to see Sharan, not only because we have not caught up in a while but because he is local and can speak Gujarati, so can help us with the sim cards. We all go to the shop and he does the talking, apparently we need proof of address, so we work out that I can get three sim cards as long as I get my driving licence xeroxed, we go to bmw to get drinks while Sharon photocopies my licence, he arrives back and I ask immediately for my licence as I am worried I will loose it like Gian has [he later finds it in his passport]. We go back to the shop and I have to sign every single document and a form several times in front of the guy, we pay the man and I give myself, Yuri and Gian a sim card. I don't put mine in though as I still have to sort out Colin.

We go for chai at chai gate, which is a gate by the college where a man inside takes orders, relays this to a man on the outside, who rushes round the wall to collect chai and cigarettes from a stand. Cigarettes cost 110 rupees for twenty, chai is 5 rupees. Anita gets a phone call from the tourist guide, he wont ring the number I gave him because it is British I think, so costs too much. She tries to speak to him but then Sharan takes over in Gujarati to make sure he is a good guide. He says he is okay, and that he will charge 700 for his service and then 700 for the auto rickshaw and then Sharan thinks he may hustle Colin for 2000 for the room. I think this is okay as it will just be for one night. I worry a lot though and text Colin to explain everything, he says its okay which is good.

We all get in Sharans Maruti Sazuki swift, Anita in the front then me, Yuri, Greg and Gian in the back. There is more room than we would of thought. Greg asks about seat belts, Sharan says “no its fine”, we laugh a bit of an uncomfortable laugh as we have seen the roads. Sharan drives with ease in the city, looking very relaxed, he even speaks on the phone, as we gasp and scream as we drive though small gaps, and turn into on coming traffic, the roads are so scary but exhilarating. Sharan tells us that if there is a crash it slows down as everyone has to have a look.

We stop at a performing arts centre by the city...