Of Church Roofs and Getting Old

Having lived with the threat of several consecutive days of sobriety, we decided to flee to the little quiet island of Diu. Though off mainland Gujarat, it is governed by Delhi so alcohol is legal here and sold everywhere, giving the place a really laid back feel.

You have to cross a beautiful waterllily swamp full of buffalo and birds to get to Diu.... and it STINKS!

You have to cross a beautiful waterllily swamp full of buffalo and birds to get to Diu…. and it STINKS!

It had been taken over by the Portuguese for some time way back when so the architecture is all colonial southern European style. The invaders also brought Christianity with them and built big white churches all over Diu city. The locals aren’t too convinced though and have converted most of them into things like the city hospital and Diu museum. The latter has a hostel round the back, with rooms and a one-table restaurant on the church roof. Of course that’s where we stayed 🙂

We wanted to explore the town, but first things first…. BEER! A dutch guy relaxing on the roof as we moved in, had recommended his friend’s restaurant O’Coqueiro’s, a garden restaurant with a shelf of second hand books and cold Kingfisher. Sweet! We ended up spending the whole afternoon and evening here, sipping beer, reading books, swapping travel stories with a seasoned India-traveler and indulging in giant super fresh roasted prawns.

When the restaurant closed, we joined the other travelers outside the church hostel for a few more beers, determined to drink into the early morning…. The next day was my birthday, so we may as well party into it 🙂 I made it till five past midnight and passed out as soon as Aidan said happy birthday.

You know you’re really traveling when you’re spending your birthday in an unexpected place far away from friends and family. At least to me it feels that way. It’s exiting! I’m really doing it. I’m living my dream! Well, sort of… I woke up feeling decidedly older. The day begun with a giant hang over, so bad, hair of the dog wasn’t an option. Whoops! Even spotted a few tiny wrinkles! That’s it folks, I am 30…. I’ll never be younger or prettier looking….. pressure is off 🙂

A late breakfast cured the headache, if not our tummy. So we made a lazy day of it, strolling around town with its multi-coloured temples amongst shops and houses in various states of decay. Down by the water the fishermen were getting their boats ready for that night’s catch, crushing ice and loading it onto deck to keep the fish cool.

A yummie fish curry dinner and an early night with some crap TV from our laptop to finish the evening had us feeling much better the next day. So we jumped on the bikes and rode further down the coast to find a deserted beach. The first one we found had a crematorium on it, which felt a bit eerie. We weren’t sure if it would offend to swim here, so we followed an ice delivery truck to Gomtimata, a colourful little fishing village, almost untouched by tourism.

The beach here was almost empty, just a bunch of kids jumping into the water and the odd person or two walking by. The perfect place to write our diaries and swim till we’re almost dissolved 🙂

Eventually it was time to leave this peaceful little island and head back into the busy madness of mainland India. We were aiming for Goa. On the map it looks deceptively close, but India is huge and on these little bikes in the crazy traffic it would take several days. So we washed our laundry in the outside stone basins – washing machines are still a rarity n India, ready to set off the next day.

Oh, and my birthday cake? That got postponed till Aidan finally found one days later to surprise me with while we were waiting for another bike repair, but that’s another story 🙂




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