The alarm goes at 6 a.m. - again. Davendra is ready with the car and we are soon on the way to the Khijadiya Bird sanctuary. he found good lodgings last night and says that he slept very well. It is still dark when we get to the Forest Office aand there are no signs of life. After a few minutes a yound man arrives on a bike. Apparently he is to be our guide. He hammers on a door and a sleepy looking chap appears, takes our money and issues a "permit" from a duplicate book whose paper is so old it is beginning to crumble.
You have to hand it to the veterans on India Mike who hire a car and driver for their visit and who wouldn't dream of getting a train. They must be made of sterner stuff than we are because we are shattered after four dasys on the road and keep falling asleep. Even with the aircon going it is hot in the glare of the sun and not being able to walk about is very restricting. If we come back to Jamnagar it will be by train. The road is not too bad although the queueing behaviour at the toll booths is appalling. We see one really bad smash where it looks as if a car has clipped the central reservation and flipped over.
There are a couple more delays for a level crossing and some kind of festival that we never actually saw but we make decent time and check back into our hotel at about 3 p.m. We are made very welcome and given a room a floor higher up and with windows that close properly. The traffic noise is significantly reduced much to R's relief. Last night she had to use earplugs. We have a cup of tea and a sluice before heading off to check out the Law Garden night market which specialises in colourful and glittering ladies outfits.
Before long we are summoned to the terrace and shown to our table. A waiter appeared with a bowl and a thing like a small watering can full of hot water so we can wash our hands. Then prodigious quantities of vegetarian food start to arrive along with a sour lassi (yuck). The food is fabulous even if we don't know what a lot of it is. We try everything except the green chillies - even R chickens out of those. And the food keeps coming unless you say stop. If we had known we would have skipped brunch.
We walk home to our hotel over the Nehru Bridge which crosses the Sabarmati River. Half of the city is on the bridge enjoying the breeze and most of them want to say hello to us. What friendly people they are.