09 August 2009
(4) Comment(s) (24)
Posted By joseph
Our journey began at Gorbhander, Thane in New Mumbai. Gorbhander is home to the sprawling housing community of Hiranandani Estates and is quite far removed from the madness of Mumbai. The roads leading up to the drive are fast, smooth and very easy to get lost in if you’re a first timer - as we realized. We hadn’t started using the Gogo GPS system or the SatNav yet, so we were directed to our friend’s place by the good ole auto rickshawdrivers. Anyhoo, we reached the place, crashed to bed and woke up early to start our journey to Daman.
Driving to Gorbhander and the Tripmeter (B) reset to 0.0 before we kicked off.
In the morning, I switched on GogoIndia’s GPS Unit and we started off for Vapi (Gujarat) directed by the friendly female voice. We hadn’t yet had our breakfast but our new Cedia got its breakfast quite early in the morning at the HP pump near Pilhar - a village 70kms from Vapi in Gujarat.
Breakfast for Blackhawk at HP petrol pump
First signs of our entire route-plan!
Our breakfast stop was next at Vithal Kamat’s. As any restaurant with the word “kamat” in it, this place too had fantastic south indian fare - or atleast it seemed so to our starved tummies! The place was oddly pagoda shaped and tons of funny signboards around.
Vithal Kamat’s; yes parking at Owner’s risk - especially if you drive a heavily stickered beauty! :D
Vithal Kamat’s - the place, the people and the signs
A while down the road we found this HUGE truck with a strange big cylinder at the back. Obviously we stopped for a shoot!
Namrata captured the driver’s seat while I was busy ogling at Blackhawk. :D
Though she had issues with the clutch response initially, she quickly adapted to it to take charge for a while.
I noticed the greenery for a change as we headed closer to Vapi
After crossing Vapi, we realized that finding Daman was not so easy after all. Of course, the locals and the policement helped in spades!
Once you are in Udvada, it is quite easy to find Nani Daman - you just follow the road and ensure you stop at the red light at the world’s smallest traffic signal circle, seriously you should see it! While Namrata got busy interviewing the local boatsmen (their lives and their living), I found that rather than shoot the boats, it was much better to hunt for my own stories.
The rusted metal of a cold-storage tanker, fish and assorted sea-food are transported in these tankers!
The Nani of Nani Daman, or rather just a grandmother and her kid. This charming woman has been a resident of Daman for the past 61 years and she told us that Daman is pretty much forgotten land. Tourism never really took off and she was pretty sure that the kid (Mihir) would grow up and leave Daman to head for greener pastures.
In our quest to find parking for Blackhawk we ended up finding the entrance into the Nani Daman fort itself.
The fort’s courtyard is also home to the Stella Maris school of Daman. The school is housed in two buildings, one of which is also a church dating back to the early 20th century.
Along with the school and the fort, the courtyard also has the entrance to a cordoned off graveyard!
A grave situation
Lunch was at the Hotel Miramar - fish, prawns and more. All listed in our previous post.
With our tummies full, the car cleaned by the boys at the hotel, we set off for Surat! The journey to Surat was quite uneventful and our first sighting on entering the city was the Mitsu Showroom! The owner of the dealership, Mr. Tarun Gora, came down to meet us and asked a lot of questions about the “teen hazaar kilometre waali kaantest”!
Here we are @theshowroom!
And with that, we settled down to end the day at the Hotel Yuvraj, and tucked in Blackhawk for the night. 320kms through and a wink of sleep was the first thing to get.
At the end of the day
Dinner is served - puri with shrikhand!
Of course, the centre of attraction in ALL the shots was the Cedia Sports - da man of Daman! In the end, we realized how incidental the car was to the key aspect of the day - travelling to new places and the thrill of discovery. Our first day made us realize no matter how great the car, it is the journey, the places, the destination and the company, that make for the most unforgettable.
Or maybe this car is so darn good, that it can relegate itself to the background and let you enjoy the experience all through. Maybe.
08 August 2009
(3) Comment(s) (21)
Posted By joseph
At the Vintage Villa of classic cars, droolin over the sports tourers. Got here after blastin the 88km NE1 Expressway in 42mins! Cedia, take a bow!
08 August 2009
(3) Comment(s) (20)
Posted By namrata
Daman, a union territory between Maharashtra and Gujarat, was the first stop on our journey. A Portuguese colony for over 450 years, Daman & neighboring Diu only joined the republic of India in 1961. Largely a settlement of fishermen, two big towns – Nani Daman & Moti Daman – constitute this territory. Ironically Nani Daman (nani means small in Gujarati, while moti means large/big) is the larger of the two towns.
As we pulled into Udwada and crossed the railway phatak to reach Nani Daman, we couldn’t help but notice the many bars, and wine shops that lined the streets. Chatting with the staff at the Hotel Miramar, our afternoon pit-stop, we learnt that bootlegging was quite rampant and the wine really does flow quite freely in the neighboring dry state of Gujarat.
Let the good times begin, I say!
Visiting the Fort of St. Jerome, and the Church of the Lady of the Sea that is located within the fort’s premises was our primary objective. Driving through some narrow and leafy lanes of Daman, moving towards the sea-side, we first spotted the light-house on the jetty. A few feet away from the rocky shore, stood the little Fort of St. Jerome.
On the jetty
Light-house = khamoshi
After taking a few shots of the jetty and the lighthouse, we ventured towards the back entrance of the fort to drive inside. But to do that we had to sneak the Blackhawk between some intimidating giants. The stretch along the rocky shore, between the front and back entrances of the fort, was lined by huge boats, pulled back onto land to rest before the next fishing season. These giants were being readied by their masters to become sea-worthy by the fifteenth of this month, when the Coast Guard would give them permission to enter the high seas again. All around us, the brawny fishermen, repaired nets, and patched their vessels as we tried to tread unnoticed between them. The enormous size of these boats made our trusted steed quite pale in comparison for a few moments. With both windows rolled down, and a little afraid of nicking the car and waking these sleeping ogres, for a second I was reminded of that scene in The Lion King when Simba & Nala unwittingly stumble into the forbidden elephant graveyard.
Beware of ogre!
Nani fort too?
Mein aur mere classmates
We quickly sought sanctuary within the fort where we were surprised to find a fully-functional school running within the church building. Alive and safe, Simba, Nala & the Blackhawk then went crazy taking some wonderful snaps, but those you shall see in another post.
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Fresh out of college, we were thrown into the dust bowls of U.P and the jungles of M.P. Sneaky trainees that we were, we took full advantage of the available resources to explore. Whether the pine trees of Almora or the ruins of Khajuraho, a Bhojpuri film shoot or some gun-laden, mustachioed dudes in the Chambal areas of Bhind - our travels always had added flavor!