Please check out the previous parts of the Rickshaw Run here!
Now, we are well past the halfway point for this adventure and I wanted to make a post solely dedicated to the city of Ahmendabad. This place had the worst traffic of my life, combined with the most effort I have ever gone to get a beer, and ending with a pretty solid monkey temple.
Our first mistake was trusting an offline maps app. It had treated us well so far and we clearly didn’t realize it was close to whatever the India equivalent of rush hour is. We ended up dead center in the city in the most ridiculous bumper to bumper traffic I have ever seen. The air was so thick and polluted I started to feel a little nauseous. People kept looking into our rickshaw because we were still a big oddity. Dhruv had to drive as apparently he had at least some experience with Indian traffic before and this made him the most qualified.
Another fun observation was some of the other rickshaw drivers around us had been chewing a ton of those nuts mentioned in Part 3 that make you a little high. I guess that helps with the unbelievable stress of driving in these conditions. The worst part of this is I though I had a video of the experience but can’t find it for the life of me. This trip was before I began to lead a more organized life.
When we finally got to our hotel just on the outskirts of town we were pretty exhausted and in a dry state so I assumed the night would be watching some Indian TV and showering. Yet, as I was unpacking the rickshaw, Eric and Dhruv come running down yelling about how beer was possible. According to whatever conversation happened with the desk(and I assume it was similar to the talk that got us to an illegal bar in Part 4) we could get a typed note from them, take a rickshaw to a somewhat hidden liquor store and procure a limited supply of booze. I mean why not at this point. After hopping in a rickshaw(because we were frankly done with driving for the day) we found the liquor store which was located in a basement side entrance that is essentially unlabeled. If our driver did not know how to get there it would have been impossible to find.
After a good amount of convincing and an even larger amount of judgement on their part we were taken to the back room where we could pick our booze. Surprisingly, we came in well under our legal limit and this absolutely surprised the officials. They assume all foreigners were severe alcoholics I guess. I’ll also venture that the kind of foreign travelers that make it to this point likely are just that.
We packed up our booze and headed to the hotel where they had installed a small refrigerator in our room for us to store our beer(and also to avoid them getting in any trouble). Here is that hotels info, I can’t recommend them enough honestly they were a big help in this story.
The next morning we woke up early and went to Akshardham Temple. Apparently there is a high alert on terrorism so I couldn’t take any pictures but we did walk away with this official one.
I’ll also note that this temple had the nicest monkeys. Unlike the street monkeys that are hardened, scary animals these seemed pretty calm and ambivalent to people.
Coming soon, the final Rickshaw Run installment and just in time for the series on the Holi Festival…