Not that I gave it a chance, but Ahmedabad is not a place I enjoyed.
Noisy, busy, dirty and chaotic it was (I realise I am in India. I have come to expect this. But this was on a whole new level).
Roads swamped with very little else but rickshaws, I wonder how, with all the competition, any of them get any customers. When these, and the motorbikes that take over the rest of the road, honk their horns for no reason except to say “I’m here by the way”, the combined noise can become very irritating and stressful. Not to mention almost being mowed down every few steps along the street as they all swerve and veer to avoid vehicle collisions. This is what welcomed us when we arrived in this dusty city, in 43-degree heat. The staring and the photos I could deal with – and I can assure you, there were a lot!
Other various factors, including the guys pulling the shutters down as I approach their shop to buy a water, the omelette-maker charging us more than double his normal price, our hot ‘double’ bedroom which turned out to have only 3 unmovable single beds and a pathetic, high ceiling fan, the “Green House” cafe, recommended by Lonely Planet as a cheap place to enjoy a snack which actually turned out to be an overpriced hotel-restaurant with pretentious-only drinks including rose lassis, amongst other things, all contributed to my almost-immediate dislike towards this city.
On reflection, I admit that maybe I was groggy because of the heat. Mumbai was hot, but within the thirties. This was really quite something. The hot room caused sleepless nights which wouldn’t have helped things either, making me a bit of a Moaning Margaret.
We did all the necessary tourist things – the fort, the markets, the night market, the bridge, the mosques, the various recommended cafes and restaurants… They were all interesting historically, culturally, aesthetically, and we really enjoyed the big air-conditioned bookshop! However, not wanting to spend another night in that room, (even though the lovely man brought us chai each morning), I made Brendan change the train booking to a day earlier, and thankfully we left the next day, making our way up to Udaipur in Rajasthan.