Principal of St Joseph's High School addressing the kids before our talk.
A Camel cart....
At St Joseph's High School
Being honoured at GPS
Kids of St Josephs High School come to cycle with us
We like Baroda / Vadodara. It looks as cosmopolitan as any metro. I see shops of every brand that I see in Bangalore as well. It’s clean, has wide roads and feels almost like home.
However, on the way here, the bad road continued... Single road, 2 lane, dusty and dangerous... Cant wait for the good roads to begin. The road is bad actually because road widening is going on. I am sure this road will soon be beautiful, unfortunately just not for us...
We wanted to leave Anand Circuit house at our usual time of 6 am, but the Doordarshan TV reporters landed up and did a few interviews and videos which delayed us by almost 45 minutes. It was almost 7 by the time we left from there. Surprisingly, we were reached the outskirts of Vadodara by 11 am. A lot of girls from the St Joseph’s High School met us on the main road and cycled with us. The traffic in town is so bad that Shanti fell in an attempt to navigate through it. But she got away with just a few scratches and the cycle was fine.
St Joseph’s High School took good care of us and we had a good talk with the kids of the school. After that we all loaded onto the truck and went to our accommodation at Gujarat Public School. In the meantime, 2 of us took Nicoi’s cycle (which got damaged in the accident yesterday) to a shop called Welcare. They are exclusive SCOTT dealers in Baroda. Mr Shyam Prabhakar was extremely cooperative and supportive and helped us with fixing the bent wheel of the cycle. He even came along with us to meet the entire team and had lunch with us.
Gujarat Public School or GPS is the place where our accommodations have been organised for the night. Luckily or unluckily, the school is on holiday because of the festival called Uttarayan. This is a kite festival and all of Gujarat is on leave for these 2-3 days. One can see thousands and thousands of colourful kites and maanja (the thread used to fly the kites) being sold on each and every street. The festival begins tomorrow and all of Gujarat is awake through the night playing loud music and bursting crackers. It is very irritating for us as we need our sleep if we have to be able to cycle. But everyone is busy celebrating and are unaware of the difficulties we are facing. We already have 2 unwell people – Premila and Anita Vaidya. Premila’s been sitting in the truck for the past 2 days because of cold and fever. Anita didi also fell sick last night with fever (she suspects it might be malaria) and had to sit in the truck today. We hope no one else falls sick.
We had a press conference at GPS before lunch. And also met with a cyclist who has cycled solo around India. Thereafter at 6 pm we had another presentation at St Joseph’s High School. Ashwini showed her presentation about her climb up Mt Everest and Bimla did showed her presentation about how she led her team to safety when they were attempting Bhagirathi 2 during the big floods that destroyed Kedarnath. It was a very touching presentation.
A new member joined us today – Maj Ashwini – along with her 11 month old son. So for a day, we were 19 members. But 2 people will be dropping out today – Gangotri and Bimla. So we will become 17 members tomorrow (we were 18 these last few days).
At the moment, the super loud music is reverberating all over and we hope that we are able to get some sleep... Goodnight...