Saturday, June 1, 2024


Today we have flights on 3 different airlines and they are not linked, meaning that we have to collect our bags and recheck them in on each section. We hope we have allowed enough time between flights, so fingers crossed! We arrive at the Heraklion airport in plenty of time, but only Greeks can do such chaos. There are long lines everywhere. Through just in time, only to discover the flight is delayed one hour. At Athens airport our bags take 40 tense minutes to come through. We race to the Etihad line. No queue as we are so late, but our visas for India need to verified and printed. Eventually they check us in without the printouts. A sigh of relief as we board the plane to Abu Dhabi. But this plane left late too so fingers crossed we will make our connection to Mumbai, and YAY we do. But we have another hiccup. Johns evisa is OK and he is stamped in. Mine is not! I have entered on my NZ passport as my Aussie one expires in a few months. What dramas are caused by one little word. They object to me saying I am Australian when I am travelling on a NZ passport. Phew 2 hours in the interrogation room. “Wait till the big boss comes at 8am”. “But our next flight is at 7am to Bhuj and there are no others today”. “Well, he can go!” Standoff. After much talking (not to us and all in Hindi) they fill out mountains of paperwork, get me to write a long story and finally fingerprint me and stamp me in. Now just a few hours to wait for our last flight, this time on Air India. It has been a long day and night with no sleep. We fill in our time trying to get cash out of an ATM and a Sim. No go on both counts, we will try at the next airport. Then more huge lines just for a domestic flight. Finally on board, all jammed in like sardines for a very short flight. Our last leg is over. John has been trying, very unsuccessfully to get a rental car. When we arrive, we see why. There is nothing at this airport. Not even an ATM and definitely no rental cars. We end up in a doggy old taxi driving 40 mins to Mundra. It is hot, dirty and dusty, but we are here at last. And at least our hotel looks nice and it has a lovely pool. Bonus. Now we can sleep and WAIT. Its Groundhog Day all week. We wait, swim, read, wait. Our Agent is not very forthcoming with information. We think Customs are the hold up. We go for a few walks, but its so hot (daily range from 38-42C) that we give up and use tuk-tuks. Visit Mundra old town driving through the crazy maze of narrow streets to see the lovely temple. Before we know it, the weekend has arrived. Nothing will happen now! Saturday, we hire a car and driver (no self-drive rental cars here) and head out. We have a list of attractions to see. First the rather lovely Shri Bhadreshwar Jain Tirth Temple (we actually came out yesterday in a tuk-tuk, but it was closed). It is amazing how clean and green it is inside the Temple grounds. A complete contrast to outside where it’s dirty, dusty and littered with piles of rubbish. The next stop is the jaw dropping 72 Jinalaya Shwetambar Jain Temple made of intricately carved white marble with 72 stupas. The interior dazzles with mirror tiles of every hue (but no photos inside please) We head on towards Mandva Beach to see the next on our list – the huge wooden boats being built on the inlet. They are massive, and totally built by hand. When they are completed, after at least a year. they are floated out to sea on a high tide. Then we wind through the maze of streets in the old town to spot the lighthouse before heading out to the beach with all its attractions. Camel, horse and quad rides, plus heaps of food choices. Oh, and rubbish! We have brough our togs for a swim, and the water looks inviting with waves rolling in, but the locals are all swimming fully dressed which we don’t want to do. We will get some very odd looks if we don our togs and head in. Next stop is the lovely Vijay Vilas Palace owned by the local Maharajah. A rather stunning home/palace. We stop for lunch. All the food in this area is vegetarian and SPICY. Phew! Can’t even get the dahl near my mouth, but the potato paratha is good. Our list done we head back home. In the pool that afternoon we meet 2 lovely Indians. She works for Bollywood and he is a real-life Prince (his father is a Maharajah). Anyway, lots of chatting and discussing our route. We had planned to head north, but he says the rains are coming, and when he offers to store GR2 at his fort in Goa we change our plans completely. We will head south when we finally get our truck. Sunday is a quiet day. John has shared his flu with me, so I rest. Monday crawl out of bed feeling a bit better and we hear from our agent. They are meeting customs today. Again nothing. Frustration sets in big time. We talk to everyone, but the English here is very limited. Tuesday, he says he’s working on it. Another day passes. Wednesday we finally have good news. “The Customs officer will give permission today.” We get excited, but it seems like another delaying tactic because we hear no more and spend another night watching cricket. Thursday, we decide that tomorrow we will go to Customs and try ourselves (they are closed today for a holiday!) But there is action Friday morning. We need to pay the Indian Automobile Assoc for approval to drive in India. That done we wait! Again! Before we know it its another weekend, so nothing happens. Monday more promises and paperwork. Tuesday, we decide to head into Customs ourselves. What a drama. The Port is ginormous and we need special permission to enter. An hour later we are in with our tuk-tuk. At Customs we meet yet another agent and visit customs. This agent assures us he will contact us, so we head back to the Hotel. Well, a big fat nothing. Wednesday, we head to customs again determined to sort it out ourselves. We sit in Customs for hours. After a lot of grovelling and chatting the Customs Officer relents and decides to help us, thus bypassing our useless agents. Once he has a huge pile of paper assembled in his file we drive to the truck (FINALLY) so he can look inside. He does confiscate a bottle of alcohol (this state is officially dry), then back to stamp our carnet. It is all new to these guys so every step has to be double checked. Its nearly 6pm by the time we head back to GR to get her released. To pay our charges they have to get a guy 14km away to come in with a credit card machine! But we are not done. One more piece of paper required…. Oh, so close. Its dark when we get back to the Hotel without our truck. But sadly, there are more hurdles.


  1. Keep going you are almost there!!! I have also been to India many years ago. Lots of red tape and very slow government people and airports full of rowdy people trying to push ahead of you. It’s going to be an interesting trip. Look foward to the next episode. Cheers. Warwick and Agatha. Now back in Aussie

  2. Hey guys, Joel and Cindy here. Now you've done it! Cin was reading this story to me as I was preparing salad for supper. We are in clean and tidy Beziers, France (for the millionth time!), looking at the lit up Cathedral from the 9 eclouses. We are headed up to clean and organized Germany. Okay, enough for the innuendo, you are now to blame for ending any chance of us taking the Flair to India. But we will hang on every word as there is so much history, art and culture ahead! Stay strong, we vicariously count on your adventures.

  3. Hi Linda an John,Thanks for latest blog,wow how frustrating and stressful for you both.
    We hope you have it sorted out soon and start to enjoy India. people on India are usually very friendly and helpful, but obviously officials not.
    look forwarding to your next blog,keep healthy
    and safe.L&C

  4. Sorry to hear you are sick Lynda and that John has been sick. That makes it hard and the heat. Shocking!
    Sounds like you are close to having all your ducks in a row.
    The Indian way of Being is a bit tricky as they don't like to say anything negative. I hope very soon you are on your way and peace restored. Wishing you well and happy soon kidz. Love and hugs Lesley ✨️ xx