Before we go any further, let's look at a picture (and specifically, a t-shirt) that summarises my feelings about Diu:
I got down to Diu from Bhuj in a relay stretch of sleeper buses. I meant to spend some time in Rajkot, but it turned out to be just another crowded Indian city with nothing to offer, so I jumped straight onto the overnighter to Diu (although not before getting kissed by a ridiculously stoned local teenager). I arrived at the government bus station at 5:30am, well before sunrise, and cooled my heels there for a good hour or two before getting a rickshaw to my intended accommodation - a converted church on a hill above the main town. The room was expensive for what it was, but the fact that it was a twenty-second walk up the stairs onto a roof with an amazing view sold me. I dropped my pack and settled in.
One of my first actions on the island was to rent a motorbike (albeit a piss-weak 100cc runabout, which was still the most ballsy thing I could find for hire), which gave me a much greater range than normal in India. Thus it was that I was able to roam the island at will, often topping 90kmph on the main roads, equipped with the standard Indian safety gear: a t-shirt, shorts, thongs, and a blatant disregard for the road rules. The following shot was a surprisingly difficult self-portrait to get - the church in the background is my guesthouse(!).
I'd intended to stay in Diu for my birthday, and maybe two or three more days. As it turned out, I stayed for almost two weeks. The place is laid-back, chilled, friendly, reasonably cheap, tropical, and an absolute gravity well for travellers. The people in the rooms on either side of me both stayed for roughly the same period, so basically we turned the guesthouse into a non-stop two-week social event. Think fresh seafood barbeques every second night, parties on the roof, and cheap beer (about $1.30 Australian for 650ml bottles). All in all, Diu is probably the closest thing I've ever seen to a tropical paradise.
On one side of my room, there was Gabe and Liv, from Canada and England respectively, and on the other side, Anders from Denmark. Joining us later were Tori and Elise, both Melbourne girls, one of whom went to college with my little sister. (Who says it's not a small world?) In between long bouts of doing nothing at all, some of us spent our time being creative - Anders and I took photos, Liv played banjo (including a concert one night), and Gabe painted crazy things on pretty much any available surface.
As well as being a playground for Western tourists, Diu is also a popular holiday destination for Indians, particularly Gujurati men who flock there for legal booze, clean beaches, and the opportunity to spend all day looking at Western titties. The latter represented the only seriously negative side of the island: India is horrendously repressed sexually, and most Indian guys (who've seemingly been raised on equal parts of the Bhagavad Gita and Baywatch) have absolutely the wrong idea about Western women. Literally every woman I spoke to under the age of forty had been followed by drunken Indian men, who frequently propositioned them for sex, made suggestive gestures, and generally went to extraordinary lengths to see them in bikinis. It wasn't so much a problem when Western guys were around, since a few threatening gestures and words usually sent them scurrying, but it was definitely a downer hearing the constant stories of inappropriate behaviour.
There were other, less wankerish Indians around: Diu is a favourite place for weddings, and so almost every night I drifted off to sleep listening to the sounds of banging drums and fireworks. Weddings actually form a road hazard - it was a common occurrence to round a corner on my bike and suddenly come face-to-face with maybe a hundred people dancing in the road, throwing money around, and generally acting the fool.
Once you got away from Diu Town and Nagoa Beach, however, it proved easy to find small, tucked-away places to get lost in for a few hours. My favourite was Vanakbara, a fishing village at the far western end of the island, which was always a bustle of activity and a fascinating place to walk around. I spent an afternoon there taking photos, and turned out some nice ones of life on the waterfront:
And now, I must away - off to Ahmedabad again, and there to board a train to Mumbai. I'm not sure what I'm going to find there, but I'm pretty damn sure it's going to be interesting. Until then!