53 hours, 4 flights, 4 different airlines and one broken plane later Holly and I made it to Bombay! Unfortunately...our bags weren't so lucky... Having been in 4 different countries over the past 2 days our bags could be literally anywhere! We filled out a lost baggage form with Sri lankan Airways and set off bewildered into the Jungle of taxi wallah's where we started the never-ending game of no thankyou.
Despite promises to call us and keep us informed of any updates we heard nothing for the next few days untill saturday morning we recieved a phone call informing us that the bags had in fact arrived in Chenni and when would we be collecting them! I explained AGAIN that we were in Mumbai not Chenni. (32hrs train ride away) We were promised that the bags would be 'with you for sure come monday' but when monday came I called up and was told that our bags were in Colombo...It took a little while for my Brain to register that Colombo is in Sri Lanka...hmmm one step forwards and 7 back! Anyway we're now in Goa without the bags becuase after waiting a week we decided enough
is enough! We return to Mumbai on the 19th and hopefully our bags will be patiently waiting for us 11 days late!
Anyway, as riviting as my bag story is I'm sure you would prefer to hear about our Indian antics to date. Becuase our flight was so delayed we arrived a day later than planned so the accomodation that we had cleverly booked was for the night before rather than that day. Maria Lodge, where we had booked, is a 3 storey place in Colaba (the Kaoh San road of mumbai) that gets progressively cheaper and worse the higher up you go. We tried our luck on the first level and they just shook their heads and pointed up...Level 3 had room. Dark, no window and perfect to catch up on the much needed sleep.
The next day we did a little walking tour of our area (as suggested by our Lonely Planet a.k.a. our Bible) which is a complete mix of culture's and architecture. Very strange to be surrounded by indian buildings then turn a corner and find yourself infront of a Big Ben look alike. we made a very good investment in two umbrella's, unfortunately
they leak a little but defnitely worth it none the less. Colaba Causway, the main Rd in our area is full of market stalls, each desperate for your tourist dollar which actually was quite useful due to the need to re-deck ourselves with clothes and underpants! Some of the sellers are particulary persistant and don't understand the meaning of NO THANKYOU, my personal favourite was an AB-TONER seller who kept telling me: Madam, you are very fat, this is good for you. Hmmm
Mumbai is pretty overwhelming. The ridiculous heat, humidity, rain, millions of people, beeping horns and lack of bags was nearly enough to make me want to go home but somehow I love india. I think growing up in Abu Dhabi makes me feel at home here. Indians have two important things in their life Food and Family both of which are very dear to me. The food here is amazing, just out standing, such flavours, spices exciting things, snacks sweets and best of all CHAI. Chai is just tea with lots of sugar, sweetened condensed milk and sometimes spices, it's amazing, refershing and a way of life.
Deciding that we had time to kill in
Forgot to mention we went to Elephanta island to check out the ruins there.
Mumbai we called up our new friend Kiran who gets Gora
(white folk) to be extra's in Bollywood movies. We were to meet at Leopolds Cafe the next morning. Leopolds was a tad disappointing and full of Gora, not how I had imagined it to be. (Those of you who have read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
will know what i'm talking about. Those of you who haven't read it - DO SO!) Anyway we set off with a bus load of foreigners on a 1 1/2 hr journey out to the middle of nowhere and got to a massive warehouse where we were all rushed out of the bus and rushed into changing rooms where we were give rather Hideous 80's ballgowns. We were to be part of the crowd at a rock gig so why we had to wear high heels and awful dresses is beyond me! Most of our day consisted of sitting doing nothing but we were fed 3 tasty meals and plenty of chai
so all in all was quite an experience. We even got paid 500rs, equivalent to 2 nights accomodation here (about 40p an hour in real terms!!)
Anyway, we took the
overnight sleeper train to Goa which was quite fun really. As i mentioned before in India you are never short of food and the welcome cry of the chai wallahs
can be heard late into the night should you require tea, snakcs or a full meal all you have to do is stick your head out and wait! great. Expensive tho, it costs 15pence for tea on the train as opposed to the regular 8p! I'm quite enjoying not feeling as broke as I was in Oz! Goa is lovely, still has a lot of Portugese infkluence which can be seen in the Architecture, food and people. Our Guest house is rather luxurious with a flushing toilet and ensuit bathroom!!! wow! The Land lady told us that we must be lucky because we brought the much prayed for rains to Goa. If you have never experienced Monsoon weather then you cannot begin to imagine what I mean when I say it poured. sheets of water were literally falling from the sky liek someone had upturned a full bucket on your head. I have never been so soaked in my life. One power cut, one storm, one shower and some
sort of clean clothes later we were ready for dins in a little Portuguese stylee restaurant...Needless to say the food was exquisite and the kingfisher hit the spot.
Today we tackled the local bus system which was not as hard as it looks. In Mumbai the busses stop for one thing only and it's not passengers, its Cows! One has to launch oneself on the back but in Goa life is a little less hectic and the busses actually stop to let you on. The beaches are the main attraction of Goa but sadly Monsoon season is NOT the time to come if you are after some sun! The marked girls are all desperate to make a sale and latch onto you like their life depends on it. I was feeling rather smug about my tanned skin, 6 months travelling should put some colour in your cheeks right? but one girl (she was married yet only 15) said: 'Madam, why you are so white? you look like chicken' what can I say to that?
Anyway, we're back to Mumbai tomorrow on the overnight train and hopefully the bag saga will be over!
Miss you all lots, I
left England 6 months ago...
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