Published: August 14th 2008August 10th 2008
What will follow, in summary:
Thursday 7th - Depart Udaipur
Friday 8th - Arrive Mumbai
Saturady 9th - Depart Mumbai
Sunday 10th - Arrive Goa (Eventually!)
So a trip between cities doesn’t really merit a posting, but if you have nothing better to do, you might want to have a wee laugh at how bad a day this turned out to be!
We left Udaipur at 10pm on Thursday 7th aboard the 3tier sleeper train, all set for our 17 hour train ride down to Mumbai. The overnight part of our journey was made easy due to our long walk earlier that day in Udaipur; we slept like lambs! We actually managed to sleep right through until about 7am. I would like to think we awoke naturally, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was due to the three Indian lads sitting opposite who were watching us sleep. I am at least 50% sure they didn’t sit there all night!
We arrived in Mumbai on Friday afternoon in the pouring rain, and navigated our way across to our hotel beside Bombay Central Station. As we sat eating our dinner we made the decision to head down to Goa as soon as possible; i.e. the following evening.
On the Saturday we made our way over to the Gateway of India (ferry docks) and took a boat to one of the nearby islands, before rushing back to the city centre in the evening to catch the coach down to Goa. We were informed the bus would be leaving at 7pm and would take around 12 - 14 hours. Great!
We made our way over to the bus, however, it turned out our 7pm departure wasn’t actually scheduled until 8pm. Based on what actually happened, I can only presume the 7pm time stated on the ticket was not the departure time at all but was, in actual fact, the time the bus would be screening the first of its many Bollywood films!
Anyway, the bus departed at 8pm and, about half way through the 3rd Bollywood film (that’s about 5hrs of ‘ring-a-ting-ting’ singing and dancing, or approximately 1am depending which way you look at it) the TV was turned off and our i-pods were put back in the bags. Yet again, we managed to sleep pretty well, despite the extremely heavy rain that followed us down the West coast of India.
We awoke around 6am confronted by a rather long tail back of traffic. When Julie asked what was happening we were told that, due to the rain, the river have over flowed and the road was flooded and could not be crossed. We asked what was going to happen, and we were told that we would wait until the water level dropped and then cross.
After receiving this information I went for a peek. What I was confronted with was about half a mile of water through which people were wading, chest high. Not only that, but there was no flow like one would expect from a river, indicating that this water was going nowhere! On the plus side, the rain had stopped and we had the 7am showing of another Bollywood blockbuster to look forward to!
Anyway, mid-day came and we had made no progress (I amn’t counting the concluding part of “Singh is Kinng” as progress). At 1pm we were told the water level was subsiding and we would be moving again by 3pm. Our inspection of the flood was telling us otherwise! At around 1:30 the rain started again and it became clear to us (Julie and I anyway) that the water level was no going to drop today.
Alas, 3pm (and 4pm) came and went and, as we moved towards the 24hour mark, Julie broke. The i-pod / PSP / Nintendo DS batteries, they were all dead. I think this is what pushed her over the edge. I must admit I was glad it was tears though, as I had feared the worst and had expected suicide or murder.
At around 5pm a couple of brave / stupid HGV drivers further back in the queue made a dash for it and crossed the flood unscathed. Our driver decided to follow suit. I pleaded with him to let me take our rucksacs in from the storage compartment under the bus but I was told there was no time and that they would be fine. (This still makes me laugh; we sit on our thumbs for nearly 11hours and when the driver finally announces what he plans to do, he couldn’t spare five minutes so I could rescue the luggage. You probably won’t be surpised to hear we were the only people on board with luggage so unfortunately we were a lonely voice).
Anyway, we made it over the flood, passed a couple of crashed cars, etc. and arrived into Goa at 8pm; exactly 24hours after we left Mumbai. We left the bus collected our bags and, guess what? They were bloody soaked!
We checked into our hotel and emptied the contents of our bags for drying. Unfortunately my new duvet set (see Jaipur entry) seems to have taken the brunt of the flood. I removed the maroon bedding set from my bag and placed them on the bed in the hotel. The hotel bed sheets are now a lovely white with bold splashed of maroon across the top of it. Other various items of clothing have been damaged and have had to be disposed off. The cost of these items I will have to add to the cost of the duvet set, which rule out it’s chances of being the bargain of the century!
Anyway, despite the long journey we have made it to Goa and are in good spirits. From our journey we have learnt the following:
1) Never spend 24hours on the one bus, especially if it has no toilet.
2) Never let someone convince you the luggage compartment of a bus is watertight.
3) Never go to Goa during the Monsoon season, no matter how good an idea it might seem!
4) If you really want to torture someone, go and download the Indian #1 “Singh is Kinng” and put it on repeat for 18 hours.