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Published: January 10th 2008
So, after a few attempts to use my other blog, I realized that it was not going to work, so before I forget all what happened in the last 4 days, I decided to try this new blog... Hopefully it'll work!
So, here I am, in India, finally. In only 4 days I did so many things, saw so much and slept so little that it feels like I have been here a lot longer. But I am having a incredible time. So far, I have to say, everything is beyond my expectations. I landed in Mumbai after midnight, but everything went smoothly. Got my luggage, paid for the cab, found the cab, woke up the driver, etc. And there I was, sitting in the taxi with a huge smile on my face. At that point, I was just soooo happy to be there, I think some great memories of Nepal came back too, in a way India seemed not so foreign. The smell, the look, the noise. I loved to look around for the 40 minute drive to my hotel, the traffic was not too bad because it was so late, but still, it wasn't the Carcross Road (Yukon), and my eyes were wide open seeing all the action, people in the streets, many sleeping on the ground, and the pollution and the noise. But there was a lot of beauty into this chaos and I liked it already.
The cab driver didn't speak any English and he had a bit of trouble finding my hotel. But it all worked out and then I went up the dark stairs to the 3rd floor where my hotel was. A man sleeping in the stairs pointed towards the entrance when I got there and I had to wake the manager to get my room key. I happily crashed into bed and slept a few hours.
The next morning, I went out to explore the city. I got lost right away, but somehow managed to get back to the hotel a couple hours later. That same morning, I phoned Savio, an Indian guy from Mumbai that I met a couple years ago and he came to meet me at the hotel. It was so nice to see him again and how great it was to explore the city with a local person! He took me on many trips all over town on his motorbike and I can't imagine a better way to see Mumbai. Driving in Mumbai is an experience in itself, between the trucks and cars and other bikes and people and animals, it's noisy, crazy, polluted, hot, and... I loved it! Organized chaos. Hard to describe, but something to experience.
So Savio toured me around, showed me all kinds of places, took me to my dentist appointment (yeah, I had a reference for a good dentist and I was very impressed with the technology... They even took pictures of my teeth before and after cleaning!!!), taught me a lot of things, and ordered some excellent food for me. It was nothing but fun!
Yesterday, I took the train for the first time. Good thing it was Sunday, so less busy. I went to a National Park where I did a Lion and tiger safari. It was fun and amazing to be in such a green and peaceful place so close to the busy city. I met Alexander, a Canadian, and we walked together to the caves, some kind of Buddhist site. It was a good long walk, in the heat , but it was a good opportunity to learn the basic rules of cricket or is it criquet? Anyhow, I am sure I would fail the test if I had to answer any question about it, but it was fun to watch the locals play in the park. I also got a India 101 course from Alex who has been traveling here for a few months now. We took the train back to town and went for supper together.
This morning Savio took me to a shop where I bought some fabric to get a salwaar kameez made, and it was very hard to decide what to buy, there was so many different fabrics! Then we visited the Dhobi Ghat, where peolpe wash their clothes, it was impressive. I have great photos of it I think.
Now I am just hanging around for a few more hours before I take the train to Goa. A night train. I doubt I will sleep much!
So here it is, from my very tired brain, the things that I recall from my first few days in Mumbai. And I did not mention the food! Soooooooo good! And so far my stomach accepted everything. The heat is great, not too hot at all, just perfect! I am very tempted to buy many things on the street, it is amazing to see what you can find. Everything. You name it, it's there.
So, I better go now, get ready for the long night before I reach Goa, where I will be switching to a different pace, from crazy Mumbai to yoga classes. I look forward to it, but I will never forget Mumbai!
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