Traveling with children

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March 4th 2012
Published: March 11th 2012
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By Polona

A day after Jan's birthday it was time to leave Goa. Honestly, if it were up to the two of us we could easily persuade each other to stay there till the end of the trip. Not that it was that awesome, it was just that simple. But I am not sure how fun that would have been for Brane. 😊

So after seeing Old Goa we were waiting for the night bus to take us all to Mumbai. This was our first overnight bus in India...and I swear the last one as well (he, he...I can swear now, that we already have tickets for an overnight train to Delhi, which is our last long journey on this trip, so HA!).

Looking forward to catching some sleep on the cosy double bed that was waiting for us on the bus, I soon realised falling asleep would prove to be anything but easy.

To say the road was bumpy, would be a severe understatement. I was being thrown up and down and half the time I was trying not to fall on top of Jan and crush his tiny body underneath mine 😊. Brane said that mastering the art of not falling of your bed was even harder doing from his upper bunk bed. So it would be very difficult to say that we got any sleep at all. Well, we did when the road turned less bumpy, but that was also the time we arrived to Mumbai, where we got thrown off the bus in the middle of nowhere, classic.

Brane found a backpackers' hostel online the day before, in one of Mumbai's area, Kolaba. It was ran by the Salvation Army (which was, I am sure you didn't see this one coming, the name of the place as well) and was far from being anything special, but t was cheap and full of backpackers. We were even separated in boys and girls only dormitories.😊

The hotel staff were a bit weird as well, every time anyone passed by the reception, they would yell at you, whether you paid for the night yet. Which happened to you at least 5 times a day. You would also be rushed out of the cafeteria/ lounge area immediately after breakfast, so you could only hang out there later in the afternoon. But, as I said, it was cheap for Mumbai, so we stayed. Not to be totally crappy about it all...there was this friendly older gentleman working at the downstairs reception, who was always ready to help, whether with instructions on how to find your way around or...well, Brane somehow managed to lose the key to his lock, which he used to lock his locker. And had all his valuables in. We went to ask this guy for help and he didn't even blink, he appeared seconds later with a saw – didn't work, he came back with a hammer and smashed open the lock. Needles to say, stuff like that apparently happens a lot at the hostel. But, we bought Brane a brand new combination lock soon after. 😊

As Brane fell asleep just at the moment Jan woke up (the boys needed their beauty sleep), and Jan and I were both hungry we went to find a place to eat. We walked randomly and passed a restaurant on the main street that looked quite full, but we decided to look further. But after we turned around the corner , we saw the name of the restaurant was LEOPOLD'S!!! Anyone who has read Shantaram will know what I am talking about and as we both read the book on this trip, we turned around and went in, OF COURSE!

I was slightly disappointed though, it looked like a nice place. I mean come on, where are the old geezers drowning there sorrows in alcohol, the swanky mobsters and the weird looking prostitutes? I mean THAT sounds like a cool place. Ah well, maybe the prices were all that was criminal 😊, at least Jan said the beer was absurdly too expensive.

The next day in the spirit of being active, we went to the Gates of India (just another huge monument – well, frankly, I am too lazy to look it up again, but I will tell you this: it looked nice and old) and boarded a boat to take us to the Elephanta island, where there are several underground temples still preserved, dedicated to god Shiva.

We arrived there on a Sunday, so the place was really busy. I thought you kind of almost crash into the temples with the boat, but man you have to do your portion of walking and climbing steep stairs before getting there.

The temples were quite an interesting sight, but I guess if you ask the boys the monkeys were far more interesting. I was scared of the little rascals though, as I saw them “barking” and “growling” at people carrying shiny stuff (mostly water bottles), and guess who was carrying ours? Yup, yours truly. So, I was trying to discourage Jan and Brane from taking another thousand photos of the animals, but no luck. It even encouraged Brane to tell me, that a lot of times, these monkeys would have rabies. Really? Thanks! I was hoping that if they did feel like biting, they would be more into tiny, male butts, instead of the likes of mine, you know, more voluptuous. 😊

As Brane forgot his hat at the hostel, we persuaded him into buying a really cool hat, with a bit of the old mob style to it, that got us into trouble later, as he checked himself in the mirror after returning to the hostel. Hihi, still funny and we are still making him to carry it with him, checking rooms, just in case he “forgot” it.

What else...oh, of course, Arsenal won against Liverpool that day as well, so all was well in the world.

The next day we wanted to see some more of Mumbai but weren't really up for walking in the scorching sun (the boys apparently have an irrational fear of the sun – they both have pale and delicate skin 😊) for the whole day. We hired one of the “city tour” taxis instead.

Our driver, Vijay, was a chatty man, luckily, as it made the whole trip a bit more fun and we talked about life in Mumbai. Our first stop was the “washing area” where people work night and day, washing hotels' linen, clothes...The area was huge, with concrete pools, each filled with clothes to be washed by numerous men working there. Then Vijay took us to see one of the slums close by and it was interesting to see, how they can be completely independent from the rest of the city. They have their own shops, barber shops, pharmacies...they are a city within a city. Apparently there are around 60.000 slums all over Mumbai.

Following that we went around a bit, to the Hanging gardens (small park), the old Victoria train station...It was a nice field trip and it's amazing how Mumbai reminded me of the UK. I mean not the city city, but the architecture, left from the British colonial period.

Well, we said goodbye to Mumbai after 2 days and set for a 19 hour train journey to Pushkar, to celebrate holi and spend some money – shopping time!!! Wup, wup 😊. Oh, and Brane realised he forgot his e – reader at the hostel and is still mourning his loss. Luckily for him, we saved Shantaram (lucky for us really, that book weighs a friggin ton!!!).

Additional photos below
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Elephanta islandElephanta island
Elephanta island

if you want you can get carried to the top. didn't see anybody actually doing it

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