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Published: January 28th 2006
January 6 to January 18
I just munched a delicious egg omelet in the middle of a dirty, loud, crowded and smelly intersection. The egg stand is the size of a small closet stacked head to toe with eggs, 1000 cracked a day. After the chai but before the eggs I was witness to a horseback wedding procession complete with a 15 member drum and horn band and a push cart generator powering giant house lamps camped on top of small children's heads. The groom was very Lawrence of Arabia, complete with curly mustache. I nearly fell off my cracked plastic stool when something much bigger than an M-80 was joyously detonated behind my back. By the time I'd finished the eggs I was witness to a tuk tuk accident, the second bystander I've seen hit, not nearly as bad as a guy getting wiped off a taxi in Mumbai. I have the distinct feeling of prey when crossing the street in India.
Arriving into Mumbai was bittersweet, I got to spend a fantastic week with Jen and Lily, two girls I traveled with in Laos and Vietnam for 6 weeks, but a bummer it had to be in Mumbai.
Lily and Jen
One of the few nights we braved Leopolds, the mere mention of the name prompted profanities from Lily.
I'm just getting over my kennel cough inspired within the first ten minutes of landing in such air. Travelling with such lovely gals I got to witness firsthand the obscene staring from Indian men, funny, some would stare so bad that they would run into each other or a variety of large solid objects. One night they got a break, at what passes for a club I was the center of attention, after being asked if I would do pullups for all to see, I was challenged to a beer chug off, for India's honor. No way I lose to a dainty sipper, after that though I became engaged to Jen and we were very very serious.
Stuck were we in Mumbai for Jen's passport was inside a stolen purse down in Goa. Most of our time there was spent in coffee houses, (not too bad, french press!) and in our rooms, (no bars, or anything else late for that matter.) Very lucky to catch up, that marked the fifth time I'd been able to meet up with someone I traveled with.
We did manage a little trip together along with Alex; an English traveller Jen and Lily
had befriended earlier. The Ajanta and Ellora caves were magnificent. Eerily similar to caves I visited outside Beijing except for three religions represented this time. Jain, Buddhist and Hindu monks worked side by side generation after generation carving anterooms and statues out of solid rock, both are UNESCO sites and way too crowded on the weekends. India tourists would much rather take a snap shot of a western man or women instead of some old statues. We visited them in a rented car that featured bench seating in the back, old and curled up on each side. When you are young pretending a cornering car is producing g-force justifying a crushed sister - that was Lily in the middle. I spent most of the uncomfortable ride snapping photos of cows in vain, almost every cow for 2 hours had brightly painted horns in occasion of a recent festival.
My second round of goodbyes with them leaves me on a typical two day, four connection journey to Rajasthan, right now; cold, dry and colorful.
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