this post is originally from February 20, 2010
Holy cow…I think that I only need to experience an overnight train in India once in this life time. Lets see…when the train stops everyone just pushes and shoves to get on. Our group was split up which meant that we were sleeping with strangers. When we found our compartment there was nowhere to sit or put our bags because the people who got there first looked like they had brought all their earthly belongings! People were yelling at the top of their lungs and we just couldn’t understand a thing. Thankfully we have our guide with us who also took part in the yelling match. At one point an old woman was yelling at me to lift my feet…which I couldn’t because I had no room to lift them. Eventually we got things sorted and when the little woman turned all of our lights off we didn’t complain because she was a bit on the scary side. Once we pulled the beds down and tried to get comfortable the old woman’s mobile started ringing and she decided to have a full on conversation at top volume. Then the old man beside us decided to answer his phone in the middle of the night and started having quite the conversation in Hindi – again in a yelling voice. Meanwhile I had to pee several times and thus required me to make my way from the middle of three bunks down and to the toilet. I wont elaborate on what the washroom looked like, but I am sure you can use your imagination. 16 hours was plenty and it was more than a joy to get off in Mumbai. This train ride of ours could have been worse…one of my group members woke up to a hand tickling her body. When she pushed the hand away it kept creeping back to find her. This was all through curtains and she couldn’t see who the man was. Creepy with a capital C!!!!!!!
Mumbai is crazy interesting. I can’t get over how many people actually exist in one place. It is unbelievable. The city itself is cleaner than Delhi and the beautiful Victorian architecture is amazing. But what lies within the city and is at every corner are the slums. At one point our taxi driver stopped to let everyone get out to go walk through the slums. I was disgusted because the slums should not be a tourist attraction – so I waited in the taxi with Jess. Can you imagine what those poor people must think when all these westerners gawk at them?? I was completely embarrassed. We then saw all the ‘real tourist’ sites, The Hanging Gardens, Hotel Taj, The Gateway to India, Dobi Ghat…and for supper we went to the infamous restaurant called Leopold’s. Leopold’s has been a target for past terrorist attacks and bullet holes still paint the walls. (By the way, if you are looking for a great book, read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a lot of the scenes in the story take place here at Leopold’s.)
And this morning we were off to Goa by plane. It was so great to land in the tropics and the heat is wonderful. 34 degrees today. Splendid!!!!!! The first thing we did when we got to our hotel was strip into our bikinis and head to the beach. The water was wonderful – the perfect temperature and the waves were super fun to jump into. We had supper on the beach and watched the sun set. Ahhhh, now this is the life.
And just a few minutes ago we got back from a massive market with hundreds of stalls. This really is my kind of place. I had to fight off the little woman that kept grabbing my arm so that I would look at her goods, but overall I am proud of myself for not caving into the temptation to buying more beautiful bedding.
I am so excited to be here. It is so beautiful and will be a nice change from the nonstop touring that we have done.