The next bit I started writing while I was in Mumbai:
There is a lot I can share but think the thought of being back in Cape Town in 2 days is more on my mind at the moment.
I actually like Bombay!
Its has increased my accommodation costs about 3 fold but it is a nice end to my trip through the south west of India. Wish I could spent more time here...didn't think I would be saying that 2 days ago.
I was sitting at Goa's primitive airport and dreading Bombay/Mumbai...Already knowing the huge military presence at the airport and what I have seen from cities down south, but it is very different. They have proper streets and pavements here. :) But as I have mentioned before India is everything over the top...The slums we know from Slumdog Millionaire to Colaba where I am staying. The roads were blocked off ( by the military) around the Taj Hotel today...obviously some big shot arriving. Last night as I sat on the roof top restaurant while watching fire works, while the electricity was shut down. I asked the waiter why all the fire works...I dont know, no reason, he said. I guess it was because it was Sunday... All the streets were full. My first hour in Bombay I disappeared at the Gateway to India into a sea of people. I felt safe. I had no fear. I was no one and I didn't feel the need to explain the tourist etc etc etc....I felt at ease and at peace in a crowd of probably close to a thousand. Welcome to Bombay!
Back to Goa airport...I was way too early to check in (one is not allowed into the airport if you are not flying somewhere.) Even though the taxi driver that I got at the bus stop from Candolim ( area in Goa ) said he will drive slowly because I was early (and he did ). So one of the military gents with his AK 47 and big natural movember suggested I go and relax in the restaurant for a while. I went there orderd some of their snacky thinks ( usual vegetable deep friend balls in batter etc... and spicy, well not any more ) and couldn't help notice the waiter's expression when he cleared a table where the lady must have only had one bite or two...heartbroken! And that is the reason I will say I have not had what everyone expected me to have...Deli Belly.
From here I will need to back track and think where I was heading with that...ah ok Deli Belly...
Everywhere I ate there was always an enjoyment the people had in serving you. There were a few times I thought no I am not eating here. Like on the train station in Cochin before I got onto the train to Goa. (Cochin train station: where I was asked for direction in Hindi many times - didn't my backpack give it away?) Thinking back the place was not that dirty. I now realise the people serving you make the difference....Well it did for me all through my trip. I only ate at places I really felt comfortable with the people and do not think the hygiene was the first reason for going into or not going into a place. Do believe if something is made with real care and love for doing it, or as it may be in India a duty of having to serve someone their meal, I can trust it completely.... Well that is obvious right.... It’s always how we perceive things. If I thought it tasted great and it is not possible to make me sick if it is made with "love" , than that is how it would be. The next day I might hate it and get sick because I would not have been as hungry as the day before for instance or some dodgy looking guy that I don’t trust serves me the exact same meal....all in the mind...
I read something a day or 2 before leaving Goa. It said something like...we project out our own image or desire and therefore perceive that and make our own reality etc...There are opposites in life so love what is inside and the opposite will come out...My stupid thinking went...Ok I am a "little" scared of entering Mumbai again and now actually staying and going into that chaotic sprawl that I saw from the aeroplane. So I loved the fear and the fear was no more and that was Mumbai...
I went on a trip through the city with a taxi and all the guy kept telling me is "all building English building" After about the hundredth time he told me I just had to ask: What type of buildings are these. He just replied " all building English building...I wanted to throttle him. Eventually after about 3 hours through Mumbai he goes: " all building Muslim building, 5 km" and needless to say the record got stuck on that for the next 5km.
Anyway I want to add some photos and other stories you will need to hear from me personally. So off I go to the airport....get a little sad I am leaving. Wishing I could stay (damn I didn't even get to the red-light district cause they were still closed - only opens at 23h00...time I had to check in. ) I got back to Johannesburg and the first thought I had was shit it is cold. And then….Man there are so many black and white people here. Where are the...ah there…J thank goodness an Indian man. He is speaking Hindi with his companion, I feel at home again...
One question people keep asking me is will you go back?
I will and want to, but I am not in a rush to go back there…really no rush!
The best way I can describe India is this:
I went Elephantine Island while in Mumbai. The caves which are the big attraction there were closed the day I could go. I thought well there are still trips going there. It’s an island lets go..What a waste of time…hiked up this hill through the Knysna forests in that terrible heat and then monkeys trying to steal my coke and getting aggressive about it. Get starving back to the bottom and only find hot hot curry…Anyway ah well, all part of it …on my way back to the dock a family that just arrives on the island ask me if it is worth going...after explaining I can’t speak Hindi...he asked is it almost boring since the caves are closed…I say yes and get on the boat…not long they decide to skip the island trip join me on the boat. Jahdish, the father came to Mumbai for a job interview…unfortunately didn’t get it so took the Nahar family out to enjoy the time while they are there in any case. The +/-6 or 7 year old son starts asking me questions. What my religious dance is?!!! And then if I know a tribe called Sidi?!!! ( huh?) And then about our money? I show him a R2 coin and tell him he can have it. He asked me how much it is worth. I tell him +/- 12Rupees. He then says no thank you. I tell his dad, no he can really have it. His son doesn’t need to give me anything for it. His dad talks to him for a while and comes back to me and says…He doesn’t want it because he doesn’t have 12Rupees to give me…I tell him that that is silly, it’s a gift. The answer was still no. I find 10cents in my bag and tell him that is less than 1Rupee. Will you accept that? The boy (whose name I have forgotten) starts talking to his dad for a while and eventually his dad says. His son has asked him to ask me if I will accept it if he pays me 1Rupee for his son for the 10cents…I said Oh @#$^#^!! please give me that bloody rupee!!
India - Give and Take - 1 Rupee!
till my next interest to blog...