The Good, The Bad and The Mumbai Madness

Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
Trip End Aug 15, 2005

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Well it was time to leave the blue city and head out for a 7 hour journey to Udaipur. Half the way there the landscape transformed from dusty, flat desert to lush, green mountains. We stopped at a place called Ranakpur for lunch at a retreat, which had lovely gardens and was nice and relaxing after a long drive.
Mishra explained to us that just 15 minutes up the road was a Jain temple so we said we were up for that. We looked it up in the Lonely Planet and it informed us that it has 1444 pillars made entirely out of marble and is 400 years old. We pulled up and Mishra presented me and Rich with a bag of bananas to feed the monkeys which were everywhere.
The temple was amazing, such intricate carvings from top to bottom. We weaved in and out of the pillars in awe whilst being continuously followed by a family that seemed to be in awe of us!
We left the temple and continued our journey up through the very top of the mountains when Mishra stopped the car for photos. However, it turned out that the car was over heated and the fan had broken. Oh dear! We are now stuck at the top of a mountain on a quiet road having just passed a sign for cheaters/tigers!!
We had to freewheel the car down to the next town to find a mechanics. They couldn't help us so we had to make it 50k to Udiapur freewheeling where we could.
When we got to Udaipur Mishra sorted out a rickshaw to take us to our hotel so we said our goodbyes there. Mishra had been amazing, he never tried to dictate to us where we should go and stay, like I've heard some drivers can do and turn your trip into a nightmare. So to show our appreciation we tipped him handsomely.

Our guesthouse was right by the lake, which encompassed the Lake Palace, where Octopussy was filmed. However, as the last 4 monsoons have been poor the lake has just dried up and is now known as the mud palace, and instead, elephants, cows, pigs, dogs and people use the lake floor for play, prayer, and toileting.
Sat on the roof top restaurant you can see everything going below you on what should have been covered in water. I just sat there amusing myself watching monkeys playing in the trees, dogs fighting, and listening to people chanting, singing and beating drums to pray for rain, and mynah birds singing there lovely song.
The next day we did all the tourist hot spots and just walked around the town. In the evening we went for a meal but we had to leave as I was feeling a bit nauseous and couldn't finish my dinner.
And so now comes 'The Bad' part of the title. . . .
That evening after trying to fight my sick feeling and stomach gripes I became really bad. I put an 'anti vomiting' pill in-between my front teeth and lip as instructed and within 15 seconds I was projectile vomiting into the bath - neither rich or myself have ever seen so much sick in all our lives!!! So much for anti vomiting pills and come to think of it what about my water purification - Citracidal!!! (I think I spoke far too soon on my last entry!)
Rich had to clean the sick out of the bath and the . . . err . . 'other' off the bed! What a man! From now on I shall call him Flo'.
All the next day I had a fever and ached so much it reduced me to tears. We had to pay extra for the room for the day as we were meant to be catching the overnight train that evening to Amedabad making our way down to Goa, but I was so worried I wouldn't be able to make it having felt so bad and worried that the spewing and arse dribbling would come back again!!! Luckily though, having taken a couple of antibiotics and falling soundly asleep I awoke feeling loads better so we packed our stuff up and headed for the 1st time to the train station.

We arrived at Amedabad in the morning and got our next train to Mumbai. We arrived there at about 4pm and had 7 hours to go till we could get on our overnight train to Goa. So we had a McDonalds in the train station (I needed something bland and it was the 1st thing I'd eaten in 2 days) It was gorgeous! I had a paneer salsa wrap - I wish they did them at McDonald's at home.
We whiled away the hours sat down playing cards and reading our books in the middle of the station, along with the rest of what seemed like half of Mumbai! Of course we were the center of attention - men, and to some extent women just staring and staring and staring but you get used to that pretty quickly. Anyway 10pm came, an hour before the train was due to leave and we were called up to board the train. It was manic - the platform was heaving and having traveled for nearly 48 hours we were knackered and trying to weave in and out of masses of people with heavy rucksacks on your back was somewhat exhausting. We were grabbed by a member of staff to check that our tickets were 'confirmed' and on the board we saw our names were there but the guy just kept barking at us "no confirmed!" and "no get train" . . .WHAT???????? I don't understand!?! We weren't told to confirm our tickets when we bought them! Another member of staff who spoke slightly better English repeated the same thing and said we'd have to get a bus to Goa! He told us that the Ganesh festival is taking place in Goa and there was now no room for us on the train! Great! We'd just spent 7 hours sat on the floor of Mumbai train station with me still feeling dodgy to be told we couldn't go! The guy managed to get us a refund and charged us 200 rupees for his help. We wouldn't have even got a refund if it wasn't for him because you can't get one after the train leaves the station! We couldn't get on a bus as it was too late so he took us to a fancy hotel, complete with air-con and TV, across the road. We decided to get the train the following evening so we could get a nice long lie-in. hmmmm . . . . 6am we received a phone call from reception -
"You get ticket?"
"Err. . .no"
"OK, bye"
"Bye" . . . . . .(!?!?!?!?!?!)
We immediately went back to sleep and then 9am another phone call -
"What time you check out?"
"12pm which is your check out time if that's ok?"
"Yes, fine, bye"
"Bye" . . . . . (?!?!?!?!?!)
We then ordered room service and had breakfast in bed. We ate our toast and drunk our chai and 10 mins later we had a knock on the door asking us to pay for our breakfast!!!!!!!! Oh my god! What to they think we're going to do?? Run off without paying?!

We left our rucksacks at the hotel and went to re-buy our train tickets for that evening and to take a walk round Mumbai.
After triple confirming our train tickets we bought tickets to see the latest bollywood movie and took a walk into the park and watched a game of cricket sitting in the makeshift pavilion talking to the guys who were batting. As the side which were batting, supposedly equivalent of Andy Flintoff was out, we made our way to the cinema.

The Saturday afternoon matinee was heaving and we were shown to our seats by torchlight reminding Rich of his childhood days. The movie - what can we say? Well the film had everything in it that you would expect of a Bollywoood movie, beautiful girl who by day is good cop and by night a dancing queen, bad man, good man who gets the girl, car chases and plenty of slapstick, cheesy humor, all spoken in Hindi with the odd English phrase thrown in for good measure. After 1 and 1/2 hours the interval came and after a short conversation me and rich decided to walk out and leave the rest to our imagination.

so after whiling away the hours eating in cafes and people watching it was getting time to head back and catch our train (hopefully!)
Mumbai is a real mixture, it's so poor but yet so cosmopolitan and me and Rich had quite a pleasant time there even it was short and sweet. And so the madness of Mumbai unfolded into what was in the end, a very worthwhile stay.

we got onto our comfortable 2 tier air-conditioned carriage who we shared with a couple from Holland and chatted until it was time for some shut eye. We all had such a comfy good nights kip and awoke at 8am for chai. It's amazing - you can travel for 550 kilometers on an air-conditioned train with your own comfy bed, bedding provided, lighting and temperature to your taste and all for 10 quid!! If only British trains were half as good!

We arrived in Goa about 11am and shared a cab with some Sam and Nichole from the UK who'd been traveling for 2 years mainly in NZ and Oz and a Julie from Oz who'd been traveling in Europe. We chose our beach huts and became neighbors by the sea.
Palolem Beach is lovely, really chilled and fairly quiet. We cracked open our 1st Belo (Goan brewed beer) and toasted our next 2 weeks of beach life!
We've been here a week now and we haven't even ventured further than the little row of shops just off the beach! Instead we've all been recuperating by eating amazing food, playing cards and having plenty of 'Belo time'

Tomorrow we are leaving south Goa and heading to the north where the capital is and where all the partying's at!

So goodbye for now!

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