Tour Around the Chaos of Mumbai

It is night and the plane has almost completely descended. We are about to land at the Bombay airport. Suddenly the airport disappears, even the track. Where is it? Oh no, there has been a blackout and of course, you cannot see the track anymore. That would be the first blackout of light that we would witness in an airport, but it was before I arrived!

We enter the terminal and we went to the luggage bay in a room that had a shattered roof. When I say shattered, it is destroyed. As candid novices, we dared not leave the airport at night and waited for dawn to begin. We take a prepaid taxi through the airport. Later we would realize that it is better to go over that and try to haggle with any taxi driver. We were going to the neighborhood of Colaba, in the center, to find a hotel.

The route by taxi was very impressive. Many people sleep on the street, in between commercial posters of telephone or flat-screen televisions. Suddenly, we are in a fruit and flower market. It was early dawn, but the street was already crowded with people and stalls of all colors (and smells). The taxi driver made an effort to pass between because it seems that they can not bear to drive slowly.

When we arrived in Colaba, we booked a hostel. Our room was a decent one in which we barely fit the four of us. I was reluctant to get close to the wall and especially open the window. In the same hotel, I showered with a crow watching me through the window. I was afraid it would take my eyes out.

We went to sleep and mentally scolded me for being such a little boy. For having felt able to travel through India, and now being scared and rambling I fell asleep. Upon awakening, the negative thoughts were gone and I just wanted to see the city. And the truth is that Bombay in the afternoon is very different from Bombay at dawn. It is crowded with people, full of stalls, cars and much more noise.

We went for a walk in this city of 22 million inhabitants. Probably more, because it is difficult to have a census in India. The city is the main economic center of India and houses the largest film industry in the world, Bollywood, which we would eventually see.

We went to the Gateway of India, where there is a large square with all kinds of vendors. The Gateway of India was built in honor of the visit made by Jorge V and Maria von Teca to India in 1911. Ironically, this was the place chosen by the British to give the final farewell to India.

In front are the most luxurious hotels, such as the Taj Mahal Hotel and luxury shops. Suddenly the monsoon caught us but as we wanted to see more, we did not return to the hotel, and we got ourselves wet. We wore a raincoat, but this does not work with such humidity. It is best to use an umbrella, which is what locals use. By the way, I like how men and women dress. Everyone is different and always looks elegant.

We continue walking through streets crowned by huge trees and English buildings of the colonial era. We can get an idea of ​​what Bombay might have been like at the beginning of the 20th century. When we did not know what to do, we went to the Regal cinema, the most important one in Bombay, to see a movie. First, there were announcements, legal warnings such as "do not download the music from the movie, buy the CD". Suddenly, the spectators had risen to their feet and were singing the national anthem of India, while a 3D flag waved on the screen.

The film turned out to be a good one. It had everything from action, love, jealousy, music, luxury, parties, chases, and fights. That's why it lasted three hours! A few months later, I would listen to the soundtrack of this film on the radio. I was very excited, I wanted to run to the studio and give a hug to the nice blokes that work there.

After this film break, we went to have some beer at a bar where we had to pay 10 rupees for each song we wanted to listen to. Beer by beer, song by song we were playing the fool until the dream was with us. On the way to the hotel, we talked about what we had seen during the day. there is too much information in such a short time. When we turned off the light, I received an SMS from my father. I had passed all the subjects of my college exam. That means that I finished the race. The message had taken me out of Mumbai, to transport me to my world, the one in which all the needs are covered and we were happy for things like finishing the race. Let's go back to more joyful matters.

The next day I got up to buy something for breakfast and a guy stopped me to tell me if I wanted to be Bollywood extra. Mmmm, of course! Of course, I pointed to my friends and that is another story altogether. After this, we paid a visit to Elephanta Island, which is half an hour by boat, and on the way back, we sat down to watch the sunset on Chowpatty beach.

On the way back, the main road had been closed in both directions and an impressive traffic jam had been set up. If the people here are already so fond of honking their horns, yes, at that time you could not hear anything other than horns. I asked a couple the reason for this chaos and they told me calmly, that a politician was coming to speak near those stands. As my friends were tired we did not stay to see the meeting, but I would have liked it. I meet two other friends who immerse us in the nightlife of Bombay, next to the Gateway of India.

Tour Around the Chaos of Mumbai to Goa

On the weekend we all decide to hire bikes to move together to Goa. What we are going to find is totally different from what we have ever done. Rolling through India is always epic. Going out with the Royal Enfield without having ever driven one before, is delicate. They are very basic motorcycles, with a lot of noise and vibrations. You cannot go fast with them, although this is not really our intention.

Slowly, with a lot of attention, we adapt to each other, forming a beautiful indivisible group. We stop to drink several times. It is very hot and I do not want anyone dehydrated. The faces of the riders are becoming more relaxed, but this is part of the adventure that has just begun. We left the big city and took the coastal road. It is quieter, without heavy traffic, although full of tuc-tucs and all kinds of Chinese bikes of 125 cc. We eat in a nice restaurant, all (or almost) without spice. We must get to the hotel and we still have about two hours of driving under a scorching sun.

The narrow roads climb a hill full of coconut palms. The asphalt begins to disappear under our wheels and the red Indian land is taking up position. The dust invades us and our speed on the asphalt decreases. Despite being the first day we are immersed in the adventure. We have to climb a hill up a broken road full of dirt. But these bikes are made to each and every one of them gets theirs to reach the top without problems.

When we arrive, a rich shower and a succulent dinner await us. There are curry and a fish that is called salmon here. During the dinner, the managers of the hotel take photos as if we were extraterrestrials. We laugh and go to sleep. Tomorrow we have another good stretch of the route.

Without getting up early, as we are on vacation, we go out again. Today one of my favorite hotels awaits us and one of my favorite activities. It is to roll on the beach. We arrived at noon. We drove a little slower due to the traffic in the small towns we crossed. There are authentic villages where children greet us as they pass and the elderly look with disbelief. This is not an organized trip and is a different adventure. Each of those who accompany me is living part of my new trip. They are in a real situation. We do not find tourists in these places.

The beach is the perfect place to take photos. The passes along the shore, the photos and the laughter along with the collection of beautiful and different conches make us spend more than two hours. We have exhausted the time of the meal in this beautiful beach with which it has been possible to ride the bikes and feel the freedom that this gives us. Today we will have dinner soon. We do not eat. I say this is part of the adventure. Many animals walk freely at sunset (cows, dogs, pigs and even monkeys) and I do not want to have any accidents.

We arrived at five in the afternoon at the hotel, one of my favorites. It is a magical place on the shores of a deserted beach. It is also a hotel with a good kitchen. Also, today we celebrate a birthday and I have to find a way to make a cake, so I look for my own challenges.

While everyone goes up to their room and takes a shower, I try to put a nice table. Impossible, the most I get after saying it's a birthday and bringing flowers and candles, is to place a horrendous vase with plastic flowers blackened by dust along with a red LED light beacon, in the middle of the table. I pick it up laughing and cut a few very aromatic flowers from a grapevine. I scatter them over the table and it's the most exotic. After a while, they ask me at the hotel how many kilos I want the chocolate cake. Kilos? They are crazy, with 500 gram it is enough.

We dined listening to the waves breaking and we toasted with beer for the honoree. We all wish each other a good night. This morning everyone rises early. Some have taken a bath in the waters of this Arabian Sea, warm and calm. Others have gone running and everyone has to do one thing: take photos. Without hurry but without pause, we left the course to the south.

Today the road is more twisty, with several crosses difficult to find that make us lose several times. But the reward for a hard day in the motorcycle will be magnificent. The riders are more relaxed on their mounts. They enjoy them and some have even fallen in love with the purring and vibration that the Royal Enfield Bullet gives away. It is what has to roll in mythical motorcycles by magical and unknown places like this. They will never be forgotten.

We stopped to cross several majestic bridges over a wide river. At the third wrong intersection, it seems that we are really lost, but it is not like that. A little further down, towards the sea, the small asphalt line becomes sand and then more red earth. We turn right and there it is. A magnificent, beautiful and quiet place, in which we all want to stay more days. The branch huts fascinate us all.

It will be a nice dinner, not without passing by the seashore and giving us a good swim. It has been a fun day and we have driven safely. In India, it is important to be concentrated since animals and vehicles can leave the less expected places. It is a challenge to arrive every calm day at the hotel, although everything depends on how you take it.

The days are over and the route every time is shorter. Some of the rivers are crossed by ferries, fun and a different way of seeing the landscape. Today we arrive in Goa, near the end of the trip, although we have three days to visit this old Portuguese colony, with its large churches, its cobbled streets, its colorful facades and delicious and spicy gastronomy with a strong Portuguese influence, as it is to wait for this old colony.

Seafood and fish, pork and chicken flooded with curries accompany sweet desserts. There is Portuguese heritage everywhere. We are also lucky. The holidays are celebrated at the same time as our stay. We have time to paint the colors of the holi, to run through the streets among the colored dust and enjoy the hotel pool.

1 comment:

PossesstheWorld said...

Wow, this sounds like an awesome trip. I am hoping to explore the history, culture and food of Goa soon and will bookmark your post for reading before we go. Thanks for sharing your experience in such honest terms.

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