It’s Wednesday, 8pm in Mumbai.
Leaving Berlin went so smoothly that I should have guessed my arrival in Mumbai would be rough.
And it was.
All the traveling has made me a little cocky because for the first time ever I did not check the “getting to and from the airport” in my guidebook, because if I had, I would have known that rickshaws are not allowed in downtown Mumbai and I would not have hailed one in the first place. Instead, proud of my deal of 100 rupees (I was told cab fare from the airport is about 350), I jumped into the first auto rickshaw that would stop. 2 minutes into the ride (it was 1am) my driver asks if I want to go shopping at his friend’s shop. Err, duh, homie. Then he proceeds to tell me that he won’t be able to take me into town and I’d have to switch into a cab. At this point I’m not friendly anymore. The next 3 minutes I’m shouting at him that he needs to take me to a cab which he did, after I screamed so loudly I thought my lungs might burst. Right in that moment I remembered. I remembered why 5 years ago when I traveled India for the first time I didn’t like it. And I had no intentions of ever returning. But here I was, doing it all over again. After switching into a taxi and fearing for my life for a solid 90 minutes (who knows if my cabbie isn’t dropping me off in one of the slums we’re driving through?) I eventually arrived at my hotel where my friend and travel buddy Caroline , who had arrived 4 days before me, was expecting me already. It was pitch black and the hotel staff was sleeping on the floor by the reception desk. Sweet, just what I needed. Our room was a windowless shoebox with a noisy fan.
The attached bathroom might have made it seem better had it had a toilet or running water in it. But it was all good because at least now I wasn’t on my own anymore. I knew if I screamed, someone would scream louder and if I wanted to complain, someone would complain even more, because that’s what makes Caro and I such good friends. She’s even more obnoxious than I am and those are hard to come by, believe me.
After 10 minutes of happiness about our reunion Caro puts on her most serious face and says she has to tell me something. Something really bad. Something she’s been meaning to tell me, which has given her sleepless nights. Whenever Caroline has anything of importance to announce she tiptoes around it for 30 minutes before she actually spits it out. Eventually the big confession was that she wouldn’t be able to contribute to travelettes.net. Caro is a professional journalist, she’s got some contract to conform to or whatever, so don’t expect any first hand posts from her. Guess you’re stuck with my ramblings for now.
Otherwise today was pretty good.
Caro and I switched to a beautiful colonial hotel where we pay double but are also enjoying a big room with a balcony and a tv. We bought train tickets to Kochi for tomorrow (a 27 hour ride, sleeper class for just 7 euros!) and while Caro went for a yoga class I went for some retail therapy and purchased a delightful pair of neon yellow jelly shoes, an I love Mumbai t-shirt and a silk scarf. And now, off to meet the date Caro and I have with those 2 dutch hotties….
To be continued.