Friday, June 26, 2009

Monsoon Madness

Ouffaaa---we made it into the saturated streets of Mumbai.
After a reeeeeally long journey from Shimla we arrived at 5am off a fantastic new plane from GoAir (which seemed to have dry ice spilling from vents above our heads the whole flight). Of course the taxi driver we chose would NOT believe the directions we gave him to our hotel Oasis and instead chose to follow his own senses through the city for 1 hr & 45minutes. I didn’t really mind as it was so interesting to see Mumbai through the rain. Most cars seemed ill equipped for it with no windscreen wipers. They’d dash out at traffic lights to wipe down their dirty rain soaked windshields with newspapers.
Finally made it to the OK hotel, dropped our stuff in a TINY room and headed out into the rain. Our waterproof jackets we soon realized were no good as it was hot as hell. So we quickly procured umbrellas & set off for breakfast. An evening was spent roaming the streets with two lads who tried to get Dave to take his shirt off constantly at street markets & succeeded! (he wanted a Cricket T-shirt). Tonight we have tickets for a Bollywood movie so we’ll see what that’s like. S’gonna be all in Hindi of course but because they speak half Hindi & half English it should be fairly easy to understand.

Anyways—shall post more soon.

My umbrella soon broke & had to resort to my sweaty jacket. We've seen a couple of movies in the Regal & Eros theaters which have been spectacular cinemas. Nice huge widescreens with really comfy assigned seating. 

The Monsoon rain here is an odd thing-not quite what I was expecting. It's very kind of varied in it's "strength". Sometimes it comes down pretty hard & at other times it's a light sprinkling. It's generally pretty warm when it rains but sometimes a wind is wipped up which can get quite cool by the water. We did go over to Elephanta Island which turned out to be quite some storm at sea adventure. The day was extremely hot & humid when we started out on the boat. By the time we'd got a fifth of the way in the rains had started, then winds & then some choppiness on the water. We were getting drenched & a bit annoyed, until we got so wet here was nothing more to be upset about. It was a long voyage over there (we'd thought it was gonna be something like a little ferry ride but it took friggin'hrs). By the time we got there it had calmed down a bit to light rain. Anyway-the caves were cool an'all & we had a fair ol'time before we had to get the last boat back on another stormy journey-all quite a laugh really. 

We also were thinking we'd do some Bollywood acting as we'd been asked a number of times before in Mumbai but were not feeling to trustworthy at the time as we were too new to India. But now we actually wanted to do it we weren't asked, even though we hung around the right areas. Ah well. 

We found out 2 days before we were to leave Mumbai that our flight was pushed ahead 1 day. It was pretty crap as we were all set to go & had to hang around in the wet some more. Oh yes-we ended up going to MacDonalds a few times in Mumbai-WHAT??? Yes-believe it or not. I'd never set Foot in one here in NY, but in India--well, what the hell we thought. So we tried their pancakes,veggiburgers & their fish fillets. An'believe you me, after all varied good & bad crap we've eaten on this adventure, it wasn't that bad! Still-no-I shan't be venturing into a Mc'd's here-That's for sure! This place has been absolutely the most insanely manic & interesting, organized city we've visited on our trip. It is very hard to understand the workings of it, but there is a system and process to all that they do here. The poorest of the poor all have a job to do apart from the beggers who are either part of a trafficked gang or else...I have no idea. Though some are obviously families surviving as a small team in the city through begging. I'm unsure as to why they'd make this choice unless it "runs in the family" through generations. As I said-there is a job for everyone here--for a pittance a day a guy may scrub some utensils in the gutter of the street & get paid a few rupees. This will keep him fed & clothed quite ok, though he may have to sleep on the pavement. They often will lie on a board rather than directly on the dirty street. We've seen this also at train stations where the poorest of people will carefully lay down & ol'rag on which to sit rather than get even dirtier. It's pretty smart of them I must say as the streets are black with filth, not to mention the beautiful buildings which tend to have that apocolytic look as their ashen facades loom over the city. 

We have been back in NYC for over a week now an'it's pretty weird as we've just kind of fallen right back in as if nothing ever happened. But it DID! I see it did from this blog! I just can hardly believe all the craziness is going on over there while we are sitting & walking around all calm as can be. The first thing that struck us upon landing was the immaculateness of the place. Everything was SO clean and organized. We went down to get some groceries from the local Pathmark and could believe how slow everything felt. Around where we live is NOT the cleanest place in Manhattan but it felt as sterile as could be. We still hadn't had a night to mull over the changes so were really aghast at the brightness & coolness of our town. Now that we've been here for a bit we're getting used to it all again though. 

Now we have both started to miss India somewhat-and the resounding thing we miss is the mayhem and the smiling lovely Indians. So we shall be back there for sure--next time to the South.