<<  Mumbai, 4-Jan-2015  >>

Namaste from India again

My third (Irene's first) arrival to India - the second Indian voyage during my Odyssey. Chai is here. Bidis are here. Rickshaws are here. Apart from that, it's just Mumbai

And here I am, back to India!
25 months after I have started my Odyssey.
But this time not alone. No more of “hermit crab”, silent solo pilgrimage. This time with a girl. Irene, obviously. This time I’m not looking for deep introvert isolation, or enlightenment. This time I am here for a mellow vacation, the unique feeling of India, and only a slight spiritual recharge.

Apart the feeling of India, none of that is to be found in Mumbai.
Mumbai is a big, BIG, crowded non-sense town. I had never felt any urge to go to Mumbai, and if our flight wouldn’t be landing in Mumbai I would avoided it, but since we landed here, it made sense to at least look around. Except couple of impressive buildings and structures left behind by the English, there doesn’t seem to be much to see here. If a train station (Victoria Terminus) and a hotel (Taj Mahal Palace) are the main highlights of a city, it pretty much gives you an idea of what to expect. But reality was even more mundane as I thought. Would you believe that in 2 days that we spent here we didn’t even see a single Hindu temple? Excuse me, are we in India?

To me it seems that Mumbai is exactly what will be become of India one day that it will grow a bit richer and whole lotta less spiritual. Non-sense crowded place. At least I expected Mumbai to be more impressive in modern terms, I expected trendy skyline and all the shines of a metropolis, but the only sort of skyscrapers we saw were tall apartment blocks on horizon, looking so boring that we didn’t bother to come closer to really see them.
But all is good: masala tea and bidis are here!!! Come to daddy my darlings!

The second day in Mumbai we escaped to a day trip to Elephanta Caves, an island 1 hour away from Mumbai by boat, which contains ancient rock carved caves and sculptures. Man, were they crowded! To my surprise photo photo madness has started already in Mumbai. I knew that Indians LOVE to take pictures with “white” tourists, and when one starts it causes a widespread panic very similar to piranha attack - one Indian after another taking picture, in different combinations of people, with different camera and the whole madness takes 5 minutes - but I didn’t expect it in Mumbai. Sure, deep in Tamil Nadu, where I was one of the few white faces I understood the thrill, but here in Mumbai, with thousands of other foreigners roaming around? Yeah, I know the photo photo Indians were probably tourists in Mumbai, but still. In any case, we spent half of our time in Elephanta Caves posing with the Indians. White guy with curly hair and a beard, and a tall white girl with even curlier crazy hair are not to be missed for your photo photo opportunity. By the way, our good names are Marcel and Irene. We greet you from India.

PS: Irene is desperate about the food already after first day. It’s gonna be hard to spend 6 weeks in India for a girl who hates even slightest taste of spiciness…

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak