Saturday, 19 January 2008

And here I am, Mumbai.

17/1. Getting There.

I decided my schedule was a bit tight, 17.50 from Manchester to Heathrow and 21.30 from Heathrow to Mumbai, so thought I would go in early to see if I could get an earlier flight down, so fed up with tidying the house, well thinking about tidying it, I had a cuppa with Kelly and she dropped me at the station, so I could get an earlier connection to Heathrow.
I got the bus. Mind you, I got sat next to a canny lass from Preston on the way down. I thought she took a fancy to me, then I realised it was my chocolate. Not true, she was just a friendly lady, sat next to a friendly bloke.
There was a plane accident at Heathrow, so people were being bused to Heathrow.
Arrived at Terminal 1 at 20.10. I was flying from Terminal 4, sods law.
Got to the checkin desk and was told the flight closed 5 minutes ago.
Sh$*@#(*. I told you my schedule was tight.
Asked the lad if there was anything I could do. "You could fly without your luggage". I am a scruff, but not in that much of a hurry. He went to check with his manager who was on the phone.

"Ask her" I encouraged. He tried but she was not for it. Luckily in the end. She was on the phone to get the flight reopened. Others were trying to get aboard from Manchester. It was reopened, so now I am a happy man and in a rush mode to get to gate 22. OK, I haven't got a rush in me, but I tried. Tried so hard I went straight past the gate on the travelator to the Big gate 20 sign. No travelators coming back, so now I am sweating. Got to the door to gates 22-25. I still had about 1/4 mile to go. Now I am really sweating. One of the travelators is knackered. Now the sweat is pumping out of me.
I assumed the flight would be boarding if the checkin was closed. WRONG, they weren't boarding. All that sweat for nowt.
We boarded about 30 minutes late and took off about 2 hours late. Someone had checked in and not turned up. TERRORIST!!! So the luggage had to be unloaded and we are off.
BA decided to try and freeze us on the trip, there was an arctic breeze in place of the air conditioning. Most people were sleeping with their blankets over their heads.
I got jipped out of my 3 seat spot, where I had 2 empty next to me. A long story, but I did get sat next to a friendly lass from Trinidad.
Got some good advice from and English, Indian lad about where to go. All I have to do now is remember it.
I got no evening meal. I guessed I had paid the cheap fare, but breakfast turned up. I gorged on my Smarties through the night, thanks Kelly and Paige, so did not mind missing the meal.
And here we are in sunny Mumbai. Already and adventure, but smiling to be here.

18/1 First glimpse of India and Mumbai.

Sorted out a prepaid taxi easy enough. Got money from the second ATM.
Mumbai is like nowhere I have ever seen before. I have heard horror stories, but the taxi ride doesn't confirm them. There is a lot of poverty. It is hectic. The traffic is crazy. All these years I knew the white lines down the road were for you to centre your car on. I didn't know that the double white ones meant you had twice as much right to use them as a guide. Live and learn.
The use of the horn is crazy too, but after a short while they disappear into the background. I found out later, when you are tired they can become a bit wearing, but only if you let them.
So far I like Mumbai. It is a grown ups town. (Here comes the grumpy old man). If you want to wear a seatbelt, get them fitted if you don't, then don't bother. None of this Nanny state lark, where you have to do as you are told.
Unpacked in my cell. Cheap but cheerful. Had a shower, cool and nice. Wandered out to be accosted by loads of Indian ladies. Alas not for favours, but for money or food or anything but my body. I can understand that. Got talking to a couple of people, but it seems if people start talking to you they have an ulterior motive. I bet you cant guess what they are after. No, not that. Money. Sometimes for a service, tour guide, but always money.
Had my first Indian meal. Biryiani Hyderabadi, butter roti and a lassi followed by a cup of chai. Nearly 2 quid that cost me and this is Mumbai and a tourist area.
The place is growing on me. I do like Mumbai. I think my 4 days will be enough and I don't think I will be back through choice. It is too hectic, but not the horror story that was hinted to me.
Early night on my 2" mattress, solid pine I think, but I bet I sleep well.
That all for now folks.
Tot volgende keer. Until next time. (I think)