51 minutes to Mumbai

From my notebook... I'm ready to revisit this experience...

Friday 2nd February 2007. 4 am start. Wonder round in the dark bumping into things. Heft packs onto our backs and jump in the car. Tullamarine. Sitting on the plane. Right hand side. Bright morning sun. Mt Macedon sitting patiently on the horizon. A honey coloured world opening up before us as we lift off towards Sydney. Green hills roll away into grey clouds. Sydney raining. Flew into the airport over the ocean. A thrilling and beautiful landing. Airport adventures ran into our next flight time. Suddenly another lift off and a straight line across everything to Darwin. Beautiful Australia. Brown and orange and wet and dry and green. I took this photo from the window. The Seasoned Traveller gave the new girl the window seat I was stunned and amazed by the shapes and colours. Hundreds of photos out the window. Hazy and difficult to see. But perfectly beautiful.

Darwin. Hot. Humid. 9 hours to Mumbai. I watched Top Gear, Scoop, Suburban Mayhem and Babel. It's now 51 minutes to Mumbai. Sun is setting through the plane. Finally. In Melbourne now is 12.08 pm. Saw the coast of India as we approached. Blue blue ocean and then a dark line stretching to either side of my little window. Saw rivers and rivers and space. Then almost full dark. Mumbai at 7pm-ish in the evening - sky still light. As we left the plane - boarded the country if you like - we received the message over the speakers 'have an interesting weekend!'. Interesting? What happened to wonderful? Exciting? Hmm?

Arrived Mumbai. Off the plane onto the steps. Float off into space. Mumbai. Breathing in its air. Feeling its heat. Trying not to think about how far it is to get home. Where was home now anyway? Kill that thought. Kill it dead and squash it. Can't waste a minute of Mumbai. Must have head up and be looking forward the whole time. Waved through customs. Had first toilet beggers experience. Had first toilet experience. Thank god for Seasoned Traveller and her knowledge of procedures and ettiquette. Pre-paid taxi. Met Fernando in the line. He asked us about our hotel - would it be ok to share a taxi? Hot Brazillian boy sharing our taxi and hotel - ok if you insist. I braved the front seat. Living on the edge. My nose out front ready to try new things. Mad taxi drive. Long. Sweeping past dwellings, garage doors, stalls, cars cars cars taxis woosh. Horns. Some kind of communication device? One for I'm here. 2 for gonna move soon. On the horn flat chat for get the fuck out of my way. Taxi driving is proof of trust between strangers. Drivers have faith and pedestrains have faith and somehow no one dies too often. Hunting for Hotel New Bengal. Roads. Bridges. City. Overpass. Big signs. Found it. Go back. Stop here. Thank the taxi man and go inside.

Hotel not as nice as website - suprise! Clean - good suprise. Goats? I'm sure I can hear goats. Goats and people. We locked up our things and hit the town. Fernando came too. So many men. Not so many women. Stopped for water at cafe. Hot and wet and deeply tired. Tried Turkish Delight lassi - YUK! 10.30 stumble to hotel and bed. Tomorrow? Who knows...

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