To say India is a full throttle attack on all senses would be accurate – and jumping into the middle of Mumbai after a rocky start (more to come on that) was overwhelming to say the least. But let’s backtrack. After mustering up enough strength post-stomach-flu-food-poisning-ailments to board an overnight flight to Mumbai, we were told at airport check-in “you know your flight’s been cancelled, right?” We did not. They proceeded to give vague direction from where to find shuttle buses taking us to a sub-par airport hotel where we’d be “treated” to a tasteless buffet and a room with one towel located beside a baby who wailed (turns out that was just warm-up for the flight…it was incredible…as if the little one never needed to breath, just cried the entire time). After a 5am wake up we were en route. Crying non-stop aside, the flight was fairly uneventful (though to me it felt like a 9-hour trip along Southwood Rd). It wasn’t until we landed and got wifi that we picked up the lovely email from our hotel we’d been corresponding with to arrange an airport pick-up; not only were they not waiting beyond the gate, they claimed they had no record of our reservation. Such a fun message to get just before midnight in an unknown city after a sleepless night and day-long flight! Luckily we spotted Emer’s brother Colm on Skype and (since our international sim card has decided it doesn’t like India) had him called Expedia for us to sort it out. Eventually they “found” our reservation and we were off in a rickety cab driven by a driver who had no idea where he was going. After numerous stops for directions, we arrived!
Mumbai, for those who have never been there, is a city that thinks it is world class and can charge western prices for everything. And for those who are used to paying western prices for things, can assure you that this smelly sess pool has no right to do such a ludicrous thing. Paying close to $100 a night for a falling apart run down hole in the wall is simply unacceptable, so it was decided it was time to say good bye to this god awful place.
We spent four hours in the train station (Victoria Terminus – a beautiful world heritage building) trying to get to Goa. Nothing that night nor the following so we settled for a Monday. After psyching ourselves up to make the most of our imposed containment in this place, we needed a new place to sleep for the night. Unfortunately what we found was the type of place that will forever make every other bed you sleep in look like bed worthy of the Gods! It’s hard to say whether it was plywood consistency of the mattress, the stains on the walls, or the fact that the bathroom surprisingly didn’t have a sink, the bottom line was it was time to go. We woke up the next morning expecting to set out to see the sights of Mumbai, but instead looked at each other and said train ticket be damn, we’re flying out of here today!
Two hours later we had checked into our flight to Goa and were walking through security. As we boarded the plane, even the screaming baby could not wipe the smile off our faces as we said goodbye to Mumbai for what I truely hope is the last time we see that dump. (Though for some odd reason Emer feels she’ll get it better a second time around.) I am not sure if the plane crashed and we died in transit, the one thing I do know is that walking off that plane on to this sunny beach paradise, we must be in Heaven.