Sorry for the major delay in posting. We had spotty wifi in Mumbai and when we got to Goa we found little to no access.
So we are in Goa now, but let’s back it up to Mumbai…
I was ready to break up with India on our way to Mumbai.
Six weeks of dodging cow dung, fighting crowds, and succumbing to a number of health ailments was breaking me down. We were both hitting a bit of a six-month travel wall and hitting it in India only magnified the exhaustion. We were missing modern luxuries like consistent hot water, fast internet, and a comfortable bed.
With that being said, I was happy to be flying from Udaipur to Mumbai as it is much more pleasurable than long train rides. But just like any country, there are ineffective systems that can drive you mad and when you are already aggravated, it’s enough to put you over the edge. This is how I felt after an insanely ineffective check-in and security check to get on an hour flight. We land late because of too much traffic at the airport but our taxi we arranged through our hotel was luckily still waiting for us. We get in the taxi and sit in more traffic. It takes an hour to get to our hotel area only to realize our taxi driver has no idea where our hotel is. He stops numerous times to ask people, eventually calls the hotel, but after an hour of circling, we are the ones that spot it. We guessed we’d get to the hotel by 8pm at the latest and it was now past 10pm.
We check in which is by far the most expensive hotel we’ve booked in India and not because we wanted to splurge, but because Mumbai is expensive with little to no budget lodging options. We’ve averaged around $25/night for most places and this place almost hits $60/night. We are hoping the $60/night gets us at least a hot shower, fast internet, and comfy bed, but instead we find a mediocre lukewarm shower, slow internet that only works in reception, and stained, dirty sheets. We’ve had it by this point and we were starving so we head out hoping something nearby is open. We go to the first place we see which is also a little pricey but we were desperate.
We are seated and we are suddenly suffering from modern shock. We haven’t sat in a proper restaurant with tablecloths and cloth napkins in who knows how long. It feels strange and comfortable at the same time. We go to town. Rick gets a beer, we share a pizza and salad and end up going all the way with dessert and espresso. They bring out the caesar salad and Rick exclaims, “IS THIS SHAVED PARMESAN CHEESE????”
I burst out laughing because it was like he had struck gold. It only goes to show the food depravity we had been feeling.
As expected, Mumbai proved to be much more modern than the other cities we’ve seen in India. We stayed on Marine Drive, which is lined with walkways and places to sit along the Arabian Sea. It’s actually a little reminiscent of Ocean Drive in my hometown of Long Beach, California. It is a place of congregation come sunset where many couples canoodle under the stars. Public displays of affection! We can finally hold hands in public again.
We took it pretty easy as we were really just counting down the days to the beach and were a bit day-tripped out. We did however make it to Elephanta Island, which is about an hour-long ferry trip out of India Gate…
The last two days, unbeknownst to us, Sachin Tendulkar (think David Beckham of cricket) was playing his final farewell games down the street from us. This is MAJOR in India. Our block was packed with news crews, fans, and roaring crowds. It was the talk of the town and here we were watching it from our window.
And then we were off... to the beach... finally.