Ashley Zoch

Saturday, October 08, 2005

My Friend, where you from friend?

There was some though Ash may be making up some of the blogs, so I have been asked to verify the stories - Matt Knight

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go - I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again. Actually that is a lie, I'll be back on the 18th Oct..... but it's a good start.

Traveling with Ash to India. There was a third to our party but due to illness 1 day before going, all plans changed and he had to cancel. Lets start at the beginning of this adventure.... and yes, it will be an adventure.

Packed the bag and drove from Bendigo to Melbourne on the Wednesday afternoon after calling Ash to confirm we had visas. I was a little excited about the trip and have great expectations of things to come. We flew with Singapore Airlines, which are the best airline I have flown with. Good seats, plenty of meals and on demand videos.

The only problem with the flight was that I was stuck behind a man that had the seat fully reclined all the way. This was merely an inconvenience rather than an annoyance.

Flights include a four hour stop over at Singapore where I managed to pick up a video camera. Got into Mumbai at about 11pm, then waited for 20mins for the bags to arrive. The hotel we are staying at sent a guy to pick us up, and we really struggled to understand what he was saying. We got to the hotel after a few detours around midnight and then had a quite ale (kingfisher beer) before retiring to our rooms.

My room was not what is shown on the website. I may attempt to compare what they have displayed with a few photos I have taken. The room was dirty, but it is a bed and somewhere to sleep.

We went to the Gates of India along with Elephanta Caves yesterday. We started out by catching the train from Khar Road to Churgate station. The train system has first class, economy with men's and ladies carriages. There is no difference between first class and economy except the price - everyone jumps onboard and pushes like a rugby scrum, with the guys guys trying to get off doing the same. There are no doors on the trains so there are also a number of people hanging on to the sides.

After negotiating the trains, we then walked a little way before getting to the gates of India. Here we met our Indian Tourism Delegates (beggars) who range from 3 yr old kids to 80 yr old men and women. They didn't brake into any Bollywood style dancing and therefore did not see any money from us.

There are hundreds of street peddlers trying to flog off a range of items nobody wants. We must seem like an easy mark as we seemed to cop a very high number - Might be due to the white guys in shorts and tee shirts with the back packs on....

Anyway, we got to the Gates of Mumbai which is a tall arch. It is interesting without being exciting. After viewing this we then sat down for a moment and were approached by some girls to take a photo. Ash and I assumed it was another scam but they wanted to have their photo taken with us. We obliged for a few happy snaps and they were on their way.

We got a couple of deluxe boat tickets to Elephanta Caves, which again is the same as normal ticket.... and had a gander. We hired a guide to take us through the caves, which was very interesting, and took numerous photos. Plenty of monkeys to see on the island also.

The tour took about 4 hours including the boat trip there and back and then we had some dinner. We had Thai food in India.... got the train back to our station, although we were worried we may miss our stop as pushing our way through the crowd was going to be hard. But alas, we got off and walked back to the hotel, had a quite drink and an early night.

If you have ever been to Fiji, Mumbai is similar to Suva - big and dirty....


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