When I first imagined this blog, it was going to be a place where I could document my travels in India earlier this year – a way to share stories and updates with family and friends. But then life got in the way, the concept never felt right, the effort too difficult. Now that I’ve caught my breath, it didn’t make sense to go back; to tell stories of travels from months ago. Of course, that’s how I approach life. Learn from and appreciate the past, but focus on the present, the future. Undoubtedly, there will be so many travels to tell in real time. Why backtrack?
This blog has been live for only a few days, and I’m not only heartened by how many people have visited, I’m struck by how many go straight to the (pitifully devoid) travel page. And so I’m opening my journal in an (edited) attempt to backtrack with the spirit of being present in the moment. There’s a lot, so it will come in installments.
December 31, 2010
Arrived in Mumbai at 11am after a nine hour flight from London on Kingfisher. The hour long black taxi ride from the airport to the Trident Nariman Point met expectations of chaos, noise, and near death experience, but didn’t scare me too often. The view out the window was revealing – through shanty towns and markets, high rises and financial centers. People working, raising families, and hanging out on the “shoulder” of the road. After a shower and nap, I finally willed myself to explore the hotel and then was inspired to wander outside. Did a loop up to Veer Nariman Road and back along Marine Drive. At midnight, Colaba burst into firework celebrations – great view from my 30th floor windows. Happy New Year!
January 1, 2011
Walked to Colaba and the Gateway of India. Immediately targeted by a little girl with a flower bracelet “as a gift, ma’am.” [I insisted that I had no change – true – and ultimately had to give up a coveted granola bar in exchange.] Crowds were overwhelming. Got lost several times. Some of the old buildings are fascinating, but otherwise not impressed with Mumbai.
January 2, 2011
If I had a theme for Mumbai, it would be “lost.” My train to Goa left at 6:55am so I was out early and not sad to be moving on to what I hope to find in India. The first class train was comfortable enough, but I almost wish I’d been in the second class car for the views. With the air conditioning the windows frosted and I couldn’t see much. The total trip was almost 12 hours to Panaji, Goa. Caught a motor rickshaw to the Mayfair Hotel. It’s just ok, but cheap and a good enough place to explore town.
Highlights of the day: navigating my first Indian train trip and Goan rickshaw seamlessly; rs 10 samosas (approx. 25 cents). Lowlight: punishing myself with a cheap Panaji hotel (due to disappointing 5 star Mumbai accommodations).
More of my India diaries: