Continued from Udaipur Day 2.
Got up this morning and packed my stuff. I’ve got to check out by 10 and my flight/train from Udaipur to Mumbai is not until 7:55 or 9:35 tonight, respectively. Originally, I had only a train ticket out of Udaipur to Mumbai, but traveling alone is starting to wear me down. I’ve spent countless hours just by myself, against all of India that is seemingly out to cheat me, and it’s getting pretty lonely. When I’ve got hours with nothing to do, and potentially no one else to talk to, the loneliness and the stress of traveling alone adds up. The overnight train ride is in 2nd Class AC and it’s for 17 long hours. Fuck that!
I booked a semi last minute flight with Jet Airways on my last day in Jodhpur for Udaipur to Mumbai. It was only for $80 something dollars and will put me into Mumbai a day early, which is a good thing because I am pretty Udaipured out. The drawback being that I’ll be spending an extra night of hotel cost in Mumbai plus the price of the plane ticket. The train ticket I will cancel last minute once I get confirmation that the flight is a go, and get a partial refund.
Took a walk around the neighborhood down to the ghats that leads to the water. Women were doing laundry on one side, and the men were showering on the other side. When do the women shower? I never seem to see them shower. Not only do the women not shit(and it smells like roses), but the women also never smell because they never seem to need to take showers.
My friend SW told me to eat at this place. She was in Udaipur just a few days before me. I couldn’t find the place online, but I just randomly ran into it today. Too bad I just ate and I am already full.
There’s an obstacle preventing me from reaching Dream Heaven. There is unidentified water pouring out from the top of the building to the right and it’s just continuously raining all over the street. Is that poop water? Sewer water? Piss water? I know it’s not clean water, because no water is clean in India. Sigh. I had to brave the risk of infections and hurried across the toxic rain.
This was the cause of the traffic jam. These girls, I am assuming wealthy since they had uniforms on, were getting out of school and some of their parents are here to pick them up. But, it seems like most of the men around are just ogling at the young girls and causing a traffic jam.
This is outside of the temple though, so I’ll go crazy on the shutter…Actually, no. The temple was pretty small and kind of boring. The stone carving on the outside is the highlight and that’s about it.
Other cities in India needs to hire Udaipur’s tourism marketing department. Udaipur has put up a pretty good spin on a middle of the road sightseeing city.
Back at the ticket counter at The City Palace. I am going to take a boat ride on the lake and it’ll make a stop at Jag Mandir, the other palace on the lake other than the Lake Palace. I know, a little confusing.
The ticket for the boat ride is a pricy 300INR. Then on top of that, I also had to pay an extra 25 just to walk through The City Palace complex to the boat ramp. What a rip.
I gave the guy behind the counter 400, and he gave me back 70. I stood there, waited, looked down at my change, looked at him, looked down at my change, looked at him, and this went on for about 5 seconds. He decided to look at the next person in line. Then I spoke up and said that he owes me 5. He still didn’t pay attention to me, so I spoke yet again that he still owes me 5. The person in line behind me spoke to him in Hindi and then hesitantly, the fuck face behind the counter(who, by the way, speaks English) picks up the 5INR coins that were already on his desk and shoves it past the hole in the window. Even this guy is trying to cheat me out of 5 rupees. This has happened repeatedly all over India, and shit like this really rubs me the wrong way. At least when I am bribing someone, I get something back in return. This is just someone trying to fuck me over out of my 5 fucking rupees.
A piece of red clothe wrapped in Saran wrap to protect your face against this head level tree trunk. So, was the tree already head when they built the walkway? If so, why put the walkway here? If the walkway was here first, why didn’t they just cut down the small tree, or manipulate the growth of the small tree so it won’t literally make every single person walking by duck down? Only in India.
Hey, look, ecofriendly lawnmower! You just need a off the shelf motor with what looks to be a painted metal can covering it. Most importantly, you need another peon to hold the electrical cord for you.
I am definitely no fashionista, but I could not stand the outfit of the guy with the red pants. Something and everything is wrong and repulses me. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Their Indian guide also speak fluent Chinese, which is always weird for me to hear.
I was done with this place in under 10 minutes. It was getting pretty hot, and I didn’t feel like being overcharged for a drink. I took my photos and went to sit down to wait for a boat. The boat leaves from Jag Mandir every 20 minutes.
Saw this cart with all the Indian cookies on the way back to my hotel. I finally broke down and decided to try one. I tried to speak to the vendor guy and asked him how much it was for one. He said something to me in Hindi. I picked up one piece, and asked him again how much. He said something else to me in Hindi. He did not speak a single word of English. I reached in my pocket with my other hand and pulled out 5 rupees worth of coins. Two 2s and one 1. These were the coins that the fuck face from earlier tried to deny me.
I opened my hand with all the coins in my palm and asked him again how much while holding just one cookie with my other hand. The vendor went through the coins in my hand, picked out the 1 rupee coin, nodded and smiled at me. Amazing! He could have easily taken a 2 rupee coin, but he didn’t want to take advantage of me. I gave him a big fucking smile, said thanks, and walked on.
I tried going to a restaurant near by my hotel that advertises showing Octopussy on a projection TV. Unfortunately, the projection screen sits under the sun, and it’s only viewable during the night time. I guess Octopussy in Udaipur just isn’t meant to be for me.
After an hour or two of just me being here, another guy came in. He and I struck up a conversation, and he’s traveled here with his girlfriend. They are Austrian wedding photographers, living in Munich, and shot an India wedding here in India. They decided to spend some extra time here in India to sight see. We had some interesting conversations.
We talked about traveling, like all travelers do. He mentioned to me that he could never travel alone because there are so many things that needs to be shared when traveling. You see something cool, something funny, something amazing, something sad, and that moment, you need to tell someone, and share. “Hey, did you see that?!!!” When you don’t have someone to share with at that instant, the magic of that moment gets robbed from you. No one else is able to reminisce that special moment with you, ever.
No one to share with means you are the sole keeper of that colorful memory. And the colors of that colorful memory will just fade away with time. Having someone to reminisce with enables you to recolor in those vivid colors and keep them as bright as ever. Sometimes, even brighter than the original.
I know the fading colors of memory all too well. I think it’s one of the many reasons why I have this travel blog and choose to share it. It’s my way of trying to capture those moments as much as possible. It’s my way of standing by the tree falling in the forest, with a camera in my hand, taking photos as it goes down, and sharing it with everyone. I would caption beneath, “Yes, it does make a sound. I was there, I heard it.”(Catch 22, because I was there, so there was someone around)
We talked about Oktoberfest since it’s held in Munich. I told them that I had 6 liters of beer last year when I participated. The guy said that his record is 13 liters. I am pretty sure that would be alcohol poisoning for me. They(the girlfriend had joined us by this time) also mentioned that last year’s Oktoberfest was awesome because they had the best weather that they’ve had in years. So, last year’s Oktoberfest set the record for the second most ever in attendance.
Then we talked about their profession. They are in the wedding industry, the industry of love. They shoot weddings day in and day out so they’ve seen it all, repeatedly. We discussed Indian arranged marriages. They had shot the after marriage photo, about a year and a half after, of this Indian couple who had an arranged marriage. They could tell the wife was miserable. The wife even said so that she was miserable. She got her master’s degree and now all she does is cook and clean for the husband’s family. She’s basically a maid and a cook. She does not love her husband. The husband seems to love her though. It sounded like hell on earth for that young woman.
Then we talked about all weddings in general. Of all the weddings that they’ve shot, they both independently answered that only about 70% of the couples seem to be in love. 30% of the couples who get married should not even be at the altar because one or both sides simply don’t even want to be with the other person. Some reason, they still go through with their marriages. This seems so illogical that it would make sense that it should/would never happen. Well, it does, all the time. Ask me how I know.
All the talk of beer and all the doomed marriages got us in a drinking mood. Time for beer! I had to finish my drink quickly because it was time for me to go. Good people, good conversations! I also cancelled my train ticket right before I left because my flight is still scheduled to depart. I am so grateful that I will not be stuck in a train for 17 hours.
Finally ready to board. The plane pulls up, but does not use a built-in gangway. You can see the plane on the right side, right under the gangway. Everyone is in line to get on the bus, which you can see right under the gangway on the left hand side of the photo. Yup, everyone squeezes into the bus so that the bus can drive for 10 seconds to the airplane. Hahaha!
The bus filled up and drove 10 seconds away to the airplane and here it is making round two. After the bus left, all the passengers just decided to walk to the airplane instead. Some of the first passengers on the bus actually got on the plane much later than the people who decided to just walk after the bus filled up. Only in India.
Waited in line. A older short gentleman cut me in line literally at the last moment. Fuckers! When he finished buying his ticket, and tried to walk past me, it wasn’t my fault that my big ass backpack on my back got in his way and gave him a ‘bump’…
I went to the counter, paid for my prepaid taxi. I was due 65 in change. I got 60 back. Not this shit again. I am just going to copy and paste what happened earlier today, because it went down almost exactly the same way with only one minor difference.
I stood there, waited, looked down at my change, looked at him, looked down at my change, looked at him, and this went on for about 5 seconds. He decided to look at the next person in line. Then I spoke up and said that he owes me 5. He still didn’t pay attention to me, so I spoke yet again that he still owes me 5. The person in line behind me spoke to him in Hindi and then hesitantly, the fuck face behind the counter(who, by the way, speaks English) asked the staff next to him for a 5 and finally gave it to me.
I don’t know where the prepaid taxis are outside, and after what just went down, I couldn’t possibly ask the fuck face to tell me where I can find my prepaid taxi. Ugh!
Then a group of overtly helpful Indian guys approached me and asked if I was looking for a prepaid taxi. Yes, I was. They told me to follow them, and my body happily followed them like a dog while my mind was telling me to stop. We walked, and eventually reached a handrail that they told me to cross under because it would be the short cut. My body didn’t want to bend down under the rails with my heavy backpack, and all of a sudden, it was agreeing with my mind. They are trying to cheat and fuck me. I turned around, ignored those guys, asked a Westerner guy just standing around if he could point me to a prepaid taxi. He said that they are the blue painted cars. I knew it! I walked away, and as I did that, I looked back at those people who were trying to usher me into their car. They looked a little disappointed.
What would they have done if I had gotten into their car. I had a prepaid ticket that I would hand over to the taxi driver after arriving at my destination. Would they have taken that ticket and could they have actually redeemed it for money? Or did they have a more evil scheme planned out for me? Were they going to take me somewhere and demand for me to pay them for the ride in cash? I have no clue, and I don’t want to find out. I tend to think that they wouldn’t do me any bodily harm, but just harm on my wallet. Again, who knows.
All this time in India, and I still trip up on these simple scams. In India, anybody who approaches you out of the blue and offers to help you is trying to screw you over. Period. The US has conditioned me to be trusting of friendly helpful people.
Eventually, I did find the line for all the prepaid cabs. The signage sucks, I think someone got bribed to create shitty signage so unknowing tourists will get screwed over.
First thought about driving in Mumbai is that it’s very normal. People are more or less in their own lanes, horns aren’t constantly going off, and there isn’t a billion rickshaws trying to squeeze by everything. It’s so normal that I could probably drive in this city without too much trouble. I feel like I am back in civilization. The streets are also very clean. This feels like a regular city, like so many others I’ve visited around the world.
Yup, we just ran a red light. Everyone runs the red lights without slowing down. It’s almost like the drivers on the smaller side streets know to yield to the main road because everyone runs the red lights. At least at night, not sure if driving behavior will change during the day.
I had booked an AC Taxi. The speedometer in my taxi oscillates all over the place. The check engine light is continuously on. The low fuel warning is on, but I have a feeling that it’s just broken. Despite all that, the AC does indeed work.
40 minutes later, I’ve reached my hotel. In order to get here, my driver must have made 20 different turns down random city streets. Odd how it took such a convoluted way to get to the main business district of the city.
This is what $162 a night gets you in Mumbai, a five star hotel. Well, actually, it’s more like $182 because it’s $20 a day for internet, which is robbery. The internet alone is more expensive than what I paid to stay in my guesthouse in Varanasi. And there, I got to see a floating corpse! Can Mumbai top that? The internet, however, is fast and glorious.
I saw this, and I thought about how staying here was money well spent. I was so extremely happy when I saw this little tag. I may even have done a victory dance. The hotel must have their own water filtration and treatment system, because the normal tap water in Mumbai is not safe to drink.
I’ve been brushing my teeth with bottled water for close to three weeks. I’ve been taking showers knowing that particles of shit is just splashing all over me. Well, while I am in Mumbai, I am going to take showers with my eyes and mouth wide open, just because I can. I am going to drink out of the faucet, just because I can. I am going to brush my teeth, rinse and swallow, just because I can….well, maybe not that. It’s so comforting to finally not be fearful of splashes of water getting me sick. India taught me not to take clean water for granted.
$9. This the price of civilization. My server pours me this beer, and walks away. I took a quick sip, and as I did that, my server came back. He asks me if the beer was flat. I said yes. How did he know? He poured the beer, and saw that there was no head. Kingfisher and their shitty quality control.
Late, tired, but extremely excited about drinking tap water. Time to sleep.
To be continued at Mumbai Day 1.