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5.2.14

India pt. 3: Wedding Crashing Mumbai, Getting to Goa

Hello Fellow Fish,


Mumbai

Mumbai

Spending such a short amount of time in Jaipur made for a quick turn around in our travel plans. Before we knew it we were on a train to Mumbai. About half way through, the train stopped in a small town for what was described to us as a 15 minute break; which wasn’t far fetched, being India, and given their general lack of regard for punctuality. Ariel had made a new friend on the train and this guy insisted on taking us to a sweets stand right outside the station. Innocent enough. As we walked through the station and across the street, the stand was quite literally just opposite of the station, but we weren’t the only ones with a sweet tooth at the time. While we were waiting in line, my “traveling clairvoyance” (read: paranoia) started to get the best of me. I didn’t know what, but something not chill was going to happen. So I insist that we go back to the train, but Ariel and Jeff stay in line determined to get their sweets. As I’m walking through the crowded concourse, the train starts pulling away, far short of the 15 minutes that were promised. People started frantically running towards the train, and for how big the trains are, they pick up speed fast. I'm in a dead sprint running along side the train and jumped in the first car I could catch up to which was about 10 cars back from the car with my stuff in it. Justin hadn’t left so when we met back up, we didn’t think the other two had made it. Thankfully, after about 20 minutes of them walking through the train they got back to our area.


Ariel, making new friends

Mumbai is definitely one of the more advanced cities in India. We walked around admiring and feeling comfortable surrounded by the more advanced western architecture and western amenities such as Starbucks. We had arranged to meet a couch surfing host when we arrived but were meeting later in the afternoon. So the morning was spent exploring some of the city. The downside being we still had all of our bags. We were approached to be extras in a Bollywood movie, which would have been cool but would have taken most of the day, and didn’t want to spend hours on a movie set.
The first thing we saw in Mumbai 

Vahishta

Traveling around for as long as we did, we came across a great many people. But very few stick out as memorably and fondly as Vahishta. It could be just because of the state we were in, or simply because of the person he is. Either way, Vahishta was the couchsurfing host everyone wants to get. He had just turned 30, quit his job as a writer for Rolling Stone and Lonely Planet to embark on an around the world journey of his own (www.vahishta.com). He was established and welcomed us to his home more than we could have ever even expected. Our days spent at his house were a perfect for respite and home hospitality. We spent one full day just playing Call of Duty, leaving only to get food and shaves. Most people reading this might be thinking, “why would you spend time playing video games in India? Shouldn’t you be traveling and seeing the sites?” To you I say yes. But when so much time is spent on the go, sleeping in strange places, doing new things everyday, and always being on the go there is a soothing sense of familiarity that comes with just taking a day to do something that you haven’t done in a very long time and enjoy a day to do nothing and be happy doing it.
Vahishta


Slummin’ Around and Weddin’ Crashin’

One day, Vahishta dropped us off in the city (Mumbai) and we spent a whole day just walking to different places. We found our way into a slum right on a body of water. We were winding our way through pitch black alley ways, even though it was high noon, passing peoples “homes” and eventually got spit out right on the water where people threw their trash. As we walked, we passed a group of dogs (rabid?) and they did not take kindly to our presence. It is possible they were protecting their young as well, but regardless they started barking, and the barking persisted until every dog in earshot was barking. We came face to face with a big group of them and legitimately ran away for fear of being chased and/or bitten.

Its common for men to hold hands in India

Back alleys
Snoozin'

That night we made our way across town to a more upscale area right on the beach. After picking up some brews, we are looking for trouble. Naturally, we go to the nicest place we can find, the 4 Seasons Hotel. The biggest building in the area. It is a very posh place and we find out there is a bar on the roof. We try to get in, but I was wearing shorts so they wouldn’t let me in. So we go to the pool/spa area and look for pants. Instead, we find apples, towels, water bottles, leftover bread, and a yoga room. We ate the leftover food, an entire chocolate mousse cake, and goofed off in the yoga room, but didn’t find any pants. I admit defeat and tell the others to go to the roof and I’d find my own way in. Once we split up, I am free to wander a bit more freely without drawing too much attention to myself. I stroll through the lobby, and into an employees only area and come across a service elevator. A couple floors up, a bell boy gets in with me and we ride up the remaining 35 floors in complete silence. When I get out, I ask which way to the bar, and he politely points me in the right direction. I find the others at a table and we sit and admire the view, not bothering to order anything because it was ridiculously expensive. After a while, the staff catches on and ask me to leave, which was fine because we were getting ready to go anyway. But on our way out, we found the stairs to the actual roof, up a wall mounted ladder and we were at the very top of the building looking out at Mumbai.


View from rooftop

View from rooftop

Clownin' around in the yoga room

 On our way back, we passed a strip with a number of big looking events. After some investigating, we find out that these are weddings going on. At least 3, right in a row. We stroll into the first one and are met with security that promptly saw to it that we left. Next door, we walk in and it was relatively small. Out on the terrace the reception was being held and the door we opened, put us right on the stage. Like that awkward moment in the movies, when the music stops, conversations cease, and babies start to cry, every eye turned when we walked in. So we bailed. The third one was big enough that we got in unnoticed. Although at first security followed us, but Jeff wisely faked a phone call and they left us alone. We proceed to chow down on all the food we could. Every world cuisine was represented. I don’t say that as an hyperbolic idiom. European, Asian, South American, everything. We were racing against the clock to catch the last train back to Vahishta’s house and just made it in time to be the jerks that were literally hanging out the side of a moving train.


Our remaining days in Mumbai were bittersweet as we were all planning our next moves separately. I had just gotten definitive word that I was going to be coaching football in Prague, Ariel was going to Israel, and the Fosters were going to Turkey. The prospect of splitting up after so much time was not an idea we wanted to think about. But luckily, we still had a few more weeks to be distracted from that reality as we made our way to Goa.

Goa

 Vahishta helped us navigate the slapdash bus arrangements to Goa. Ariel got puked on by a stranger, but other than that, we got to Goa without much trouble. Goa would prove to be a warm up for “chilling” hard…with… my bros. We did very little of anything in the quiet beach town except relax, read, and attended a silent disco. Pictures from Goa below:

A sunset 








The silent disco was all of our firsts and was a hysterical scene but a genius idea. There were two DJs, two channels on the headphones, and a bunch of people just dancing on a couple raised stages. Looking at the scene, you’d think it was a proper club with people dancing and having a blast. But take off your headphones and all you hear is a murmur, from the people who are chatting near that bar, soft grunting from all the dance moves being played out, and sporadic tone-deaf renditions of the songs being played in the headsets.

Silent Disco
The day after the silent disco, Jeff and Justin flew out to Chennai before going to the Andaman Islands. Ariel and I had one more day in Goa and were able to eat a proper vindloo curry dish. The night we were leaving, we didn’t take into account that the train was at 4am and there might be a lack of transportation to the station. We search fruitlessly for a rickshaw, until we decide that Ariel should go into a guesthouse, wake the owners and make them call us a cab. I stayed outside in case one drove by. The guy Ariel found did us one better and took us himself, for a not so small fee, but we had no other choice. To his credit, he got both of us on his motor bike with all of our bags and guitars! True to form, our train was 45 minutes late. But we were once again making our way to Mumbai to stay with Vahishta again before flying out to the Andaman Islands for our gang’s last hurrah.


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Until Next Time,

The Tunas


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