26.03.2006 32 °C
Let me take some of your time and tell you all about my holiday!! hohoho... as you may well have deduced i am in goa which is rather nice if a little full of pink bodied brits of which i suppose I am one.. ho hum! Anyway we're leaving here in about 4 hours for a place called Hampi, so it'll be bye bye to all those wannabe Hippies fresh out of public school! Dear lord how I hate hippies! Anyway so much to tell so if your seated comfortably then i'll begin...
Twas with a heavy heart that my lady love (referred to herein as her/she or maybe Jen if I'm feeling nice) and I departed a magnificently overcast Britain (herein refered to as the Motherland or Gros Brittania).. there were many tears and much fluttering of hankerchiefs as we stepped into the immigration queue where we proceeded to remain as good as stationary for about 15mins whilst our families tried to look sad to see us go and concerned for our safety which after 10 mins or so was starting to look more like concern for the price of the carpark if things were to continue in the same way, fortunately clearly the securtiy personnel changed shifts and we were ushered though by glorified Alton Towers attendants.. still I digress, onwards with my intrepid tale..
WE flew out on a Virgin aeroplane.. bad films but there you go.. arrival in Mumbai was splendid, they have some work to do to their airport and the one construction person we saw at work looked like he may have a job for life (possibly engineered by himself as he replaced marble tiles in the arrivals lounge with more marble tiles one might suggest cleaning them instead but no need to be a spoil sport on the first day!). We managed to enter the country fairly succesfully and achieved our first goal of obtaining a taxi to take us to Colaba.. a 20km drive but more than 2 hours by toy taxi. Let me just explain what I mean by toy taxi, it is now apparent that the designers of noddy's car got a fairly comfy job supplying the Bombay taxi drivers (about 3/4 of the population by the looks of things... so about 12 million then.. hmmm that seems about right) with rediculous vehicles about the size of a ford ka but shaped like a traditional car, they are i am informed fiats from the 50's and they are crrrrap! Anyway about the taxi.. driven by a mute and possibly blind lunatic (probably saved us 15mins then), he didnt say a word all trip and when i gave him a tip at the end, he looked at the 20 rupees i proffered as if i had just deffecated on my hand and asked if he'd like a taste! Unsurprisingly he eventually took it and then spat some red stuff on the pavement.. i think its an indiginous symbol of thanks (except when he does it on your shoes maybe).
So we arrived at the overpriced hotel I had booked from home, it was nice enough i suppose and was in a quiet road which actualy is probably the most valuable thing to have in Bombay, so after passing out for a few hours as one might expect one too after being cooked alive in 35 degree heat whilst simlutaneously experiencing near death at 60 mphs in a tin can time and time again.. we set off to explore bombay.
mental is one of few words that sums up the city.. people everywhere and al of them engaged in some form of activity be it begging or selling enormous ballons (and i mean enormous.. man sized ballons 6ft tall), very bizarre. what most fascinated us was the fact that it didnt matter if you were the most unlikely man in the whole of India to want a full set of plastic fighting spinny things, they would at least attempt some form of sales pitch.. however i am the sort of man who wants a full set of fighting spiny things and was within a hairs breadth of obtaining them for some ungodly sum of rupees when the other half stepped in, slapped me about abit and scared off the little urchin doing the selling.. clearly i was under some sort of jedi mind trickery these salesmen employ.. sadly i have to confirm i fell for those same mind tricks some days later but more of that later.. anyway we saw the sights that the lonely planet recommended, all of which were pretty amazing espeacially the gateway of India which conjured up in me my colonial heritage and almost had me singing rule brittania at the top of my voice!! again relaity being what is, I stopped my self and instead did what any stranger from a foreign land would do and took a picture instead! That evening we met with a guy named Bryce who i had been put in contact witth by a friend form Old Mutual.. Bryce was out there working for a partially owned OM (yes yes I know tis sad to abbreviate ones ex place of work but there you go, a company man I am) subsid... Bryce is an absolute legend who not only took us out for drinks that evening and for some of the best butter chicken I've ever had but also gave us the use of his driver Martin otherwise known as "Number 8" as in the 8th wonder of the world for his huuge knowledge (some of which maybe fictional) of all things Mumbai and beyond.. i smelled bullshit when he tried to convince us that Fujifilm was a german brand, apparantly when Martin starts a sentence with "well actually.." he may well be talking out of an orifice other than his mouth!! That said he was amazingly informative and without him and his skillfull driving we certainly would not have seen so much... highlights were seeing the Bollywood stars homes, just a tad different from Hollywood maybe!! Certainly it was a luxury to have the use of an a/c 4x4 to geta round in instead of the toy car taxis... It has to be said that Bryce went above and beyond for us, not only doing all of the above but also inviting us for dinner at his appartment byut also booking bus tickets to goa etc... So raise a glass to Bryce! Of the many other sights we saw Chor bazaar also deserves a mention.. also known as the thieves market anything you can think of that you would not expect to find in India can be found there.. tin toys form the 20's and ancient cameras among other antiques such as gramophones are everywhere and it was in one of these funny little curio shops that I bought what can only be described as a piece of crap... My weakness for tat let me down big time and Jen was powerless to stop it.. I was buzzing around the camera sellers as they all had these cool old cameras like the ones they used to take your achool picture with, the longer bendy concertina jobby with a big glass lenses on the end.. amazin! there were it should be said some very nice ones there bound to be worth a few quid in england but being the tight arse that i am, there was no way i was spending 25 squid in India on an old camera, so instead I managed to plump for a 1960's German compact camera with a foldy snout bit like i wanted, but that didnt work and and has the appeal in hind sight of congealed bird shit! still it only cost me 7 squid (it still hurts to say it) so let by gones be by gones, still it haunts me the look of glee in the sellers eye as he pocketed my 500 rupees.. ah well lets put it down to experience!
Enough aready I hear you say.. well ok then, we left Bombay that same day on a luxury sleeper bus which was surprisingly quite luxury.. National express could learn a thing or too.. however the inflight entertainment was a little trying, Bollywood anyone.. classic stunts though and lots of posing and a bit of song and dance so all good! anyway we made it about 14 hrs later to sme back water of Goa and transferred on to a bus to take us to this idyllic little beach called Palolem,, a jolly nice beach with charming little beach huts! however there is one problem it is stuff full of hippies and not free love ones, i'm talking about "i'll just call daddy on my mobile whilst you get some herbal tea and incense" type hippies, fresh out of Marlbrough and the like.. toads all of them!! still there you go thats Goa and you cant exect much else.. on the plus side its cheap.. about 30 p a beer and and about 60p for a big bottle so thats always good.. hmmm and thats about it I have been pursued by thou8sands of tiny little crabs on the beach and Jen has been harrased by locals so I'd say we've ticked most boxes for Goa, there are some other places i'd like to see here but time being what it is i fear we will not see them! Ok then peeps thats about it from me think i've written quite a lot i hope its not all nonsense..
ahh wait i havent told you about the plastic towel i bought.. wel thats about it.. it was a plastic towel and therefore about as useful as a chocolate teapot! A plastic towel! give me a break.. only in India.. take care untill next time!