Goodbye Mumbai - Our first mini adventure
30 Dec 2006
Lucy had a few issues with her website yesterday and lost everything she wrote so we are back in an internet cafe again today. However that does give me a chance to tell you about all the fun we were having last night. (The letters have worn off the keys on the computer i'm using so apologies if some of the words are wrong).
After I emailed last night we managed to find all the westoners in a restaurant. Where we bravely tried the local curry. Lucy ordered Chicken Tika, mushroom rice and garlic naan, the waiter thought I was crazy when I tried to order mine amd was insisting we had ordered more than enough for two. I still ordered my curry (a bargin at 1 pound). Not suprisingly we only made it half way through all the food and the waitor laughed at us. Not eating everything is quite normal in the UK but I did feel really guilty for wasting food afrerwards with all the beggers and families living on roadsides. On the jorney back to the train station a woman came up to the car and was begging for just 5 rupees (about 7p). I did feel very mean for ignoring her. Quite glad to be away from all that now.
When we got back to the train station it was rammed full of people. Luckily we managed to find the first class lounge. I've always wanted to be allowed in one of those! It was practically empty with comfy chairs, private toilets, TV and a giant mouse. I thought the mouse was really cute. Lucy, whose had no rabies vaccines, was less impressed.
Our train was at 11pm and at 10:30pm we decided to try and find our platform. We were slightly confused that our tickets said platform 15 and we could only see 4. When we finally tracked down someone to help we were dismayed to find out we were at the wrong station. The train only leaves twice a day and you need to book days in advance to avoid cattle class. We hurried out of the station and jumped in the first taxi. The drivers mate had obviously noted are concerned faces and took advantage charging us 400 ruppes (more than twice the right price at 5pounds) to get the station which was 20 min away. He promised to get us there on time. The following 20 minute rollercoaster ride was funny in retrospect but pretty dangrous! We raced off at well over the speed limit with the drivers mate sat in the front shouting 'quick quick' at the driver and banging the side of the car. We narrowly avoided several collisions and shot through all red lights, the most frightening of which was at a cross roads. Now these made us nervous anyway, 6 lanes of traffic from each direction with no obvious road markings, but shooting accross one on a red light was something else. We made it with 5 min to spare and ran to the platform. We were sooooo releived to make it on time but slowly started to realise why the taxi driver had been laughing so much as we waited 20 min for the train to turn up which then didn't leave the station for 2hrs!
The train carrige reminded me of prison (not that i've been there). There was a long row of 64 metal bunk beds in groups of 8 with thin padding, bars (to stop you rolling out) and standard issue itchy blankets. I didn't sleep very well but really enjoyed standing at the door this morning watching the hot countryside roll past. Opening a train door while it's going full speed seems very wrong and goes against everything they teach you at school but when in Rome etc.
We are in Goa now and it's hot and beautiful. Our room is only 2 min from the beach. We're going out for cocktails tonight to celebrate the start of our holiday and find somewhere to party tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone whose sent me an email, it's nice to hear from you. My phone works out here so feel free to text but I can't pick up voicemails.
Hope you all have a great new year!