A Travellerspoint blog

Arrival in Mumbai - Day 1

What a start...

sunny 33 °C
View Asia 2012 on ed_sou_asia2012's travel map.

4:30 AM was the time.
Very shitty and jet-lagged was the mood.
Incomprehension was the word.

We landed at Mumbai International Airport. Our shuttle to the hotel was supposed to be there. After half an hour of waiting and going around checking the boards with signs to find my name, I called the hostel (lucky for us, Sou already had an Indian cell phone). The guy wasn't there! After calls to the hotel and to the driver, I was finally able to get a place to meet our ride: pick-up number 5. I was still on the phone, I look left, I look right. I see “5” signs on each side. So here's the conversation that followed:
-Where is pick up number 5 ? I see two “5” signs!
-Yes yes ma'am...
-No where is it? I don't know which one!
-Yes yes ma'am...
-What is pick up number 5 ? Where is it?
-Yes yes ma'am...
-You don't understand, you can't answer “Yes'” to that question!
-Yes yes ma'am...
-What is pick up number 5 ? I see 2 places !
-Yes yes ma'am...

(And so on. I guess you got the point.)

And then we arrived at Sapphire Residency, our home away from home for the next few days.
Luckily for me, I learned that we should always see a room before we pay for it. So I asked to see it. I made a reservation for a room with twin beds. They show me a room with one double bed. Needless to say that, in the mood I was already in with the jet lag and the shuttle mess, I didn't keep all of my cool, but most of it, as I didn't have the energy to be more angry. So he offers me a private room. Not what I booked. Then he says I have to wait until 9:30 which was about 4 hours later. Again, I made him understand I wouldn't budge an inch on that. I had booked, on purpose, a room for the night of our arrival, even if we arrived at the end of the night or almost, to be sure to have a place to sleep as soon as we could make it to the city. Saying I was not a happy camper is an understatement! So the poor guy at the hotel at to find some staff to clean the room right away, and we were finally able to put our head on a pillow around 5:30 that morning. And in order to beat jet lag, we had already planned to be up by 1 PM. Argh.

We did wake up around 1 PM, cell phone alarm obliges, but I won't say it was easy. After getting decent – and hungrier – we got a driver to pick us up at the hostel to take us downtown Mumbai, at the Gateway to India. After 1 hour of riding in a crappy minivan and assessing the urgency of my need for a chiropractor – it was a pretty bumpy ride, with a most likely absent car suspension! - we got off. Here we where, right downtown Mumbai, one of the world's biggest city. And the only non-Indians to be found around there. Even within a few meters of a major tourist attraction. We got stared at. Some people even took picture of us thinking we didn't notice. And some people literally asked us to pose with them at the Gateway. We created a mini-commotion as more and more people showed up to pose and snap shots with us. At some point, when Sou started joking that we would have to charge them, it kind of stopped. We had a great dinner at the restaurant, a not so great desert in what seems to be the expats rally point, then we headed out for a cab. Again, not as easy as expected. We were nearly assaulted by children, around 6-7 years old, all wanting to find us a taxi, all asking us for money. One girl, particularly cute I have to admit, was after Sou, constantly repeating “Give me money. Give me silver. Give me gold.” and after crossing the streets and trying to walk faster, she just wouldn't let go!
At some point, she almost got run over by a car! (Yet this wasn't enough to convince her to leave us.)
We ended up finding a cabbie, and we went home. End of Day 1.

Posted by ed_sou_asia2012 13:26 Archived in India Comments (0)

10 DAYS !!!!!

♫ It's the final countdown... ♫

sunny 16 °C

[X] One way plane ticket to Mumbai
[X] Indian visa
[X] Indian money
[X] Passport & citizenship card
[X] Basic first aid kit for 2
[X] Hostel reservation for Mumbai & shuttle from the airprot
[X] Shots, travel prescription meds and other probiotics
[X] Backpack, day pack, small handbag and other everyday stuff
[X] Loading on contact lense solution
[X] 2 decent pairs of sneakers & 1 pair of Birkenstock sandals already broken into
[X] Sunscreen & mosquitoes repellent
[X] Hosts in Nerul (Goa), Jaipur & Udaipur (Rajasthan), Kolkata (West Bengal), Amritsar (Punjab) found on CouchSurfing
[X] Create our travel blog
[X] Create our travel Facebook page
[X] Set up my Mom on Skype and getting the rest of my family on my contact list
[X] Making an "end of the world" grocery for my Hubby
[X] Scheduling a haircut for Friday
[X] Scheduling the cleaning lady for Saturday afternoon
[X] Scheduling Souhere because she really wants me to help her pack
[X] Starting to threaten Souhere that if she's not "according to schedule", she's on her own!

(I always loved checklist...)

P.S.: I just created a new section to this blog, W.W.W.D (What Would Winkler Do ?)...
Should be full of funny moments... Here it is...

Posted by ed_sou_asia2012 08:21 Comments (1)

19 days !

(Ask us if we're excited !)

sunny 16 °C

After worrying about Sou's Indian visa (which we end up getting after a bit of struggle)...
After worrying about not having my rabies antibodies results in time...
After worrying on how i would be able to fit 2 pairs of sneakers in my backpack (I'd rather have less clothes and better shoes!)...

Here we are.
2½ weeks before we leave for India.

I watched Bollywood movies (I understood 2 words of Hindi in all the movies I watched, subtitles apart), our accommodations and CouchSurfing hosts are set up until October 25, I got all my malaria and other travel sickness medications ready, I had a chance to see both my parents and my hometown. Even hooked up my Mom on Skype!

I think we are ready. Couldn't hardly believe it when I wrote to our host in Goa (our first destination after arriving in Mumbai) "See you in 3½ weeks".

Last few things to do before I leave includes getting a haircut and our goodbye get-together party with our friends next Friday at the Mexican restaurant (because, like Cathryn said, eating Asian before going to Asia would be so wrong!) ... and also packing Sou's stuff on our last weekend. And packing my desk at work too.

I've been eating a truck load of typical Montreal smoked meat (don't forget: cows are sacred!), bacon, hamburgers... I cleaned the pantry and ate a lot of frozen food in order to leave room for Hubby's food "supply". (Call me Westerner, I admit, I love my smoked meat.)

Oh and this morning, I just brewed the most horrific pot of coffee in my whole life. A sign I should be on tea already? Who knows...

Posted by ed_sou_asia2012 11:40 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

45 DAYS!

(Where is Sou's visa?)

That is the most updated and current drama.
I (Edith) got my Indian Visa in 4 business days.
It's been 7 business days and no news about Sou's Visa...
I'm a bit worried, to be honest, even if I try not to show it to Sou.

In the meantime...

visa.jpg

Posted by ed_sou_asia2012 11:42 Comments (0)

60 days

(Or how to survive the last 2 months minus 2 days)

sunny 21 °C

Now that our shots & immunizations are complete and that all we are waiting for is the results from our Rabies bloodwork (which will most likely be all good), we only have 1 more major task to do: GET OUR (INDIAN) VISAS!

All the countries we'll be visiting (India, Nepal, Tibet province of China, Vietnam, Thailand) requires that we take care of that crucial formality. It shouldn't be an issue for any of the case, unless Tibet is closed to tourists, which happens sometimes, in which case we'll go to Malaysia instead.

Because we'll be tired, jet-lagged, and did I say tired, we are getting our Indian visa in advance, to accelerate our time spent in the airport once we arrive in the city (metropolis!) of Mumbai, after 15 hrs in the air. Also, I really can't guess what my capacity to chit-chat with an Indian custom official will be after so much time without sleep! I don't wanna take the chance...!

(Nepalese visa)
Nepal-visa.jpg

Posted by ed_sou_asia2012 07:18 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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