In the past, when traveling to a new place, Kev and I have splurged and opted for the extra fancy amenities. Now, mind you, besides a bed with (what we’re hoping are relatively) clean sheets, and a private toilet of some kind (you never know just how handy that might be!), every living situation we have truly ever stayed at is meager at best. BUT when we just arrive somewhere, we might opt for a room with A/C – just to get acclimated, you know?
Well, our arrival here was no different. We chose to go all-out, and with our rickety double bed, “clean” sheets and private bathroom, we went for the A/C. Great choice. Upon arriving in Mumbai at almost 11 pm it was 84 degrees. We’d be happy to have it.
After a rough night of sleep our first night due to myriad issues (incessant honking outside, torrential downpour thanks to the lovely monsoon season, dogs barking, overall jetlag, and various unfamiliar noises, we also had to struggle with our unbelievably loud air conditioner unit. When turned on, old man A/C was noticeably agitated having to work so hard to cool our tiny sweat-inducing room. Grumbling, moaning – coughing with frustration, hour after hour he bitched and moaned about being needed.
Yesterday turned out to be a pretty rough day on the streets as well for us. After waking up close to 1 pm, we finally ventured outside to exactly what we knew to expect, and worse. A simple task of finding me a suitable outfit to wear (after finding a place online just minutes from our guesthouse, securing GPS coordinates, and feeling fairly confident that we could find our destination just .1 miles away) took over 2 hours, with nothing to show for it. A trip to check out the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminu train station to learn how to purchase tickets to get South turned in to a comical 3-hour scavenger hunt to find various individuals responsible for the acquisition and approval of various applications by various people which were needed AFTER the purchase of our (quite expensive!) tickets (that we weren’t ready to even purchase).
“Please, sir. Yes, yes. Just go there and find Department Manager of Operations at the end of platform 1, CCM Building 2nd floor….yes, yes. You will find him.”
*On second floor at the end of platform 1…*
Us: “Namaste. CCM Building?”
“Oh no, sir. Not here. CCM building on 2nd floor! (then motions outside, beneath us and down the street) In ancient building. You will see.”
“You need to submit application for coupe.”
Us: “What type of application? We don’t have an application?”
*rips off giant hunk of random scrap paper*
“This is your application, sir. Write these things and give application in box. Does not need to be formal…”
3 hours of this craziness and more. This, along with cows, limping dogs, scrawls of families, bright colors, dim lights, blaring Bollywood music, dirt, garbage and monsoon rains in open air train terminal. On some level, all stuff we have seen traveling before – but yet so. so. different.
6,000 questions later, 300 wrong places visited, and our application finally submitted – we left on the verge of tears coupled with crazed, maniacal laughter. It was exhausting and frustrating and hilarious at the same time. Again, exactly as we expected, yet worse.
Needless to say, I was really looking forward to getting back and having a rock-solid night of sleep. If there’s anything I know about myself, sleep is paramount to a successful day for me. So we crawl into bed and within minutes, I’m wiping off the slime that has accrued all over my face. With old man A/C turned on, we attempt to ignore his grumbles without avail. On and off. Off and on. Beady sweat, face slime, on. Grumble, grumble BITCH, off. All. night. long.
So, now, here I am, awake – writing and reflecting on our last 24 hours at 6 am, when sleep is what I want most. Old man A/C, you win. I suppose though, this has given me a chance to nail down more specifics about our day…
On the docket today are the following tasks:
1) Purchase salwaar kameez to wear
2) Check out Fort (our current “neighborhood) and visit Eros theatre to watch Bollywood film with new friends
3) Head to Girgaum Chowpatty to watch sunset, and witness dunking of Lord Ganesh idols into Arabian Sea to end Ganesh’s Birthday celebration
Sounds feasible (and pretty fun), right?
Here’s to another (in the words of our new British friends) MENTAL day!