Manchester to Mumbai 1


The first few days.

Its currently 3.30am here, Liam is snoring his head off and I can’t sleep due to the malaria tablets so I figured Ill kill some time doing this, easier way to keep everyone updated.

I have this yellow wristband on, it’s meant to keep mosquitoes away, I woke up this morning to a mosquito just chilling out on the wristband, clearly one of poundlands finest products there.  It smells like a KFC clean up wipe though and I’m quite fond of the citrusy lemon clean smell so I think I’ll keep it on even if it doesn’t work.

Anyways, lets begin.

The trip began at Manchester airport, all our mates came to see is off which was nice, not as many tears as I wanted like but still lovely of them.  Once we were checked in and had said our goodbyes we decided to get a bottle of champagne to toast the start of the trip, we drank it next to the kids play area and swore our heads off, probably damaged some kids but fuck them.

Everything went smoothly with the flight and we were on and ready to go. We flew Turkish airlines, they seem to get a lot of shit but they were genuinely a good airline, just all the female air hostesses seem right aggressive. Our first flight was to Istanbul, I think it was 4 hours long, can’t remember though as I had a little nap.  Due to the Malaria tablets I’m on they give you shit loads of side effects, one of them being insomnia, so the last three days before the flight I had slept a total of 5 hours, not at all what I want from life considering how much I love sleep, so yeah any nap is welcome.

We had a few hours stay in Istanbul so we decided to get a pint in.  Paul went missing for an hour while he helped this Iraqi guy find his gate, he’s nice like that.  I said I’d get the round in which averaged out at like 8 quid a pint! So I regretted that gesture. In Turkey it seems everyone was attractive, but they were all also dead rude and aggressive, maybe that’s a side effect of being ridiculously good looking, I’m not sure though as I wouldn’t say I’m a rude and aggressive person.

Everything went smoothly again and we were on our next flight from Istanbul to Mumbai, the second plane was well nicer and had this touch screen computer thing on the back of everyones seat.  It was shit hot, it had like 200 films, all decent ones too, and classics such as space jam and titanic depending how you’re feeling. I opted for mission impossible 2, it bored me.  There was also this feature where you can phone other peoples seats, why they thought that was a good idea  I don’t know, my film was getting interrupted every five minutes by some cunt called Liam Farrell in 19G constantly keep calling me.

We got a meal on the flight, It was supposed to be either a chicken dish or some vegetarian Indian option, according to my air hostess I had no say in what I wanted and got given the Indian vegetarian option, it was actually really nice, although I couldn’t make out what any of it was and it was quite spicy, this become a trend for everything I ate.

I decided to force a poo out on the plane figuring it could be my lost solid clean poo for a while, after hearing horror stories about Indian toilets.

I watched a few episodes of how I met your mother on the plane and had a nap and that was pretty much the flight. I kept ste awake, and most of the plane, with my snoring apparently which I guess I feel a bit bad about.

The guy sat in front of Liam had somehow managed to break his seat so that he could literally be led on Liam, I approved of this.

We landed in Mumbai at about 4.30am local time. Once through customs and shit I got 40 quid changed over to rupees think I got about 3500 rupees. So about 100 rupees equals £1.20.

At the baggage collection there was genuinely about 50 people collecting Samsung flat screen TVs, I’ve no idea what was going on with that but it looked weird.




We were due to stay in Mumbai till 11pm the next day so we decided to go find some place to stay in central Mumbai till then as we were pretty tired. Paul managed to find some place and got us a taxi sorted.  All feelings of tiredness went as soon as I was in the taxi, it was genuinely one of the scariest experiences of my life, funny but shit scary. We were basically in this bread bin on wheels with some guy who clearly had a death wish driving.  The general rule is you honk your horn and then drive as close as you can to the car next to you until one of you chickens out.  Junctions have no rules; you drive out honking and holding your breath. Traffic lights seem to mean fuck all as well.  It was like a 30 minute drive to the hostel.  We drove through some of the slums which were horrible, loads of kids asleep on side of the streets, people washing in dirty puddles and stuff. Was a bit sad really. Never seen poverty like it. Although the little huts did have satellite dishes which was odd.

Once we got to the hostel Paul negotiated with the guy to let us stay for the day, it came to 200 rupees / £2.40?

It was a Salvation Army hostel and being Sunday they had a bit of a mass going on in the dining room, the boss man asked us to wait for mass to finish then he would show us his room.  Mass was about 5 Indian men stood round a table singing hymns and saying prayers.  Ste found it appropriate to clap at the end of one of the hymns; it was quite a catchy hymn to be fair though.

 

We got lead up to our room; it was a smallish room full of about 8 bunk beds. 2 of the mattresses had huge shit stains on. None of us decided to sleep on those mattresses.

We had a few hours kip and then decided to go for a walk round Mumbai to kill some time.  We bought some water from one of the guys working in the hostel.  He looked just like a 10 year old who had stuck a moustache on his face, it was really odd, I spent way too much time staring at him trying to figure out his age.

 

We went to this tourist destination called the gate of india, it’s this huge building built on the coast to commemorate the arrival of some British king hundreds of years ago, I’m a bit shit at remembering things.  It was wild, there were thousands of people there but we were the only white people there, we are all seriously pale as well. Everyone stares at you and families kept asking to get their photos taken with us which was nice.  Made me feel important.  Liam managed to get conned with a free gift within 5 minutes of being there, the guy basically shoves something in your hand saying free gift, then tells your fortune and puts a dot on your head. It cost him 200 rupees, his fortune was that Liam is a good name, England is a good place and that he will be lucky, phenomenal fortune really.  Ste got done the same as well but only for 50rupees, his fortune was that the next woman he meets will be the one that he marries, I think he’s a bit on edge now of the next woman he speaks to, could be anyone really.

Jesus I’m writing quite a lot.

Mumbai was really weird, there aren’t many beggars but you still get hassled by people and street vendors everywhere.  One guy was selling a balloon the size of a small car, I was really tempted.  There was this Bentley showroom with someone selling fruit and veg just outside.

Paul got something to eat from a street vendor, again I’ve no idea what it was but it came in a bun, he said it was nice though.

I’m ashamed to say my first meal in India was subway. I got chicken tikka though to get in the Indian spirit a bit, it was seriously spicy. It was just like being in an English subway, same wallpaper and everything, the food was also dead expensive by India standards, 200 rupees for a six incher, cookie and coke.

After that we went back to nap in the hostel for a bit, it was just too hot.  After that we went out again for a few hours to look for a bar or something to do.  We got hassled by this guy to go to his cafe, he said it’s dead good and that it got bombed by terrorists 5 years ago, we decided not to go hang somewhere whose claim to fame was by being bombed.  He then randomly started banging on about Holland and tried to sell us cocaine, whist doing a Scarface impression. We declined.

The hotel facing ours is the taj mahal hotel, its famous for being taken over by terrorists a bit ago who held the place down for like 3 days, they stayed awake by using cocaine, I can’t help thinking that maybe the street vendor and those terrorists are somehow connected. It’s also the most expensive hotel in Mumbai I believe, I feel sorry for anyone staying there who has a view that is of our hostel.

There was loads of stray dogs roaming around Mumbai, unfortunately they’re all dead cute and I feel like adopting all of them. I think it’s pretty bad how I have more compassion for the stray dogs than I do for the beggars.  I don’t know why but I was surprised the dogs look like dogs in England, I know that’s a stupid thing to say but I would have liked the dogs to have looked a bit foreign.




Liam and Ste went to McDonalds; some guy was sneakily taking photos of us on his tablet, not the most subtle device to take photos with.  We weren’t keen on getting the shits before our train journey, that’s why we were eating in these western places.

Petrol stations in Mumbai have three options, petrol, diesel and speed.

Anyways we went back to the hotel and just played cards and watched some cricket with the staff. We left the hotel to go the train station at about 9pm.  Paul managed to get the taxi to the train for like 1/10th of what the guy originally offered, Paul is my haggling hero.


The train station is absolutely huge, I think there is like 18 platforms to it and conveniently platform 18 is where our train was leaving from, which was a ball ache of a walk.  We crashed down with our bags and waited for the train to come.  Strangers kept coming up and sparking weird conversations, one guy told us of this place to go in Goa where girls go to find themselves and that we should go there to take advantage of them.  He also used the word dettol like three times in conversation, I think he must advertise for them or something.

The train we were getting is a sleeper train, meaning we would have beds, which was nice but also necessary as the train journey was 12 hours long.

I really liked Mumbai train station, it was booming. Although there were rats everywhere and some guy had tried to pickpocket me.   There was loads going on there, I probably could have spent the day there. There was a bollywood movie being shot just outside as well but unfortunately we didn’t really have time to go have a gander, I am going to try get into a movie before I leave though.

Once on the train we went to our carriage.  The beds were attached to the wall and stacked on top of each other, sort of like bunk beds, but instead of two it was three.  Liam was on the top, me in the middle, Paul on the bottom and Ste opposite us on the bottom.  He had the pleasure of two Indian gentlemen above him.

We slept for most of the journey until about 8am and then just put our beds away and chatted and played cards.  I got breakfast on the train, it was these two massive vegetable samosas, they were basically like pasties, bit spicy and seriously nice.  Cost me 15 rupees, so about 20p?

I still hadn’t done a poo since the plane but no toilet was meeting my requirements.  The toilet on the train was genuinely just a hole to the tracks below, it was brilliant if not a little dangerous.

The doors at the side of the train were also open for the journey providing a nice draft but also proper dangerous, cool Indian men would just hang out of them and have a fag as we were cruising through the jungle.

I kept trying to see a leopard from the train window as we went through the jungle, I didn’t, although I saw about 800 cows.

We finally arrived in Goa at about 11.00am. We were starting to see white people again, can’t seem to get away from the fuckers anywhere.

We got a taxi to the hotel we had booked, the roads were not as deadly as Mumbai, but still crazy enough like.

I like looking at all the weird shop names and adverts.

‘Goa is like a fridge because everyone just chills here’

‘Coca-cola; the drink that allows you to drink AND drive.’

We got to the hotel and it is literally on the beach, I’m sat out on the balcony looking out at the sea now as I’m writing this, well it’s a bit dark but it’s definitely there.  I can hear it a bit, I could hear it more if this fucking bird would shut up, there are about 5 of them just yapping away to each other, it sounds just like loose women.

Anyways, the hotel is really nice, a huge step up from the hostel.  I’m sharing a room with Liam, got two beds, bathroom, shower, desk, fridge. What more could you need.  The balcony is big enough and allows you to look out onto the beach.  About 12 cows randomly came past before, which seems to happen a lot here, just flash mobs of cows.  I really want to ride one, not sure just how disrespectful that is, being a sacred animal and all that.  Although, I did see steak on a menu here before so maybe Goa is a bit more lenient in cow riding.

Once we had dumped our bags we decided to go for a walk and to go find some shit. We went for a walk along the beach as its romantic.  The beach is pretty empty where we are, which is good, but if you walk five minutes along you come to loads of Indian holiday makers beaching it up. It seems man boobs are a way of life here so that’s a movement I can get behind.  Walking along the beach there was loads of dead fish that had just washed up, they weren’t horrible or anything just all lead along the beach all dead. I think they had taken part in some mass suicide or there’s some underwater genocide going on we don’t know about. So yeah.

Someone had built a taj mahal sandcastle, obviously.

We eventually came off the beach and came across a stretch of shops, bars and restaurants. A lot of them are closed as apparently it isn’t peak season, although the open ones were all busy.

There are hardly any white people, which I like, it’s like how to judge a good curry house by the number of Indian people in there, as they know best.  I like to judge my Indian holidays using the same system.

We went to this bar/restaurant for a drink.  A litre of kingfisher is 80rupees, so a quid maybe? We had three of them and had something to eat, I had battered prawns as I weren’t that hungry, it came to 150rupees for that. Paul and Ste got a full curry for literally the same price, I instantly regretted my gay decision.

We left the bar and decided to go find a bar closer to our hotel, we found one and got a drink, the booze was like twice the price though which was ridiculous. We left there and walked back along the beach, I was really pissed, not sure how well I was hiding it, not very well I imagine.  There was some girl just crying on a moped, I’m sure it was some con but can’t figure out what, her boyfriend was scurrying around in front of the moped with his ass hanging out, maybe it was an art piece, I don’t know.

Some Indian men were playing cricket on the beach, I had a chance to catch the ball but Ste stole my opportunity and dropped it.  I probably would have dropped it too but I guess we will never know.

Erm..we walked around in the sea a bit and I came back and finally had a shower and brushed my teeth, it felt good.  I then proceeded to pass out in bed.

I think Liam and Paul went out again to drink and came back a few hours later. So yeah that is pretty much the trip until now.  Obviously I’ve left shit out but this is long enough, I can’t even be assed reading it back so I apologise for any spelling errors.

This has killed a good hour, so I’m going to go back to sleep and try upload this in the morning if the WI-FI is working, it’s fairly temperamental with when it wants to be on.  I think Dominic, the owner, might just like fucking with us though.

I swear to god one of the birds just squawked the word dettol, there is something going on here!

Ok toodaloo.

Love and miss you all xxx

 

Guest post by: @russmmm





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