Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mumbai to Goa

This is the train station in Mumbai, Victoria Station on the inside. You can see that people are
sleeping, standing, lying and sitting on the floor, even up to vomiting. I guess that is what the heat does to you. When you go a little bit further, there is a special waiting room for ladies only. The reason, as I have been told, is that the men start fooling around with the ladies, so they need to be protected.

As we got to the station, the train was delayed. "Quelle surprise!", because they normally are. The first guy told us it would be only 2 hours, the other guy said 1 hour and later it was called on the PA to be three hours, up to 10am. When you travel by car that early in the morning, there are no problems whatsoever with traffic. Even up to 7am the streets are really calm.

We decided actually to take it easier and book a plane. This will mean that I miss the train ride through the country to Goa (and travelling in India by train is an experience you should not seek to miss), but it will allow us for some easier time in Goa and since we have more people travelling with us, we opted for the latter.

Goa is not really qualifiable as India. It is a state about the size of Holland, slightly smaller, not sure about the number of inhabitants. It has a very strong Portuguese influence still and certain parts are recognizable and could be Bahia, Porto de Galinhas or Itamaraca island.

The boy on the right was also at the station. He's getting things here and there, I think for recycling. He tugged my shirt and wanted his picture taken. So there you go.

The plane was with Go and pretty cheap through competition mostly. The fare is about US$80. It even left on time, but we were almost late due to unforeseen roadworks and weird people on the road. Goa has lots of tourists from all over the place, French, British and Germans. As said it is not very Indian, but has quite some interesting sights that are more contemporary.

If you have never seen an Indian taxi on the insight, here is your chance. This was taken in Goa, so I guess it is still lacking the extensive ornaments.

Goa has a Portuguese fort, cows walking around all over the place since it's more country-side and lots of little towns and places. There are some well-known restaurants here and there where the outsiders go (the people that buy or rent houses around Goa).

As a recommendation, I would say 2-3 days are good just for relaxation. But I would definitely not recommend going "just" to Goa, because you will not be able to claim you have gone to India.

At the moment we are just driving around, using the holiday facilities from our hosts and taking it really easy. I just finished a book I was reading and will be starting on another. Then in 3 days we are going for a longer trip to Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Agra. Every 2nd day we are travelling for 5-6 hours by car around the golden triangle in a Toyota Innova (quite big and comfy car). Then one full day for sightseeing. This should make up for the train trip.

I'm not sure if I will be posting for the next 3 days, but let's see. I'm making pictures the whole time and am reading more on the next book "The world is Flat", which is ideal reading in this area, along with another book on Bottom Of Pyramid that my wife is reading.

As a final anecdote... the apartment we were in never had any problems with the elevator. Just that as soon as we came back from dinner, the elevator got stuck with my wife and our host in it. We were already upstairs waiting for them to return, but it took them more than 15 minutes already. Going downstairs, the guard asked us to help to speak to "those people stuck in the elevator that did not speak English"... well, they did, but the fan was making too much noise. Eventually the main power was switched off and the elevator doors opened, freeing them from the horrible hot air in the basement. They were stuck for about 20 minutes eventually.


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