I think this road sign says it all, India is a work in progress. With over 1.3 Billion people change comes slow, but change is happening and in years to come hopefully more people will have better living conditions and greater opportunities to make a decent living.
Most of India’s infrastructure is in ruins, debris and trash everywhere, poverty the norm, one can only hope change comes sooner than later.
The busy city of Mumbai, our final destination before going home.
We had the good fortune to have a “home stay” with a very nice family, the Sharma’s, Jeetendra and Sweta, along with their son and daughter. This was all arranged by the Jeetendra’s brother whom I met in Jaisalmer more than a week prior. He is the same person that gave me his motorbike to use, the same person that had his brother meet our train in his city and board the train with dinner, and the same person that had a taxi pick us up at the airport in Mumbai and take us to his other brother’s apartment to stay for the night and the next day. What a treat.
The Sharma’s couldn’t of been more kind. I think Sweta was trying to fatten us up (more) as she would not stop bringing more and more food for us to eat!! I even helped her with breakfast the next morning making a common breakfast called Poha (diced potatoes, rice flakes and lots of secret spices). We enjoyed interesting conversation about both of our families and countries and what the future holds for India.
We toured the city most of the afternoon and started out to the airport close to 6:30 pm for both of our flights later that evening. We even had a chance to visit the house where Mahatma Gandhi lived for many years.
Kids are Kids Everywhere (the park across the street from where we stayed) http://youtu.be/dtjb31Qe_AM
The markets are great, great for tourists and locals alike. Villagers from all over come to sell their goods.
Mapusa Friday Market http://youtu.be/2dtc9rgfhzw
We got to party with the locals during their Festival of Holi as we where cruising through town on our scooters
I was sad to leave Manali but not the rain. The sad part is that the weather seemed to be clearing at least in the morning as we drove the 25 miles down the mountain at 4:30 AM. Fortunately the sand and giant boulder slides from all the rain didn’t really bother our race car taxi driver and we arrived at the airport even before they had turned the lights on, yes really. Even with the rain I enjoyed my few short walks but never got to see the real beauty of this special place.
Tropical Goa is another story, cove after cove of rocky coral formations with tall palms trees and soft sand, not the India we have experienced the last couple of weeks.
We rented scooters for a few days and this morning set out northward where ever the road took us plus to see the popular market in Anjuna. All I can say is this place is like a huge Key West with a giant shot of Jamaican Marley Vibe. The market was off the hook (can’t believe I said that) and so I suggest next time you have the time stop by, it’s every Wed. We spent the whole day zipping here and there and that’s it, oh right, I convinced Adam to get a haircut. Don’t worry I even took pictures of his barber, but the funniest part of it was the price, 30 rupees, that’s a little more than .50 cents!!
Picture will follow sooner or later.
Let’s see, we have been here 2 1/2 days and it’s rained almost non stop since late the first day. So all the trekking, biking and paragliding is a wash. It’s also so pre pre season that not much is open except mostly the very local non tourist shops. That’s fine with me.
The main market area is full of eateries and shops selling all kinds of cloths and other wares. It’s kind of like the walking mall in Cape May except the Indian version. I even saw a soft ice cream machine with a sign that read “4 in 1”. Not that I know everything about ice cream but last time I checked the machine only had 3 spouts for 2 different flavors plus the middle one which would be known as “mixed”. How they get 4 is beyond me. I asked but still have no idea. I enjoyed talking to one shop owner that has been in his super tiny shop for 35 years. His rent is $70 per month. We compared “war stories” and after much discussion think he definitely has less stress. As an example I asked if I can look around and then tried squeezing by the front counter to get a better look of what he had to sell, well I nearly went up in flames, he had a pile of wood burning just behind the counter just to get the dampness out I guess. I asked him about inspectors, licensing and insurance and there is very little required or none. In Wildwood I live in fear of who next is coming to try to close me down or send me to the poor house.
Today I read, played some pool with other guests (yesterday was ping pong and America won) and played LCR. We had a good time with the game but I didn’t get any orders for an Indian version. When the rain finally slowed briefly today I started my walk through the forrest and into town. I’d rather get soaked than sit in the room all day. My mission was to find the guy open that rented motor bikes hoping that if tomorrow is nice we would go touring and maybe out to try paragliding. After many twists and turns I finally found the rental and told him I’d probably see him tomorrow.
Another thing I didn’t know about Manali (the guide books never mention it) is there is a Jamaican influence and Bob Marley items are everywhere and some places are playing Reggie. I asked a T-shirt guy if he knew who Bob was or ever heard of Jamaica and he had no idea!
Anyway, when I got back to the hotel I found out that our travel agent was able to change out flight out of here for tomorrow instead of the day after since the weather has been horrible. So no trekking, paragliding or motor biking, we are out of here in the early morning!!
Rain or Shine you can always play “The Tire” http://youtu.be/AnfPxtsidA8
My View on Bike http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWLPxV8Hc2s
Sad Views from Train http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so8u4v0sQiA&feature=youtu.be
After checking out of our major pad in Jaisalmer we went to another haveli which we where to depart from for our safari. We had about 4 hours to kill before going out into the desert (really just more desert but our destination would also have sand dunes, a lot less traffic and considerably less trash). The owner offered a room to us which was great because I was feeling under the weather and probably running a slight temperature. I’m thinking great, I’m getting sick and I’ll be bouncing up and down on a camel! I was able to sleep a little and along with some magic pills seemed to be under control.
Our trip further into the desert for our safari went well, thank god we only did for a few hours!
Desert Dancers http://youtu.be/dfRuhYEfplU
Desert Tunes http://youtu.be/A_ENEwaWnfk