Wednesday, May 30, 2018

India Part III - Mumbai to Goa (and the Return to New Delhi for the Trip Home)

Mumbai was a different kind of metropolis. The slums on the outskirts of the city are absolutely massive and line the highway on the trip in from the airport, seen below. The humidity in the city is palpable, but there is also a lot of greenery everywhere. Immediately I noticed it was less dusty than New Delhi. The air quality seemed to be a little better too, at least at the times I was a visitor to the two cities.

We took a taxi in from the airport. He seemed to be extremely cautious with his driving. We got passed by a lot of other drivers, including the lady below.

After at least a half an hour, we got to a more central area of the city. There was a lot of construction in this area for a new subway line that is being built. Unfortunately, it wasn't done while we were there. Hopefully, it will be soon...

There are some nice buildings with a clear English influence in Mumbai. It's a far more orderly city as well. Even though there was a lot of traffic, there seemed to be far fewer people walking in the street, and there were a lot fewer animals. Traffic also generally stayed in lanes and flowed in single directions, instead of every which way.

You do gain an appreciation for air quality standards when you go places where they don't really exist...

Again, everywhere we went, people in India were really curious about us and incredibly friendly.

We walked around the city a bit and made our way down to the waterfront. The hotel below, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, was one of several buildings that were attacked by terrorists during a series of bombings over four days in November 2008. There is still a lot of security around the hotel, and on the day we were there, Netanyahu also happened to be in the city. The streets all around it were blocked off, even to pedestrians. Nothing happened, though.

The hotel is across from India Gate, (first called the All-India War Memorial and officially named Delhi Memorial), which commemorates those who died in wars fought by British India between 1914 and 1919. It's 138 feet high.

There was a ceremony held here as well, when the last British troops left India for good, after it gained independence in 1948. 

There are some nice little parks around Mumbai...

..and street cats, which I hadn't seen very many of.

We went to a Kerala restaurant, which serves food of southern India. It was really good... very spicy, and I think they gave us way too much. Plus not many places understand taking your leftovers with you overseas. "Take away" got me nowhere.

Lots of lights, like so many places in India; we got some nice night shots.

Stuff grows everywhere in the heat and humidity of Mumbai.
Anyway, it was time to move on to Goa.

Departed the massive city of Mumbai.. and onto a tiny but modern airport in Goa. They were having a taxi strike so we started walking to our hotel, but we were quickly picked up by a local guy who called our hotel to figure out where it was and then dropped us there for a few bucks.

There was a beach very close by so we went for a walk. The place is called Bogmalo beach, and is away from the more active parts of Goa, which is more like a region than a town. 

I enjoyed spending some time here and found it really relaxing. Our place was a bit spare so it wasn't extremely comfortable, which I didn't think would be a big deal, but my husband got sick. That was really unfortunate. This place was pretty cool and I was disappointed he missed out on a place that was so different from the other spots we'd been.

We were able to spend a little time at the beach together, but I took a number of walks on my own. It was very chill. I got approached by a few people wanting a selfie with me, a guy offered to buy me a drink and a lady tried to sell me stuff from her stall, but otherwise, I was left alone. Most of the crowd tending towards a couple of areas, and the rocky sections on either side of the back had fewer people.

These weren't the most spectacular beaches in the world, but they were nice. I was sad to see some locals littering freely, so for me, the lack of care about stuff like that would turn me off of visiting again. But I was glad to be there for awhile.

Our time in Goa was coming to a close. I had my last evening walk and the next morning the lady at our hotel, who had been extremely friendly and very helpful while we were there, got a friend of hers to shuttle us to the airport (during the ongoing taxi strike) for a few bucks. It was an easy trip on Vistara back to New Delhi.

All three carriers we tried had been just fine.. though leaving on time seemed much pretty optional at Mumbai's airport, where things were weird... we waited around for awhile until we located a screen that listed our flight, then went through security that left us limited to a small part of the airport. The announcements and info were really limited. Luckily, I paid close attention to gate changes; there was a random bum rush to a different gate right when we boarded. If I'd been a latecomer I'm not sure I'd have been able to figure out where to go. Anyway, finally got to New Delhi and took a walk.

The next day I wanted to do some touristing before we left, so we headed to Qutb Minar.

Frankly, I didn't feel like paying the entrance fee to the park. My husband was tired (apparently I didn't know how tired he was). So we went to Humayun's Tomb, a place I'd really wanted to see before we left.

It is quite large, and very impressive. My husband needed rest, so I was sorry to have dragged him here, because I could have made the trip on my own. We used the metro to get to Qutb Minar and then took a tuk-tuk here, but afterwards we took the metro back.

It's always very nice to see greenery in Delhi.

You can go inside, and there isn't a whole lot in there except for the tomb, but it is worth a look.

It was time to grab a train and get to the airport. We were both wiped pretty good. This trip may have been a bit too long for us; getting sick probably did us in.

I was starting to feel better. We had a layover in Amsterdam, I wanted to head for the nearest open coffeehouse, which we did. It was the best layover ever. Then, we made the last flight home.

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