I am probably in the most comfortable rooms yet on this trip. It was a swealtering day in the city. The forecast I saw was 33 degrees. The newscast flashes pictures of the day’s events and I’m relaxing after a long day listening to my old iPhone’s playlist amplified inside the glass. I stayed at a hotel near the Airport last night. I packed and Ubered my way to the hotel in the city. The Grand Hotel in Mumbai. It dates from the 1930’s.
I kind of stepped out of a shell of a hotel room into a car and got driven into the heart of the city. I have a video which I’ll post someday. They were shooting a movie on the street my hotel is at. Got checked in and prepared to wander the city and wander I did.
I wanted to get a coffee and I remembered vaguely where a coffee shop was on the map but o didn’t save it in the offline mode so I made my way in the vague general direction that I remberd. I ended up finding one of the few Christian churches in the city. It is a historical building and it also had a Starbucks beside it. Had a coffee formulated a vague plan and headed out. Outside this guy asked me if I was interested in going to see a festival somewhere in a general direction. I kind of sized him up and said sure.
He said that it was a festival that happens annually and that it would be interesting to see. His name is Albert and he proposed that he show me the real Mumbai. It was a very tempting proposition and as we talked I thought about it. We were going to go on a train make our way back towards the interior of the city.
Throughout our journey we discussed many topics related to life like honesty and life in general.
We visited the laundry area where there are miles of clothes launded. They operate in three shifts and the sight of it was breathtaking.
We walked and talked took a cab through the city a couple of times. We went by the race grounds and talked about his education and where he is from. We passed where the workers lived so close to their workplace. They were not the greatest conditions and unrelated my experiences in South Africa.
We came to a spot that has a high spiritual significance where one of the ancient holy men or gods found water and wives. People bathed in it and he showed me a video of some of the people Albert has shown around the city as well as testimonials hand written in a book that he carries around in a plastic bag in his pocket.
We talked about my journey through India and where I have to get to. He offered to help me with that. I recognized that he was alright and straight up and honest. One of the cities I told him I wanted to visit he hails from. He offered to help me with everything as he did with the other people who’s testimonials I’ve read. He told me that I would have to write in it myself at the end of our association together.
We ended up making our way towards the Gateway to India where we can also sort out my travel plans at a place he knows. When I met him he kept trying to hold the top of his shirt together. He had ripped it falling over someone and he felt embarrassed as it’s inappropriate to show that much chest in his low cut neck in his undershirt. I ended up buying him one before we got on the train earlier. We had to walk around a bit to find the best deal he said that once they looked at me they always charged extra. He felt a lot more comfortable afterwards. I still have to give him his old short back.
We visited a few shrines and I walked around inside without taking pictures respectful others praying inside. Didn’t really see too many westerners here.
The trip I decided to get will have a driver and involve flying out of Goa. My card was declined to pay for that portion and will have to pay for the balance tomorrow. This option has many advantages and it will include all the hotels and stops at out of the way places. There was a bit of negotiation involved but it’s good to have someone showing me around. I will have the same driver for the rest of the journey after Goa.
Called the folks and wished them Happy Easter. I’m essentially on the other side of the planet from them. There is a twelve and a half hour time difference between here and Vancouver. My battery on my camera ran out. Albert and I will hang out for a bit in the day tomorrow. Happy Easter!