Trains , Pains and Automobiles

Trip Start Oct 24, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Friday, November 26, 2004

Leaving Pushkar was difficult as both of us had relaxed into the vibe , but India has lots of surprises round the corner , so off to Mumbai we go.

So there we were, rucksacs on the bus, but we were not. This was not due to the fact the bus had left but due to the fact there were about 140 people on this single decker with an assortment of domestic appliances and farmyard animals. Peering in the window I was unable to see a daylight due to the fact bodies were so compacted together ,or any safety notice advising 'only 10 people standing and no talking to the driver' strange that!. Then the bus started to move !and an Indian man beckoned us on to the roof, so up the ladder we went and made a nest for ourselves in the middle of everyones luggage. This is definately the way to travel, although i can't see it catching on the Citylink Glasgow buses, maybe i will pop it into their suggestion box if get home.

I must point out that a 6'2" man like myself is at risk when travelling on a bus roof, firstly tree branches are a hazard and also the fact i was concerned at taking out someones telephone line if a sat up straight at the wrong moment. Hazel also kindly pointed out that did i realise that any insurance would probably be void if i ended up in a field if the driver hit a hairpin at high speed. It was at this point i required a cigarette but the wind caused havoc with the rolling,however a kind Indian gentleman saw my distress and kindly supplied me with one a pre-rolled, my gratitude went out as another branch nearly took my head off.

Anyway, safely back in Jaipur we take the 18 hour sleeper to Mumbai. We took the cheaper option of the 3-tier and this time it was me who was taking peoples heads off, as my legs stuck out of the end of the bunk. I recommend travel sickness pills for this as the make you drowsy and Hazel and i got a good 7 hours sleep, arriving in Mumbai refreshed and ready for a refreshment of the stronger kind.

Mumbai is a vibrant and atmospheric city with wonderful colonial architecture. It is a progessive city of commerce and industry, not to mention the home of Bollywood, which Hazel and I were asked to feature as an extra. The city itself is an Island connected by bridges to the mainland and even has red double decker buses, quite quaint i think.
It is possible to get anything you desire in Mumbai from wonderful textiles, silverware, excellent carved deities to the usual pirate CD's from the hawers that line the streets trying to beckon you to their stall.

The vibrant nightlife has already brought a bleary morning as Hazel and i explore the plethera of food courts, colonial cafes, pubs to the all male Indian drinking dens. This city is a feast for the senses.

During our stay we took a side trip to Pune, which has a distinct western feel with shady streets and lanes with a pleasant climate. It is one of India's thriving university cities with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and relaxed attitude.

One of the city's main highlight is the Osho Meditation Resort which is the Amshran of Bhagwan Rajneesh. The forementioned guru is one of Indians most controversial following no particular philosophy, eventually taking this mysticism to California USA setting up a commune.

Many western seekers still attend the fabulous place wearing red robes during the day and white robes in the evening. Unfortunately the cost is expensive if you are a budget traveller which we are, plus there is an Aids test which is compulsary at registration, which put us off a little from participating. We were, however able to enter the Zen Gardens which were a place for meditation and relaxation and offered us great peace within Pune's city limits.

Moving south to Goa next, so stay tuned for an update. Further photos to follow.
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