Salaam Bombay

Trip Start Oct 14, 2005
Trip End Oct 31, 2005

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, October 31, 2005

Dear Readers:

With all the worry about the weird local travel operator going on, I
didn't get to sleep last night until about midnight, and was up again
at 6am to see off the small group of seven who had extended their tour
by two extra nights by going to the beach resort area of Goa. They were
stressed because they could sense that things weren't going too well in
Mumbai, and they had absolutely no confidence that everything was going
to go well in Goa. That will remain to be seen, since I am no longer in
contact with any of them.

We got through a day of tortured touring on a smaller bus whose air and
mic also didn't function very well, but at least there was no horrid
stench. We saw the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales Museum, the Hanging Gardens on the slopes of Malabar Hills, and the Mani Bhawan (where Mahatma Gandhi used to live). We also saw the Dhobi Ghat, a large outdoor public laundry that has been operating for hundreds of years.

I have had to deal with one problem person after another today (locals, not clients),
and have had my patience tested to the limit. I was fairly serene
through most of it, but have felt like screaming several times.
Communication is a real difficulty here. You think you are being plain
as day, but they somehow get things all twisted up. They try to do it
right, but it is almost comical -- like when one client asked for his
sandwich to be cut in two, and he ended up with half a sandwich in his
carry-out lunch. They thought that to cut it meant to take away a
portion. That is such a good example of the kind of thing that we had
to deal with all the time.

I did the best I could, and hope that everything will go smoothly for
those who are remaining after I leave. Now I can think about laying
back in that big cushy seat and sleeping all the way to Frankfurt, and
perhaps even all the way to Chicago. That would be lovely!

Loads of love, and Salaam from Bombay!

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