Back to Jodphur and onto Mumbai

Gateway of India, Mumbai

After a peaceful two days in Jaisalmer including a super relaxing stay in the desert under the stars, our reintroduction to the madness of India was a tough one. We left the hotel not long after leaving the desert and thanked Jamin for everything, including the tuk tuk he arranged to the bus station. The quiet calm didn’t last long however as soon as we got to the road and when we reached the bus station we weren’t prepared for the commotion that would follow.

As we arrived at the bus station our driver shouted that we were heading to Jodphur and suddenly a bus which was about to leave halted in its tracks and two men started arguing in front of us. Before we knew it one of them had snatched my bag from the back of the vehicle and the two of them continued shouting at each other and then tried to rip my rucksack from each others hands to get our fare. We had to shout to tell them to stop disrespecting my stuff, then the man from the first bus took it and locked it in the bus without my consent. Not sure what to do but eager to get away from the fight we just got on the bus and sat at the back hoping we’d eventually end up where we wanted to be.

The whole experience really jarred me and I was really upset for a large portion of the journey to Jodhpur, feeling disgusted that people like these men exist who only see us as a fare to fight over. We’d spent the previous evening with a man who hasn’t seen his wife and children for a month because he has to work every day on safari, but he still finds the energy to express warmth and kindness to all of his customers. The stark contrast between the different men was shocking. Over the course of the next five hours I calmed down and just tried to let the bad experience go by remembering happier things in their place.

We’d expected the bus to drop us off in the centre of the city closer to the main market or train station, but instead we were dropped an hour walk from anywhere we knew. We decided to barter for a tuk tuk rather than walk and it was nice to be near familiar surroundings after the 20 minute journey. Once we arrived we checked back into BedPool and the guys mentioned they were going out for food within the hour and we were welcome to join if we wanted. We quickly got changed and freshened up and were ready for a sociable meal.

The owners organised some transport for us and some Portuguese guys to the place, but both drivers got lost on the way and dropped us at some random shopping mall. After a very confusing 10 minutes flapping about Mark called the hostel and let them know how useless the tuk tuk drivers had been. We were rescued not long after and guided to the crazy food place we’d be eating at where the menu was full of very random international options. Here we ate a mix of things including spicy garlic bread, spicy onion bhaji burger, spicy macaroni cheese and fries pizza and a few spicy Indian dishes for good measure. I’m really starting to enjoy spices but the poor Portuguese guy who can’t handle any was really struggling to find anything to eat.

It was really nice to have food in a group and afterwards we went back to the hostel for a couple of drinks and the owners even gave me the last of their whiskey – something which I’d been craving for just that afternoon. We tried to keep it a relatively early night for our flight down to Mumbai the next day.

Our flight was from Jodhpur airport which is possibly the smallest airport I’ve ever been to. With only one plane at a time at the airport (apart from the air force ones dotted about) it was surreal as we’re so used to massive buildings with huge mazes of check-in counters and security scanners. The flight was only just over an hour but that didn’t stop them from providing us with lunch either which was a welcome surprise.

The first thing we noticed when we landed in Mumbai was the humidity. Temperatures weren’t as high as in the north but there was a wave of wet air that hit us as soon as we got out of the airport, making every movement 10 times more difficult. This feeling stayed with us all evening and we barely made it out for dinner because it was so tiring to move. Thankfully the next day wasn’t so bad in the morning and we went out to explore with a Colombian woman we’d met in the hostel.

Our half day in Mumbai was short, with just enough time to see one attraction before heading back to the airport. The evening flight was much light the one before only this time from a much bigger airport with an array of shops and a food court. I actually bought a top from M&S and we had a KFC meal each before the flight, though I managed to order a veggie option again and have now been unintentionally meat free for over a week.

It wasn’t long before we were landing in Kochi, our final stop in India where we’ll be staying for the next week.

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