There are many streets in Mumbai to explore. After a one and a half hour taxi drive from the first home I stayed in, I still found myself in the heart of the city. It is a massive city. Non the less, I managed to unite with my three friends in the busy city that felt as big as some US states. I had not seen them in over a month and they had ONLY seen each other for an entire month, so there were tired smiles all around when I finally walked into their hotel room.
The days that followed were jam packed with learning the ways of how things go about in India. This was all mostly old news to the girls; Katie, Mel and Sarah who had been traveling through Thailand and India for a month already. After an afternoon visiting a place Gandhi once lived and the largest laundromat known to Mumbai, I turned our room key in the lock of our door looking forward to some quite. Instead of the door flying open and welcoming me with warm arms, I stood there with half of a key in my hand. The other half was nestled nicely in the lock, blocking us from rest, a clean washroom and a break from the chaos that Mumbai offers. All I could do was laugh because standing there, I knew this was not going to be a simple fix. About 7 hours later, the 4 hotel workers sawing and hacking at our door finally left our room. They left behind some wood chips but gave back our privacy and finally some quiet which helped us with the headaches it took to book our hotels for the next cities over the phone with crackling connections and broken English. Soon we would be leaving Mumbai in a hired car on a road trip down to Goa, and eventually Agonda, our final destination in India and the place I would call home for a months time.
“Inner Oneness pervades all life” – Gandhi
No not clouds, smog. The smog in Mumbai is overwhelming. With the humidity clinging to my skin and pollution, at times I felt I barely could not breath. Using our scarves as masks to filter some of the heavy heavy smog (and to cover our faces from the countless photos curious locals liked to snap of us) was not something I wanted to get used to. I only hoped this would improve as we got closer to where we would be living and breathing our yoga studies.
The following is a photo of my orange Fanta bottle in a tree. Yes, a monkey stole my Fanta. On Elephanta Island where we were checking out some caves, this little bugger charged at me with a look in his eyes that made me chuck my bag containing my Fanta bottle, Mel’s coke bottle and our water far far away from me without hesitation. Happy to defer his agressive charge from me to my bag, I stood there pretty relieved as he grabbed the coke and Fanta and left the water behind. I went to retreive the water off the ground only to have another monkey begin to pounce. I gave into their evilness and surrendered my water. You win! The relief of having their attention off of me quickly changed to amusement and shock as the monkey up the tree removed the cap from the Fanta and proceeded to drink the orange liquid out of the plastic bottle. He then got bored…or lazy and let the Fanta pour down creating a orange waterfall that all of his friends had a little dance party in. Bastards.