Posted by: Tom | 04, 10, 2008

On the Road Again…

The plane landed in Mumbai and we went through passport control, to say that passport checks are thorough in India would be a massive understatement.  My passport was checked no less than 3 times in succession, once at the passport control gate, again about 3 steps away on the way to the baggage claim and again very shortly after.  I nearly mistook and dismissed one of the officials as being taxi PR as he had no uniform on, unfortunately it did seem that perhaps the extra checks didn’t really do anything other than slow people down and provide a job for someone’s nephew. 

The journey from the airport to Bentley’s guesthouse was filled with the obligatory call and response of car horns, but was pretty safe compared to some of the other’s we’ve taken since arriving and I learned that if you really want to fit 4 people on one motorbike, it can be done. 

Bentley’s were full so we wandered around in search of other places in the Lonely Planet guide.  Each turn led us to face large numbers of PR, who hang around like vultures and try to earn commission by showing you the way to guesthouses.  We eventually caved in and allowed some doughnut to direct us, he took us to the Volga but we were looking for Volga II.  He said ‘sir, there is 3 Volga, Volga I, II and III’, but when Myke and I walked up 3 flights of stairs we couldn’t see much there and decided to give up on this guy.  From that moment on ‘Doughnut’ followed our every move, he either had an identical twin or has mastered the art of teleportation because he showed up everywhere!  At this point, now tired and pee’d off we headed to the station and booked ourselves on a sleeper train to Goa that night and waited in Leopolds restaurant until the evening came.

The train journey was long but pretty comfortable and the interior layout of the beds reminded me of school trips – kinda!  I didn’t sleep too well and drifted in and out while slowly being subliminally influenced with deep voices croaking ‘Chai, Chai, Cold drink, Chai’ and ‘Chicken lollipop, Samosee’.  I caught a whiff of Chicken lollipop and it smelt a bit grim so I didn’t try any of those, I had a cheese sandwich instead.  Once in Goa we made it to Palolem in record time, the driver of the taxi was a wannabe racer who must have learned to drive on computer arcades and is basically an absolute maniac.  He didn’t get a tip.


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