Friday, December 5, 2008

24 Hours In A "War Zone"

Up at 4 AM yesterday to get to the airport to catch out flight to Mumbai.  We were led to believe from reports in the news that the whole city was locked down, with machine gun turrets placed on strategic corners manned by vigilant mustache-heavy elite troops.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We waltzed through immigration with nary a hiccup, and when we approached the secondary bag screening station, we actually got pulled from the line and told to just walk on through.  I guess it was because we were white people, and weren't even on the terrorist radar.  It was a  little disconcerting.  Fortunately, our guy was waiting for us with a crude "Laurel Bailey" sign, and after having our carts hijacked by a couple of airport porters/extortionists, we piled into a deluxe AC taxi.   At least that was how it was billed. 

The boys fell asleep immediately, and on the way in, all the memories of the India I knew came back in spades.  The dense traffic, where use of the horn is the rule as opposed to the exception.  The painted lines that provide the merest hint of lane organization.  The diverse mix of Mercedes and ox carts.   The casual public pissing.   And the smell...

We arrived at the hotel after an hour, and basically hunkered down.   The streets were busy, and from what I could tell, it was business as usual for the people of Mumbai.  We took a brief and somewhat hallucinogenic walk around the neighborhood, but we were in such a sleep-deprived blood sugar crisis zone, we basically went back to the hotel and had something to eat in the hotel restaurant, thereby violating every rule of international travel.  

Around 5 PM, Emma showed up at our door to our great delight.  We just basically crashed after that, and tried our best to get enough sleep to take us through this day's flight to Cochin.  Enough time zone changes already!  We just want to hunker down and chill after this.  We're all really tired of being constantly on the move.  Hopefully next week, we'll be able to find a proper place to live.

And set up a kitchen so we can cook again!


jcree said...

Ahhhhh, you made it this far.
You'll be settled down and doing what you're there to do in no time at all. You'll soon forget all about this tiring part of the journey. But remember, it's ALL part of the journey. You're already missed.

Rob Bailey said...

Aaaaaawwwwww.... blush

Mark said...

Hey Rob and Laurel and boys. Just found your blog. Very cool. Glad to read that you're safe. Rob, dig your writing man. Would love to chat at length at some point in the future and get caught up. On a cultural note: not sure which is more surreal... probably where I am, Florida, fat-cat community, living on a large yacht. All the best and safe travels, Mark Vanderbyl.

Rob Bailey said...

outrageous! Drop me a line via facebook and we'll exchange private emails. Great to hear from you. Why am I not surprised you are living on a large yacht? :-)

1954 BN1 said...

Hey Rob, Laurel and the gang, Happy to hear you made it without too many issues, other than sleep deprivation. We were all thinking about you guys while glued to BBC. Looking forward to reading about this great adventure.

PS. where should I put your ladder?

Rob Bailey said...


Good to hear from you. You can just lean it up against the back of the new shed. Thanks, dude!