Our flight from Bangkok went smoothly and Lucy and I arrived in India at 10 PM on Sunday the 1st of March. We only made it out of the airport at 11:30 though after a huge passport control line and a massive wait for luggage. We got into town at 12:30 pm. Not a great time to arrive in India really. We got a very sweet Korean girl dumped on us at the airport by a Korean business man. He asked us if we were traveling and if we could take her to a hostel. SuJung 임수정 or Natalie is traveling alone in India for 3 months. We shared a taxi into town and ended up spending the next 9 days with her. Her English was not very good so communication has been hard (not that we can speak Korean – she is amazing for having two languages) – but she did improve loads over the 9 days.
Lucy and I were exhausted by the time we got to Colaba (central Bombay) as it was three in the morning our time. We had made a reservation at the Salvation Army hostel (tramps! – Ed.) but by the time we arrived they were closed and said they were full. It was 1 am when we finally found a hotel; it was very expensive for what it was, but we couldn’t really turn it down. The time spent wondering around that night was enough to have give us a bad impression of India! It had also given a bird enough time to single me out and poo on my bag. It would only happen to me! There were lots of men and beggars out though that did not make it very easy.
We headed back to the Salvation Army managing to get a room (for the three of us again). It was so nice seeing Living for Jesus calendars everywhere and Bibles out. There are lots more churches in India too! On our way to the Salvation army we were persuaded to be extras in a Bollywood movie, it’s set in a London night club and stars Kylie Minogue! We were skeptical about the Kylie Minogue thing but had heard it was common to be asked to be extras and they said we would be paid and everything else would be paid for. We agreed to do it the next day, despite the fact that I was quite nervous about the idea of dancing!
Kylie Minogue arrives at the international airport in Mumbai.
Once we were settled at the hotel, we went out on our own walking tour which was a great way to see the sights in Bombay. We walked along the Causeway, went to the gateway to India, the Taj Mahal hotel and Leopolds (both where the Mumbai bombings took place.) We also went to a modern art gallery and saw lots of the old colonial buildings.
Gateway to India (see if you can spot Sibyl!)
…was Bollywood day. We were met at 8am and taken by car to the studios. It was a long drive and we were told only when we were half way there that the day would finish at 9pm and that we could not leave! The distance back to town was enough to deter us from leaving though – the taxi cost would have been ridiculous! Once we arrived at the ‘studio’ (the very old shabby building with tents outside) we were taken to be dressed up and have hair and makeup done. We were wearing very casual clothes so they wanted to dress us up but they had hardly anything left. We had arrived late and there were lots of other extras already dressed up! They gave me a jewel studded top but I refused to wear the mini skirt they tried to force on me (too right! – Ed.). I was left in my shorts but told I had to sit down the whole time or I would ruin ‘the image.’ I was happy because it meant no dancing – they ended up making me dance anyway though! The day was so so long and most of it was just waiting around. It seemed like they only did about 10 minutes of actual filming. Our job was to sit in the background and bop to look like we were having fun. The set was actual really cool. They had created a giant blue bubble – maybe why the film is called ‘Blue’? And the stage had water running off it. I think the film has something to do with that too?
I read the book Twilight for most of the day, something which I have recently become obsessed with, so the waiting wasn’t too bad. Kylie Minogue was actually there! I couldn’t get my head around why though? We walked past her trailer situated outside an open sewer which had a piece of paper with her name on taped to the door – very budget. She is very tiny – small and skinny and an amazing dancer!
Kylie, looking good in Bollywood.
Maybe you will be able to see me in the movie but I kind of hope not (I kind of hope so! – Ed.) I dread to think. We finished at 8:30 pm and we were paid – 500 rupees and they took us back into town. I was so happy to finally get back and go to bed. I had been up very late the night before reading the second Twilight book. I couldn’t put it down even though I knew I would suffer in the morning! I finished it in 24 hours – like I have done with the rest of the book! Lucy keeps complaining that she has lost her friend to the series – I have finished them all now though.
The next couple of days were spent wandering around Mumbai again. We went to the Prince of Wales museum which is Indian history along with natural history. We also went to Chowpatty beach. We also got to see the extensive Cricket grounds (of course) and the University of Mumbai. All the buildings in Bombay are so beautiful! The Victoria Terminus train station is incredible. We also went to see Slumdog Millionaire at the ‘Regal’ cinema on the Causeway which is quite a famous building. I thought it was amazing and I want to see it again. We also felt very cool for having seen it in Mumbai and having been to many of the places in the movie.
The food here is incredible and there is so much choice. It is very different from South East Asian food too – which is a nice change after 7 months. I love the Indian sweets too. They are my favorite thing so far.
We got a night bus to Goa (SuJung joined us) and arrived Friday morning. We have spent the last three days relaxing on the beach in Anjuna. The beaches here hilarious – they are full of cows, goats and dogs. Apparently they like to sunbathe too. The cows join you in sitting under the umbrellas in the shade!
We met two really cool travelers here – Pete and Sandra. Pete in from Swindon, England (oh, we thought you meant Swindon, Massachusetts! – Ed.) and Sandra is from Sweden. They were really nice to hang out with. They moved from Anjuna beach to Aranbul beach but we went to visit them there. We kind of wish we had gone to stay in Aranbul too because it is much more beautiful! We had a fun time visiting them there though. There is a natural fresh water lake by the sea which we went swimming in. Nice break from salt water although I am not sure how clean it was.
We went to a really cool market. Everything here is so amazingly cheap it is hard to resist buying loads. I am going to have to be careful.
I did not manage to get to a church on Sunday which I am really disappointed about. They only had Catholic churches and I failed even to get to their service in time! I will hopefully be able to find one next week. I am making good progress with Gary Brady’s book, ‘Being Born Again’ which I got as a present from him (Rhodri’s Dad) when I was baptised. It is really helpful to know what the Bible says about it.
We said goodbye to SuJung today as she is staying in Goa for longer than us. It was really sad, although it will be nice to just be me and Luce again. She wrote us a really sweet letter. I hope she finds some more people and continues to have a good time.