Our final day in Mumbai and it was back to the mall again for Charlie some T Shirts since the ones he had were worse than I had thought courtesy of Delhi. Whilst at the mall I realised Shrek 4 in 3D was on, it was only 11am and at 100 Rupees per ticket (£1.30 ish) we decided to go. I had completely lost faith in the franchise but it turned out to be pretty good actually.
Again we struggled no end to get taxis/rickshaws and to be honest it has really annoyed me that many refuse to take Westerners if it means they have to use the meter. Particularly since Charlie is suffering from the runs and he was desperate for the loo and so we were in a rush to get to the mall.
Ill mention our health so far, apparently between 50% and 75% travellers to India get the so called Delhi Belly, it ranges from just the runs to headaches, fevers and chills or a combination of them all. It lasts for up to about 5 days. I had it a few years ago after travelling to Egypt and it’s not very nice at all. So a quick rundown:
Me – Nothing so far in terms of physical illness, but I have been head butted by a cow, bitten by Mosquitoes and bitten by a lizard on my neck.
Abi – The odd stomach ache as a result of having to drink so much water.
Charlie – He currently has the runs pretty bad and a sore throat also he claims to have the occasional headache which I think is down to him not drinking enough water, his sore throat is another common complaint of travellers to India, the heat mixed with the dust and pollution all makes for a perfect harvesting place for a cold. His runs could be a number of things, either something he has eaten which I doubt; we eat only in places where locals eat or reputable places. We avoid Ice, only drink bottled water, only eat fruit which can be peeled, avoid salads, avoid milk/yoghurt/Ice cream/fresh juice and avoid meat. We eat only street food that is cooked in front of us and wash our hands prior to every meal with bacterial hand wash. I personally think that being a typical kid he has put his hand near his mouth and managed to get some bacteria inside him. That said he is coping well and I have no concerns for his well being, I have simply increased his water intake and am keeping an eye on his stools.
The premier beach in Mumbai and supposedly the most visited in India is called Juhu beach. A sun drenched few miles of golden sands with palm trees swaying in the wind as people bathe in the sunshine and take a dip in the warm, clear blue Arabian Sea. We had purposely given ourselves the entire afternoon to have a relaxing final afternoon in Mumbai before we had the hefty train journey to Hyderabad. The nearest station is Santa Cruz and I found out that quite a few buses go to the beach. We took #132 for 9 Rupees for the three of us and 15 mins later got booted off at the beach.
Instantly I saw top end hotels and palm trees, we walked a little further and arrived at the beach. I guess the feeling I had was like that of those who meet a drop dead gorgeous woman online only for her to turn up and be 50 stone with a face like a monkeys arse. You know, you gear yourself up for something and then bang, realiy bites.
That’s like Juhu beach. Let me tell you, it is a golden stretch of littered sand full of touts, the sea is disgustingly brown with bottles and empty crisp packets floating about, the palm trees are there, but they are mixed with concrete walls that are falling to pieces. I had to check we were at the right place and sadly we were. I can imagine Blackpool beach was cleaner in the 70’s when it was the arse end of anywhere. I was told “It’s much better at night” Well I don’t suppose it could get much worse, apparently at night there are kids rides and market stalls that are all illuminated. Sounds good, but I was expecting to brush up on my tan on some world class beach while the kids argued about who actually won the race that both of them cheated at.
I write this on the train to Hyderabad that we almost missed. For some reason I thought the train was at 2250, as we strolled out of McDonalds at 2100 I double checked, it was actually 2150. We legged it about 2km to our hotel where we had stored our bags, grabbed them and legged it back the 1km to the train station. We got there at 2140, got straight to our carriage and I made the beds, gave the kids a kiss goodnight and settled down myself to catch up on a few episodes of Deadliest Catch which I had managed to download. Of course Abi needed the toilet; finally when all was sorted I realised I was knackered and both kids were asleep after only minutes. That was when I realised that as tired as I am they are doing the same, they are battling the 40+ degree heat too, they are carrying heavy bags, they are completely out of their comfort zone and having to sleep on trains and in different beds every other night as well as living out of a bag. Yes we are doing some amazing things and seeing some of the greatest things India has to offer, but I just want to point out how resilient they are, and just how proud of both of them I really am.