Homeward Bound….

I took a hotel car to the Airport, a birthday treat to me, there were no tuk tuks, they are banned in Mumbai’s City center, and I really really wanted to go to Chowpeddy Beach, it is so famous as an example of Indian Democracy, Moms, Dads, children, the high borne with their servants, the homeless and beggars, all seem to hang out together. I didn’t get hassled once. Of course it was just a slight disappointment, tho large and sandy, quite crowded at nine thirty in the morning, warm and sunny, it was disgusting. The hi/lo tide marks were rank with garbage, plastic bags and bottles, old rags, dead things, just the usual stuff, but I did revel at being there, just to be there, on my way home. My driver spoke six languages, he commutes two hours each way to work and back, his work day is seven am to seven pm, that does not leave much time for eating, sleeping or a family life do it. He pointed out a building I had read about at home, some twenty stories(?), very tall anyway, it is occupied by just one family, Mr and Mrs, their two children and his Mother in Law, it has six hundred staff, yes 600, the parking garage holds three hundred cars, his monthly electric bill is 50,000 US Dollars. You read about these things but seeing it, right there, was, well, I think I might be permitted a “holy crap”. Oh, and almost opposite was a huge billboard extolling the virtues of British Culture featuring a picture of the British Museum and the flag. He pointed out a park, reserved exclusively for the elderly, how civilized. He showed me the Malabar Hills District, out on a Point, where the price of land exceeds that of Manhattan. Manhattan! He proudly stopped outside the main train station, the law courts and the university announcing that they were all built by the British, back in the day, and impressive they are, to this day. Think St Pancras, if you can, if not, hmm, ah, the Fairmont, Palace of Fine Arts, well kinda. We cruised out of town on a freeway, three lanes in each direction, built on stilts out on the Arabian Sea, avoiding the chaos, five kilometers long, supported by suspension bridges, what a feat.
An aside as we fly , done the LHR to SFO and back flight so often now it lacks, just lacks, never anything new, except those glaciers in Greenland, but now, Almety, Tashkent, Urumqui, Samarkand, Bukhara, Ulan Bator, appear on the in flight map, the old Silk Road, Marco Polo. Another trip forms in the mind ?
Mumbai Airport is well past it’s sell by date, the International Terminal, blackened with age and weather, is really quite nasty. As Nat and Erin will attest however the new Airport is going to be tremendous. (They Skyped as I arrived so saw the tour). Huge new roads and flyovers, vast futuristic new Terminals, the most enormous new control tower, new runways being scooped out, chaos of course, but give it a couple of years and go check it out. Endured the usual airport indignities, Immigration, Customs, Security, bla bla, had a wee bite, enjoyed my BA Birthday cake (haha) and that was it. Boarded and took off. Slept most of the way, there was nothing to see out of the window, thick cloud cover, the last thing I remember was approaching the Caspian Sea and woke up over Berlin. Goodness, forty five minutes to go.
The brain is somewhat addled with flying so won’t get all profound right now, let’s give it a couple of days to reflect, though I am quite looking forward to a blog or few from the UK. It may interest more far flung readers, hi Debbie in Sacramento, hi Ellen and Ben in Austin, plus many others, and maybe give the British followers a giggle.
From thirty thousand feet over the North Sea this is a bye bye for now, though just think, I said the same thing over the Sea of Ohkosk, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean so who knows what fresh adventures await. A first thrill, we are coming in straight up the Thames Estuary and so on up the river, that’s a new one.
Thanks for keeping me company.

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5 responses to “Homeward Bound….

  1. Thanks so much for bringing us all along on your journey. I loved reading about all the exotic places I will probably never see. What an adventure you’ve had! Can’t wait for the book!

    Debbie K.

  2. Happy Birthday Tim! Great travels and travel writing! Thanks for keeping me entertained.

  3. Barbara Godden

    Great ending! As it should be. Safe landings.

  4. Deborah Townsend

    Not over yet. I think the UK blog is a good idea!

  5. Barbara Godden

    I agree Deborah! We all want a UK blog please Tim!

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