January 15, 2006

The long road home...

Currently about 2:30am in an Internet cafe in the International terminal in Mumbai.

Mumbai has an interesting airport setup. Actually, that's too kind. It sucks. The domestic flights are at a location about 5 miles from the international flights. It's not a big deal if you're staying in Mumbai, but if you're making an international connection, you have to either take a coach, which is fairly efficient but can take a while, or take a cab, where I'm guessing they regularly screw people over. Especially late at night, or if they think someone is in a rush, the driver will probably refuse to use the meter, and overcharge whatever they can get away with. On top of that, the fact that the terminals are so far away from each other also means that they won't check luggage through to the final destination, so you have to go to baggage claim and schlep all your stuff to the other terminal. That is, unless you know somebody, and I don't. In the end, I took the coach, which is about 30 minutes.

There's about a 45 minute line just to get into this terminal because the baggage screening is a bottleneck. After that, I waited another 45 minutes getting to the baggage counter, but they said I'm too early, and they can't take my luggage yet. So I'm killing a few hours at this cafe, at 60 rupees an hour, or about US $1.33/hour.

Around 4am, I'll try to check in my luggage so that I can go relax at the gate before my 8am flight. I guess I could have stayed the night in Mumbai, but I didn't really enjoy it here, so killing 5 or 6 hours in the airport was more appealing than trying to find a reasonable hotel to park in for half a day or something. For some reason, hotels are disproportionately more expensive (in my opinion) in India, and to find something reasonably clean probably starts at about US $50/night, and something comfortable goes up from there.

Hopefully, it's a quick and smooth stop in Frankfurt and I'll be home for dinner!

January 12, 2006

Thirteen and a half hours ahead of LA


Shortly after arrival in Bangalore, I was taken to Nandhini. Immediate happiness ensued. This is the meal ordered by one of my hosts, Pooja. Rice is the core item, and they set you up with various condiments, as well as coming around with ghee and other garnishes to mix into the rice. [and it's all-ru-you-can-eat-u]

By the way, the title of this entry is in reference to Indian Standard Time being 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Kevo also points out that there are other time zones on the half hour or even on a quarter hour adjustment from G.M.T.

Continue reading "Thirteen and a half hours ahead of LA" »

Last stop: Bangalore

Currently about 12:30pm on Thursday in Southern India.

After a little rushing around at the Goa airport with just minutes to spare, I had a great flight on Kingfisher Air (yes, the brewing company owns an airline as well). I'm now fortunate enough to be enjoying the kind hospitality of my friends' family in Bangalore. I'm here until Saturday, then I fly back home.

I also posted a few more pictures from Goa.

January 10, 2006

Goan crazy


Yeah, I'm in India.

This is on the stretch of beach between Calangute and Baga. Although this is Goa, where there are significant numbers of Christians (and hence, beef eaters), cows still enjoy a certain amount of deference. I saw another cow that was rumaging through some sunbeds where tourists are were laying out was simply shooed away.

Continue reading "Goan crazy" »

January 08, 2006

Sunny Sunday

Currently about 7:15pm on Sunday the 8th from Candolim, North Goa, India.

I spent the day walking through a market, shops, and a few miles up the beach (from Calangute to Baga). It's pretty hot in the sun - I drank 2 liters of water and haven't needed to make a pitstop. It's the high tourist season around here, but at least I spent today where tourists from India are hanging out.

I just put up a few pics in Goa snippets and Scratching the surface of Mumbai. Or just scroll down on the main page.

January 06, 2006

Goa on the Arabian Sea

Currently about 9:15pm, Friday the 6th in South India.

After a quick 1 hour flight from (where Jet Airways managed to even serve a respectable Indian meal - under the circumstances), I got myself on a bus going to the North Goa area, which is where my friends are all staying. There was no room at the inn, so I had to trek around the area with all my belongings, looking for a place to stay. It's the busy season now because the weather is nice, and the Western holidays means that many people come back from the US, so it has become the time many people choose to have weddings. The fifth hotel had a room.

Goa was under control and influence of the Portuguese for a long time, even well into the 20th century. As a result, there are some specialties showing both influences. I hope to taste several of these. And it's on the Arabian sea, and I'd like to get in and relax for a bit.

Goa snippets


This is the non-vegetarian in-flight meal from Jet Airways from Mumbai to Goa. It's chicken curry, rice, and a pea dish, as well as raita and a chapati. I'm sure Indians everywhere will scoff at this, but I have to say I thought it was a respectable snack. And actually most people cleaned their tiny tray. All this for a 1 hour flight, no less. We barely had time to get to altitude, be served, and eat it. Literally, the attendants were coming back down the aisle with the clearing cart as the plane had begun its descent, more or less drumming their fingers, waiting for people to finish in more or less the same order they got their food. In particular, I love two things about this meal, 1) although I am an avowed carnivore, I think it's cool that vegetarianism is entrenched enough in India to make the terminology veg and non-veg, whereas in the West we would normally say meat-less or meat-free or vegetarian (like it's a bad word), and 2) just like there might be tiny ketchup or mustard, there's a tiny disposable container of lime and mango pickle.


This is a dinner from a tiny family joint called Taste of Goa. I chose this place on a hunch, it was empty except for one South African family. And it definitely was cooked to order, because I waited about 45 minutes for it and almost nodded off in my Kingfisher beer. On the left is a fried pomfret (pompano), and on the right is pork vindaloo. It wasn't very spicy (I forgot to ask for it local style), but had a nice balance. Note the very authentic oil slick.

January 04, 2006

Scratching the surface of Mumbai

Or barely that, even. But here are a few things I tried. I didn't get much info about this leg of the trip beforehand, so I arrived in Mumbai without a hotel reservation. I used one of those places in the airport to pick a hotel in the general area of where my friends were, then I figured I'd move if necessary. It was and I did. They were so rude to me from start to finish. When I checked in, they wanted me to book for several days in advance. They overcharged me for water. The room itself was a shambles, and there was no hot water. Then when I checked out, the clerk kept giving me dirty looks and making clicking sounds with his tongue. Then as I was pulling away, he had the bellmen stop the autoshaw (tuk tuk), saying that I didn't return the key when I already had. The only thing good I got out of it was this recommendation for Sunraz restaurant. This is mutton kadai (spicy tomato gravy with green peppers), prawn pulao and a roti.


Continue reading "Scratching the surface of Mumbai" »

January 03, 2006

En route to Mumbai

I'm en route to Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Had a layover in Bangkok, ran over for a nice massage and Internet usage at a hotel which is connected to the airport via overpass, and am now headed back to the airport terminal.

Life is good.

November 29, 2005


Currently 7:05pm, Tuesday, November 29th in Kuala Lumpur.

If you are ever in Kuala Lumpur, and are intending to travel onward to India, and have gone to the India High Commission (embassy) but missed the hours for the passport services, then go back the next day during the proper hours, have all your paperwork filled out completely, and have your three passport photos, pay for all the proper copies, then wait in line patiently, with the fees ready in ringgit, then come up to the man with the impressive white handlebar mustache, beware: he may fuck up your plans.

Or at least, he fucked up my plans.

Continue reading "Thwarted" »