28 September 2013

Mumbai - Goa (India) (8)

View from our room at Taj President, Mumbai

A sort of sad good-bye this morning to Mumbai and the Taj President Hotel. Mumbai's noise will not be missed yet it has been a great stay and the hotel service has been extremely pleasant.  The trip to the airport took approx. an hour over the amazing sealink - this road, built in the sea, took about 7 years to complete and makes a huge time saving in the grid-locked roads of the city. There is a toll fee but well worth the price for a little bit of  speed! No honking is supposed to be allowed on this bridge - I wonder who this sign is aimed at as nobody takes a blind bit of notice! There are numerous shacks along the way - feels like the N2 Cape Town!!
Checking in for Jet Airways we had to pay for 12 kilos of excess baggage. Not sure how their scales reached this amount as we were only 38 kgs coming from South Africa - but it is no good arguing. Perhaps this is just Jet Airways method of making extra money from foreigners? There are very few International tourists who would only have a 15kg bag per person unless they are back-packers or intend buying all their clothes in India.
The Security check point is split into sexes! Metal detection is used on everybody. There are no announcements for boarding so make sure you are sitting near your boarding gate and keep an eye on the locals. When they start lining up, follow suit! At the point for the bus, all bags are checked again for Security stamps. My handbag did not have one, even though it had gone thru the machine so my boarding pass was taken away from me and I had to go back to Security. Needless to say, I was not impressed by this service - if the staff at Security had done their jobs efficiently, I would not have been subjected to this extra stress of thinking that I would be left behind!!!! Slap-dash security at Mumbai Domestic airport is not confidence boosting.
So, not a good start to the flight. The plane was a Boeing 737 - 800 - very modern and new. There were a bunch of very noisy people - some guy was obviously cracking jokes which made the rest laugh and laugh and laugh. Not being able to understand the language meant that it was just plain irritating!
The flight is only 45 minutes to Goa so service was brisk - a veg or chicken roll with juice and water. Unfortunately, there was some turbulence so I started feeling ill. According to James, the plane was virtually on the runway, when the pilot announced very low visibility due to a sudden rain squall and he had to abort the landing. Not good for my motion sickness problem. It took another 10 - 15 minutes of pure hell for me, eyes closed, praying for a smooth landing and the end of the feeling ready to puke. Luckily, I didn't.
Bag collection at Goa was another nightmare - hundreds of people jostling near the carousel. It always amazes me that bags go on together yet come off nearly 20 minutes apart. Anyway, the bags eventually arrived and we made our way outside to be met by a rep from Averina Beach (Holiday Inn) Vey pleasant and full of smiles, he welcomed us to Goa and introduced us to our driver.
It is a 50 minute drive from the airport to the hotel through very winding roads, with many speed-humps! Goa is incredible green, with huge palm trees and lush vegetation. High humidity! Houses and small apartment blocks line the road with little shops every now and again. The welcome from our hostess, Melissa, was warm and friendly - this is so important, especially after my horrendous flight! Ice cold apple juice went down smoothly and we were shown to our room. Quiet and spacious as requested, it's gorgeous!
Our next mishap was the laptop getting wet - I don't even want to contemplate the fact that all our photos and videos of Mumbai may be lost - the thought is just too depressing for words. Now it is down to my Asus only and, holy cow, let's hope this can stay dry!
I was terrified of falling on the way to the bathroom during the night as the floors get so wet - air-con plus high humidity seem a huge problem here. The floors are tiled and very slippery.
To cheer ourselves up (very difficult) we took a walk on the beach. Apparently, we cannot swim in the sea due to strong currents prevailing due to monsoon season - can it get any worse? It was very low tide so we walked as far as the river mouth. We spotted many fishing boats, some larger than others, still out fishing. On the way back, we saw a few people in the sea just up to their knees and the life-guards were standing guard. Goa is all about beaches - we are obviously just a tad too early for the good beach vibe in the Indian winter (November/December)
Breakfast and Supper buffets are included in our package so after a cold shower we set off to sample the buffet wares. Curry, curry and more curry. Once again, the staff are very polite and friendly and explained all the dishes. James opted for chicken (very hot!) and I stayed with vegetarian. All very tasty, some hotter than others.
An early night was called for and the bed is extremely comfy so hopefully tomorrow will be better????

© Judelle Drake

No comments: