Monday, April 11, 2016

Namaste Mother (in) India!

After the first guestblog on hopsnspice by Indiadam, here is the second by my Mum who has just returned to Germany after a two week holiday in India which took her and my Dad not only to Mumbai but also a hill station, Rajathan and Goa. And it's even in English!


To be honest when I first heard Ju and Indiadam were trying to work and live abroad for two or three years, my first thought was: hopefully not India!
But as they got best offers in Mumbai they moved there in the beginning of November
(as readers of this blog already know :-)
So I  had to start changing my opinion - and of cause  prejudices -  against India by reading books about „Mother India“, by talking to people who have been there and by planning to take the next chance we get to travel to Mumbai.
Easter holidays came and we started our trip well prepared with facts, a lot of medicine – just in case- and looking forward to it a lot.

We arrived in Mumbai Airport and were picked up by Ju and Indiadam and their driver. Immediately we got an idea about traffic in Mumbai, although it was a Saturday night. Horns are a kind of conversation between all cars, rikshaws and even bikes. So even if you think, there must be lots of accidents, there a only very few.
We spent our time at a very lovely hotel in Powai, which was a great start to discover Mumbai and to start our India route, because we could easily relax after enjoying a couple of hours in town. So we discovered Mumbai Central with a very nice guide from „Magic Mumbai“ and Bandra, a really nice part of this town guided by Ju and Indiadam.

Crawford market
South Mumbai by night

After two days we took a little break from noise and traffic in the Mumbai mountains. Just  two and a half hours ride from Mumbai we stayed  in a very beautiful treehouse – the Canopy-  in a kind of  jungle (surely even more expressive after the monsoon). Big surprise: because of barking wild dogs with the full moon and a lot of wind the night was much louder than in the Mumbai hotel :-)

During our Easter day and the Indian Holi we flew we all flew to Rajasthan to enjoy Holi in Jodpur and then go to Udaipur by car.
Holi was a really great experience! Don´t know on how many pictures  we are to be seen with young Indian guys. After about three hours of fun we decided to go back to the very  quiet and beutiful Balsamand Lake Palace – it took nearly the same time to get clean again!

Jodhpur Fort
The colours of Holi

On the way to Udaipur I got one lesson concerning prejudices.: During our first hour in the car we had several discussions with the driver to pay more attention to the streets than to his mobile, dealing with new jobs. He seemed to be a bit annoyed by us and vice versa.
By the way, a short time later he stopped on the „Indian highway“, got off and showed us one broken wheel. So what to do in the middle of nowhere? He made us leave the car, walk about 500 metres along the road (don´t worry, cows do the same) turned  round (don´t worry about wrong direction) and promised to be back in 15 minutes.
Our luggage, including camera, Ipad and our passports with him! To be honest again, I was worried – and even Indiadam was not really relaxed. Time to think about something I have learned reading about India: In the end everything will be ok, and if not, it is not the end!
And after 20 minutes he returned, picked us up and apologized for the problem. All in all, we had a safe trip to Udaipur with him, even if he took us for lunch to the only really bad Indian dinner.

Udaipur is the prettiest town we got to know on our first India trip. Surely because it is less loud, less dirty and there is less traffic in the old town because of very small streets. Also, over there is the very pretty Lake Pitcho (if you don´t know it yet: watch  James Bond Octupussy), the Jagdish Temple,the City Palace, several very nice shops and markets, even a German bakery and a lot of wonderful rooftop bars and restaurants. When we had dinner on Easter Sunday we enjoved a magical view and really good Indian food and felt a bit like being in Venice. Sorry to compare!


Lots of shopping

If you are thinking about where to stay: Staying in the Jaiwana Haweli Hotel with a view of the most beautiful (and expensive) hotel on the Lake Pitcho instead of being in it is worth thinking about!

Last days in India. Time to relax! We went to Goa to enjoy the Arrabian Sea and a very good Boutique Hotel – the Chanti Morana in Candolim with a spa, very well cooked Indian food and a great garden and pool. Both beaches we visited were great: Candolim Beach with lots of shacks, happy hour cocktails, beach restaurants and a very long sandy beach (indeed we did two walks despite of the 35 degree- heat); Morjim Beach with a lot of coconut palms, huts to eat and to stay and young Indian women offering jewelry, scarfs and treatments and as well nice talks about the  European and Indian way of life!

After two weeks we returned to Mumbai for a last dinner with Ju and Indiadam, before we went to the airport again, even more familiar with the no traffic rules, the honking conversation and the friendly driver calling us Madam and Sir.
During our stay we decided to look for (and we have already got a good one!) a serious organisation  to spend money for poor children in India. So it was easier to react like this, and better not to react to the people knocking on our car window hoping for some coins.

In our luggage were a lot of scarfs and others Indian souvenirs, and even more importantly,  a very good feeling about India, Indian people and the way those people manage their life – which is very different to ours.

To us India was not only good in the end -  we had a great beginning and we are looking forward to coming again next year!

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