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Back to Bombay and Beyond

Friday, February 15th, 2008


So my fate brought me back to Mumbai, just a little early than anticipated.  I made my way through the uncharacteristic cold dawn air and mist on a local train towards Chembur.  A short time later I climbed the flight of steps to Ratnadeep’s door and rang the doorbell.  Surprise; I’m early!  He unexcpectedly but warmly welcomed me in, and for the next week I was at home again.     [read on]


Friday, February 8th, 2008

All sleeper tickets to Mumbai are booked for a solid week, but I must escape the magnetism of Gokarna before I become a permanent fixture in the wave kissed sand.  The beach of Arambol in Goa sounds like a nice stop on the way north, and it happens to be home to a reputable Tabla instructor, so I board a second class train headed there.  Even if people are packed in so tight that I’m left hanging out the door, it’s only a two hour trip so it shouldn’t be that bad.    [read on]

A New Year…

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

I have already been in Mumbai for fifteen days. Half a month of time has passed in a flash. The only famed tourist spots I’ve seen are the Gateway to India and Chhathatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the busiest train station in Asia; but these were only because of their necessity as transportation hubs. That isn’t to say I’ve been lying idle and wasting my time here. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Many moments of philosophical discussion amongst drunken banter have helped to shatter previous thoughts of exoticism and misconceptions that my opinions of this country where based on. [read on]

Enter the Big Boss

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

A long day of transport via motorcycle from Murud to Alibaug, a short hike to the bus station, bus to the jetty, catamaran to the Gateway of India, taxi to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, local train to Chembur and finally an auto-rickshaw to Ratnadeep’s home is only continued a few hours later with a car–ride to Madh Island and the beach cottage where we would celebrate the changing of the year. The day is mostly uneventful, yet unfortunately uncomfortable due to the return of my old arch-rival, the stomach bug which has plagued me since Nepal. It is on this fateful day that I come face to face with the Big Boss, king of all toilets! [read on]

Maharashtran Royal Legacy

Friday, December 28th, 2007

With my work complete, I look for a fulfilling way to spend the rest of the day. While a pristine palm-line beach is under my feet, beckoning with the calls of a lazy afternoon sipping rum drinks by the shore, I don’t waste my time relaxing but rather take the motorcycle to the nearby ruins of Janjira Fortress; an impregnable castle sitting in the Arabian Sea. Its steep, twelve-meter walls literally rise out of the ocean and have been effective enough to keep it safe from invaders over the last thousand years. Since the fortress is no longer necessary it has fallen into a state of ruins, but the only way to reach it is still via sailboat from the nearby shore. [read on]

Further down the Konkan Coast

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Day two of my excursion down the coast between Mumbai and Goa; this day I hired a motorcycle to speed up the journey in hopes of accomplishing my mission before the deadline.    [read on]

Welcome to India: Part III: A different kind of good

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

On a lead for a well paying stock photo shoot, I quickly packed my bags and set off on a short trip south of Mumbai.  The Misson: a beach panorama for a 3m tall mural in a London children’s hospital.   While I was already supposed to be in Goa for the New Year’s celebrations, which would have made the assignment easier, I couldn’t refuse another invitation from Ratnadeep to ring in 2008 with all of my Mumbai friends.  So now I am set for a unique excursion to the beaches along the north Konkan Coast and waters rarely frequented by foreign tourists.    [read on]

Hottest Christmas Ever

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

My iPod is fixed.  It costs a full day and the equivalent price of a new piece of hardware; all spent in hopes of recovering seven-thousand songs, countless photos and other data stored on it.  Alas, it is all lost anyway… they manage to upgrade the hard drive another 20gb and also replace the ill-fated collection with about two-thousand Bollywood and Hindi hits.  This unexpected alteration to my music, the only thing I really found familiar during my travels, will now provide me with a more appropriate soundtrack to the true culture shock I’m due to find here.    [read on]

Welcome to India: Part II: The Good

Monday, December 24th, 2007


Enter Mumbai; time warp to a very different space in this word.  The population is still bursting at the seams and the traffic is simply horrific.  Long gone are the astroturf vests. Here is the realm of skin-tight bellbottoms and pastel pink shirts.  The 70’s disco fashion is still in vogue here, but Saris, Sikh turbans, Muslim Kufi hats and face shrouding Burkas are also common sights.    [read on]