India Trip

Part 3: Mumbai to Delhi

4 min read by Jacob Maracle and Dmitri. Published in Essays, Stories.
A photo of a rotary engine plane, shot in Toronto (point of departure for Jacob) about six years ago on Diana Mini with some type of Lomography-branded film.

Read Part 2: Flight to Amsterdam.

Recap: Landed in Mumbai.

Forgot: Made friends with my seat-mate. A young kid (early 20s), who worked on ships and had traveled a good part of the world going from port to port. He was heading home to spend some time with his family from a city north of Mumbai, after having docked in Amsterdam. Tall tales about sea living!

Back to the narrative.

First crack at a border that ain't the ‘States! YAY! International traveling first! It’s midnight when I hit the customs officer; my visa has been valid for exactly zero seconds. Something that I would nervously laugh about during the interview. My brain is overwhelmed by the people and fried by the lack of sleep.

My second new first! Lost luggage! YAY! I was surprisingly chipper when I found out about it. Unintentionally initiated into the club of people that get to experience this when they travel internationally. This feeling was couple with the thought of “I’M GONNA BE LIVING IN THE SAME SET OF PANTS AND SHIRTS FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS!” and a bunch of maniacal laughter. Pro tip: maniacal laughter at the luggage gate at 1:30am in an airport isn’t the best way to go. Either through luck or some kinda tip I’d packed an extra shirt and set of boxers/socks in my carry on bag.

Sun rises and I load into my last flight towards Delhi to meet up with my travel partner with whom we would battle the sun, heat, train schedules, language barriers, stomach bugs, and endless negotiations. 

ANYWAYS! Lost luggage, lost Jacob in Mumbai airport! I stepped out of the baggage area through the exit and proudly looked around.

First thought: “YEAYER! NEW COUNTRY! NEW CITY!”

Second thought: “And the domestic terminal is… shit… I’m lost”

Third thought: “Is it this way?.. ooooorrr this way???.. hmm...”

Repeat that last one ad nauseum for 15 minutes.

After getting lost and found again I made it through the security checkpoint and got dumped out into a completely closed and empty terminal. First culture shock: seeing armed military manning security checkpoints. I know, I know, silly inexperienced traveler experience. Still though, it was kind of weird and off putting seeing security have to flex like that.

With 7 hours to burn in an empty domestic terminal I felt confident enough to try the bathrooms!

CAUTION: This doesn’t get too too explicit, but may be uncomfortable for those who don't like bathroom talk.

Cultural experience: the bathrooms.

As a general statement about my trip: there was only maybe twice where there was no western style toilet available and by that point I was used to it. These suckers were clean and first class, and thankfully empty for my experiment. The setup had an option for western style, but I decided, somewhat enthusiastically, that “You know what? I’m gonna have to figure this out at some point!” Knowing the little about the process that I did, after finishing my part, I took the hose and fired it at the wall to see what kind of pressure I was dealing with.

Wow.

Nope.

Nooooooooooope.

It could have blasted the colour off of the tiles.

Thank goodness for toilet paper!

My experiment concluded, I managed to send messages to family members letting them know I was still alive and had conquered the crapper conundrum. Touched base with Suraj who was pulling into Dubai. Mumbai Airport was beautiful, with magnificent 3/4 story art installations. Modern and brilliant. Also spied a North American burger chain that carried a Mutton Whopper as opposed to a beef. Kind of eerie being the only traveller in a terminal that was half-open. Ghost town. My kind of vibe.


Sun rises and I load into my last flight towards Delhi to meet up with my travel partner with whom we would battle the sun, heat, train schedules, language barriers, stomach bugs, and endless negotiations. 

Golden sunrise would pierce clouds and make the rivers of India look like polished, brushed brass where the water was calm and rough.

Sleep takes me over and when I wake up a we start descending under the clouds towards Gandhi International. Delhi begins through the smog, and keeps going on and on and on and on and on and on…

Till next time friends. Feet on the ground in Delhi!