This weekend I missed going to Mumbai because some folks from work decided to go to Konkan. It was a nice trip with folks from work. There were 8 of us in total. We all got to work super early on Saturday so that we could leave early. We rented a van with a driver, something I know that’s done by everyone, but it was my first time renting one myself. The van ride and driver were experiences among themselves. He was a crazy driver. What’s worse is that my friend told me that he’s not as bad as one they had for a different work outing. Apparently that time they told him to slow down and drive a little more in controlled (because he was going back and forth on both sides of the road and just a little reckless) and he got out of the van and said that he wasn’t going to drive anymore. It took us a while to say anything but he basically just ignored us. Then at a certain point he refused to change the music. I didn’t particularly mind, but the music was old Indian Bollywood music from the 60s and 70s. There were a few times that I thought we might crash. The thought crossed my mind that if we were in the US he would be pulled over for drunk driving (he wasn’t drinking nor was he drunk) or he might just have his license taken away.
We drove for quite a while, passing through small towns (which the driver never slowed down in). As it got dark I thought of driving through back roads in the US; it made me a little homesick. It was really nice driving through nature, getting out of the city again. When we got there it was pretty late. We tentatively booked a hotel, but when we took a look at it, it was gross, overpriced, and ended up taking the one across the street from it. The boys took one room, the girls another. Each room had a bathroom and 2 cots. We got 2 more mattresses, which we put on the floor. We quickly headed out for food. This proved harder than we thought because there were two vegetarians (myself included) and the first 3 places we found were 100%nonveg. We finally found a place, sat down and anxiously waited for food. After dinner we took a walk on the beach. It was beautifully pitch dark. The only lights were some on the path to the beach, and once we got farther away from the road, the only lights were those of the moon and stars. I can’t remember the last time I was in that much natural darkness. I loved it. We said we would get up to see the sunrise; I think 2 of the guys made it. The sunrise wouldn’t have been over the ocean anyway. Random note, but I’m excited to say that I’ve been to many bodies of water. I’m not sure why this excites me, but I’m happy to add the Arabian Sea to my list (West coast of India).
In the morning we woke up for a walk on the beach and I had my first try swinging a cricket bat. It wasn’t easy, but once I started swinging it more like a baseball bat, I did much better. Then we showered up, packed up, ate some poha, and got driving with our crazy driver to Janjira, a fort in the middle of the sea, constructed at the end of the 16th century by the Siddy dynasty. This fort, a marvelous site, was never conquered by anyone. It’s 22 acres big and took 22 years to build. You can only enter the boat from the main entrance, and when it was in use, you were only allowed to enter if you had the currency; the emblem was engraved on the front gate. The door to the market is made of 900-year-old wood from Burma. They started digging in one spot of the fort, not for freshwater, but because they were running out of bricks. Instead, they found a source of freshwater. Apparently, the fort was inhabited until 1972.
After that, headed back in the van ride of fear and nausea (it was really that bad) for an hour or so, stopped for food, and headed home. I opted out of going salsa dancing for sleeping early. It was worth it. I woke up, taught, had a meeting, ran to see a demo lesson, and came home to make chili. I was so excited about it. I’m hoping Erin’s right when she says that it usually takes a day in the fridge. It’s not bad, but it’s not Erin’s chili. I am happy, however, to be eating non-Indian food. At some point last week I capped out. I have an aversion to it; I’ve been going on sandwiches, salad, and cereal. At the “Fine Foods” (foreign food supermarket) in my neighborhood I can get lettuce (not easily found everywhere). I walked in one day last week ready to make a salad for dinner and to my surprise they didn’t have any lettuce because delivery day was the following day. When I walked in the next day they immediately said that they had my lettuce. I was in heaven. I kind of feel like that right now with my not-so-amazing chili.

    • santosh
    • February 18th, 2011

    Hey Ana,
    I feel your writting is a travelogue kind of writing which gives sense of genuine experiences. I wish you could come up with more experiences like this & share this with everyone.
    Till then keep writting 🙂


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