March 27-28-29, 2010
03.27.2010 - 03.29.2010 79 °F
March 27, 2010
Interesting day this was to say the least. I left the regal Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in Mumbai at the ridiculous hour of 2 am to catch my Cathay Pacific flight from Mumbai to Bangkok. Got a few hours sleep and while waiting for my driver to pick me up I checked out the disco at the hotel. The music filled the lobby and it was 70’s to the bone and really contrasted with such a conservative place so checked the action out for a few minutes. Local Mumbai group and they were pretty good. The familiar songs took me home for a few minutes and were a nice send away. I absolutely loved the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The staff we’re excellent and very accommodating so if you ever do come to Mumbai there is no other place to stay in my now expert opinion. Funny story, as I check in the last evening the receptionist who checked me in asked me if I was a relative of Brad Garrett in a way that told me he had anticipated my arrival and hoped I knew the star of "Everyone Loves Raymond". I grinned and told him I wasn’t but really was a fan. I went on to tell him “my dad invented the security scanners that are now in every airport around the world”. Ok, the scanners are in most airports I have flown through including on this trip. You know them of course as we all hold our breath going thru praying they don’t beep and force into a body search area and the paddes they run up and down our legs and arms say GARRETT in big black letters and its was funny and ironic to each time I saw them coming at me as I have traveled around the world. Oh ya, I lied about my dad inventing them but hey, it was the first thing that popped into my head because I obviously needed to impress this guy somehow (LOL).
The most challenging part of my visit to India was the extreme poverty. On the way to the airport was the tragic evidence that my guide had alluded to during our great day together: People coming to Mumbai because they believe the streets were lined with gold and their village can not feed or care for them but housing is simply not affordable and especially for the many who can’t get employment of any sort other than begging and that looked to be millions in this city of 13 million. I need to share my feelings because this trip has and will continue to evoke so many. My heart literally broke yesterday as I watched a desperate Indian woman clutching her malnourished baby whose skin was calloused and scabbed and lay limp and lifeless in her arms. My guide spoke to the women through the closed car window in English so it was more to me than the women and said “why don’t you take care of your baby?” Those words and the sight of that mother and baby will haunt me for the rest of my life. I’m crying as I write this because that was the most poignant moment on my journey. The women knocking on my window as the driver speed away when the light turned green because the traffic demanded it. That feeling for helplessness to make a difference in her life has changed me forever I think. I still don’t know how but those words at the airport in Delhi from Gandhi that read “we must become the change we seek” must have some additional relevance. I have always believed in fate and fate found me in a big way at the moment in time at that place in the world that brought us together. Hey, you bought the ticket for this ride along with me so I need to share all I have experienced. I know that it will take me some time to process everything I have encountered both good, bad and ugly as the spaghetti western goes (ok, that’s for us old folk who know Clint Eastwood early movies). Rest will come very soon in Perth but my soul will probably not for a while, as so many moments come into focus and leave me with a lifetime of stories to share with my friends, family and especially dear nieces that I am Great Uncle to (how cool is that!). Thanks for letting me share. My flight nears Perth and I was able to watch the movie Amelia (quite appropriate). Darn, now I’m crying again, but I could really relate with this brave women whose dream was also to circumnavigate the world and understand in a special way some of her passion about flying. I loved the line in the movie at the end when she says just look up in the sky and I will be looking down at you (from about 39,000 ft I'll add). It’s a line I will have used at me remembrance when I’ve departed this earth because it so true! Bye the way you should have seen Singapore as we departed. The lights of the roads looked gold and the lights within the framework looked silver creating a tapestry of light and motion and it was pretty awesome not to mention the lightning storm right outside my window a short time later and not a bump of the airplane! Pretty cool…
March 28, 2010
G’dday from Perth Australia and my fifth continent on the journey and a city of a comfortable 1.5 million. Can’t express how much I have been anticipating this grand finale and the physical comfort it will bring and English. Even Aussie’s English I finally am able to communicate and this is a huge relief mentally. Last night’s 7 hour sleep was great and I thought I would sleep 12 hours or more and that was the plan but this, like every other stop, the anticipation of seeing where I am and enjoying as much experience while I’m here was too much and I hit the streets. I am staying in the CBD a common term overseas and means Central Business District. Not in the middle of huge building, they begin down the street, but a cross the street from the main Catholic cathedral and a great statement of classic ancient architecture in such a young and new city. It’s pretty pleasing to the eye and next to that is some fancy estate with gardens that blend with the church and where the Pppe stayed on a recent visit to Perth and that church. The balcony off my room overlooks that scene across the street and though it’s not completely without noise by some traffic it’s a sharp contrast to the other hectic and loud locations I have resided before here and it’s a very welcome change and is like Heaven. Weather is like San Diego I was told today so in a word PERFECT with consistent 70’s 80’s and is the sunniest city or capital city on the planet again something I was told on the Hop On Hop Off bus tour I took today. I love these buses because they really get you oriented and aware of interesting sights you can return to on your own on local bus or subway and really check out. I bought a pair of shorts and sandals today and couldn’t get them on fast enough and now I’m in bliss. Didn’t take any as I was unsure about customs and I didn’t want to piss off the natives with these legs! LOL. Heading to the coastal city of Freemantle and probably Robbins Island tomorrow to bask in the clear skies and do what you always do at the beach, drink beer, people watch and maybe even do a little body surfing. Catch you next time with more details so do stay tuned!
Amelia for Marco Polo you take your pick…
March 29, 2010
Ok now I slept 11 hrs a new record and I’m feeling like Superman! Having breakfast at McD’s not only because I like the breaks here and anyone who really knows me knows that simple fact but they have free WiFi as I was not about to pay the hotel $20.00 per day (ouch!). After I upload this I will head back to hotel and pack the computer, grab my suntan oil and head to the coast. It’s a picture perfect day in paradise and I’m going to “Become the Change I Seek” today!