Newark New Jersey to Mumbai India
Imagine my excitement at 7am the next morning when I woke up in the lovely Newark New Jersey, the gateway of my dreams! I had an eight hour layover to adventure around the city, so naturally, where do you think I went? Jersey Gardens Mall!
No kidding. Since the cabs there cost more than my kidneys and I had some shopping to tend to, I got a shuttle from the airport and reverted to the 11 year old mall rat I used to know. We lost a few items in our hostel hopping month in Peru, so we replentified our supply of necessities, mailed home the last bit of South American knick-knacks, and feasted on some of the American food I yearned for, buffalo wings and cinnabuns! Mmm mmmm!
We had a plane to catch at 10:30pm, a 15 hour flight to Mumbai, India. The flight was actually pretty comfy. The TV’s on the back of the headrests helped a lot! I watched two movies before I popped the rest of the sleeping pills I bought I Peru, and I was off to LaLa land. I woke up and we were there; my morning, Mumbai's evening.
It was 8:30 their time and I was wide awake.
We hopped in a little taxi and, in a short fifteen minute drive in the rain, it's monsoon season, we were at the Ace Residency hotel. It was an alright hotel, clean and spacious and after some of the shanties I have stayed in, I was perfectly content.
One odd thing was that there was no shower curtain, no separation between the shower area and the toilet at all, just one open room.
We headed out, in search of food, and hired a rickshaw to drive us on our hunt.
An auto rickshaw is a rickety jalopy half car, tricycle mobile. They can get up to about 34 mph and the ride is turbulent at best. All autos drive on the left, or wrong, side of the road here. Actually, scratch that. They are SUPPOSED to, however they pretty much do what ever they like. Some of the roads are in such poor condition that the cars have to bob and weave through obstacles of crater-like pot holes, bathtub sized puddles and stray dogs. It makes for an interesting ride.
Back on topic. We headed down the bumpy road a block or two and came to a little area with three restaurants. We eenie meenie mineied between and my mother told me to pick the very best one, a mildly elegant restaurant called Chakra. We weren’t even sure if anything would be open as it was now pushing 11pm. To our surprise and relief they were open and lively. We found out later that Indian people typically eat dinner late, around ten pm and most places still serve full dinners until one or two in the morning. We were greeted with warm smiles and impeccable service, something now foreign to us having just come from a country where the waiters would barely acknowledge you let alone crack a smile. The soft, uncrossed atmosphere was comforting and we were admiring our surroundings in awe. I needed a drink after the long flight, even if it was my breakfast time, so I ordered a cucumber Collins, a tasty spin on the traditional Tom Collins.
Our dinner was everything I'd looked forward to after the bland nothingness of the typical south American French fries and white rice meal. We had a spicy chicken dish and mutton along win garlic naan (a hindi, oven-baked flat bread). Saucy and rich with the best use of spices known to man. I was living in a food fantasy. Our waiter, one of five who were constantly but not obnoxiously at our beckon call, brought around a mouth- watering dessert tray filled with ice creams, custards, mousses, and cakes. They only thing that I was puzzled about was a dish with two ball-shaped cake rounds in a clear sauce.
I was intrigued and they were delicious. Gulab Jamun, also called 'waffle balls' is a popular dessert served in Pakistan, Nepal, and India. The dough is made mainly using milk solids and is served either warm or cold in sugary syrup. It is fattening and it is good.
I think I've made a new goal for myself, to gain as much weight as possible, since its pretty much inevitable. That way, when I get home, instead of being disappointed that I've become such a fatass, I'll feel accomplished that I have achieved my goal.