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Written on: Friday January 18th, 2008

A journal entry from: ASIA PART II

Shastri Ngr, Linking Road

Santa Cruz West

I arrived Sunday night in Mumbai. Prior to landing the cabin was sprayed with a disinfectant. An announcement was made and it was clarified that inhalation of this aerosol was safe. It was unsettling watching the flight attendants in their masks as they fumigated the passengers. It seemed like an eternity while I waited for my pack at the baggage carousel. Deep down inside I was hoping that somehow it was left behind in Manila and that my trip would be postponed. I should of wished harder, because there was my backpack and sure enough it was intact and untouched. Welcome to India, there was no turning back now.

First on the agenda, I needed Indian Rupees so I could get to where I didn't know where I was going. I had researched that Colaba district was the place where I needed to be. I found the prepaid taxi set-up and reserved a cab to take me to Colaba - the ride was approximately two hours from the airport. The walk outside to find my cab was frightening. There were crowds of people pressed up against each other and the barricades, women in their vibrant saris or black burkas stood staring and the men and children clamoring for your attention. It was disorganized, chaotic and difficult to communicate with those who were there to help me find my way.

So I never did end up in Colaba. I met Girish and somehow I was convinced to tag along with him to Juhu. It's a story to tell in person, but him and his housemate Dushynt were a godsend. Both cool cats were deejays and they showed me how to kick it Bombay style. From rooftop restaurants to beachside cocktails, I have had quite the local perspective. I was able to feel the glitz and glamor of an exclusive grand opening event at a 'seven-star' hotel, Sahara Star. But I was humbled as I walked outside one of Asia's largest slums, Dharavi.

I wandered the streets on my first day and was impressed by the fusion of architecture found all over the city. The following day I took the ferry out to Elephanta Island to see the ancient rock-cut temples. The main cave was amazing and I had a wonderful guide, Shirish, that explained the significance of the beautifully sculpted panels and really brought them to life.

An Indian metropolis nonetheless, overcrowded and overpopulated, but the energy here is powerful. The streetlife speaks volumes to you and leaves an impression that one wishes they could forget but knows they never will. I've been lucky enough to catch the sun sinking into the horizon everyday since I've arrived. There is nothing quite like it, savoring kesar-pista kulfi on Chowpatty beach watching the sun turn the sky into a brilliant orange as it sets into the Arabian sea. India Tourism calls their country Incredible India.. I can't wait to find out how incredible it really is.


From Dana Guest on Feb 1st, 2008

Wow! Sounds like so much fun! Some of your pictures are amazing. I had no idea that you were such a good writter! Hope you're having a blast Dianne!!!

From nlienker on Feb 1st, 2008

Absolutely beautiful photography Dianne. I love the black and whites. Take good care of yourself...

From Kim from Norway on Feb 1st, 2008

¡Hola Dianne! Glad to hear that you are ou in the free world again. Good story and nice pictures! I am in Colombia right now and absolutly love it!!Have been working volunteer in ecuador for a while and now I will soon start doig it here in a orphanage too. Enjoy and take care. Kim

From Chris Rogers on Feb 1st, 2008

Nice! I love Mumbai! Expensive, but easily my favorite indian metro.

From Erin Ross on Feb 1st, 2008

Wow. I don't know what else to say... it seems really amazing so far lady! Keep safe and keep having crazy adventures!!

From Melanie on Feb 1st, 2008

Glad to see you are having a great time. The pictures are great. Be safe and take lots more pictures.

From jAnNaH on Feb 1st, 2008

cuz, u know now how to use ur cam haha... shots are great! tc, miss u...

From john v on Feb 2nd, 2008

Looks very beautiful from the well taken pics and from the crazy profesional writting! Wish you good times always!

From Jessica on Feb 2nd, 2008

Wow! Those are some gorgeous pictures. Hope you're having an adventure. :)

From Apple on Feb 4th, 2008

Nice one dianne... Just like how we talked about it... I so want to experience that :-P Be safe ayt? great, you're having a blast...

From Brenda on Feb 7th, 2008

Hi Dianne! Thank you so much for sharing your travels and beautiful pictures with me. What a gorgeous place to be, and the people are so good looking there! Wow! Take care and send more updates and pictures. Luv ya.