What do James Bond, Jason Bourne, and John Candy have in common?
After two nights and days here I hopped on yet another night bus south to the "lake city," Udaipur. James Bond fanatics may know this city from the wild car chases in Octopussy. I however have not seen this film so I can't say much more than that. The city is renowned for its position on a large lake and the palaces which are situated by and within the lake. The one disappointment was that the lake was quite dirty which detracted from the "romantic" setting. Although to be fair, watching the sunset over the lake from the roof of the guest house was one of the more memorable moments of the trip to date.
Opting to spend more time exploring southern India I spent only two days in Udaipur and traveled south to the Goa region by two more (and hopefully the last two) night buses with a day stopover in the city of Mumbai. Although I only spent around ten hours in the city, I was astonished at how different the city was from the rest of India. It was much more developed, less chaotic and had a very modern feel. The architecture of the city center was reminiscent of England, particularly the large and modern train station. After a day of wandering the city I caught my bus and arrived at one of the more interesting moments of my trip. Upon booking my sleeper compartment for the bus, I foolishly assumed that I booked a single. Boarding the bus I realized that the entire bus was full of only doubles. I was initially quite relieved to find that upon leaving the city, I had my double to myself. This sadly all changed about three hours into the journey at a small town where a large group of Indians boarded the bus. Now I know what you may be thinking, Indians are generally small individuals therefore I should have little trouble sharing a double with a stranger. This assumption is correct as a whole but I managed to stumble upon quite the abnormality. Rumbling down the aisle towards me was a young Indian fellow who although shorter than myself, was approximately twice my size. Similar to a previous inter-island flight in Hawaii with an abnormally large seat mate, I watched in horror as this young man walked slowly down the aisle, examining the bunk numbers and arriving at last at me. Although I may be incorrect in this analogy as it has been quite some time since I've seen the movie, imagine John Candy and Steven Martin sharing a double bed in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." I spent the evening crammed against the window avoiding body contact and trying to ignore the loud snoring coming from my bunkmate. Needless to say, last nights rest here in Goa was much needed.
Which brings us to Palolem, Goa. Continuing with our movie theme for the post you may recall this little beach town from the opening chase scene in the Bourn Supremacy. It's a beautiful little town tucked into a cove along the Arabian Sea surrounded by lush green forests and palm trees. Oddly enough this is the town which I have found the most tourists although I have yet to stumble upon another American this trip. I will be spending two nights here before heading north in hopes of finding a deserted beachside town to spend a few days relaxing and reading before continuing my journey south to Kerala. On that note, I am off to have a nice seafood lunch and beer before renting a kayak and paddling out into the ocean for an afternoon of exploring.
Currently Reading: "Herzog" by Saul Bellow
Currently Listening to: "Radio Retaliation" by Thievery Corporation