Six Days in India.
The person I am traveling to see.
Day One, Singapore Airport…..early.
It starts with a small joy. After checking for the fourth time that I was actually at the right gate (33F for thos people who like to know that information, possibly playing airplane gate bingo or such) at the right time, I find a seat over a little way away and settle down. Not to far though as I have this completely irrational fear that for some reason the good people of Singapore airport and all of the passengers will rush on board and close the gate in the whole time it takes to play through Tool’s song Eulogy. So I sit close, keep my eye on the door and give it the old ‘I have my eye on you’ to the X-ray machine which happens to be completely and utterly void of any activity and life altogether. Well I am two hours early so you know, but I still have my eye on it in that ‘I have my eye on you, you dodgy person you’ because one day, I might just completely lose my myself in something from a Tool album or a new style of Tablet at a technology store and well I miss my flight, stranded in Singapore holding nothing more than a Grande Mocha Frappuccino
..Which isn’t true, I have enough money to get by but it just sounds so damn gritty if I’m left destitute..
At Singapore Airport!
Or, on another note. If I was, then I am probably on a completely new level of stupid. If I did miss the flight and let’s just say I was completely stranded penniless at Singapore airport with nothing but a Grande Mocha Frappuccino to my name that means two things, 1. I used almost all of my money on a plane ticket to India, which isn’t’ the smartest thing in the world even though it is ever so romantic. Then with only $5.26 to my name I walk into a Starbucks and order with the remaining money I have in my entire existence and order a Grande Mocha Frappuccino.
Then miss my plane.. Imagine having to explain to everyone that story….
Soooo, that’s why I’m sitting there looking at an baggage X-ray machine two hours before the flight. For in about four hours or so I will land at Mumbai airport and hold my woman so let me tell you. There is no way in hell I am missing that flight..
So I go and check for the fourth time that I am at the right gate (33F). Which, of course I am.
After four hours and I don’t how many minutes, ( I mean who really keep count) the city of Mumbai slowly becomes closer and closer, and eventually the city reveals itself to me. I am here.. I am here! I can almost smell the smell that I can’t identify (possibly a vegetable mixed with Rickshaw exhaust)
Mumbai — Day one
Private, extremely private. Awesome, mind blowingly awesome. But private.. sorry
Mumbai — Day two.
Also private, I can tell you that I drank coffee, tea and an interesting new breakfast which consists of a oat based pancake and a sunny side egg on top. I know I know it sounds like it doesn’t work but brother (or sister) it works.. trust me! The rest.. sorry private.
Trust me, Delicious!!
Mumbai to Jaipur — day 3
Having been treated to another wonderful breakfast consisting of an oat based pancake with a sunny side up egg cooked on top, washed down with a cup of coffee with Vittoria beans we are off to the airport and fly out to Jaipur. Having never been to Jaipur I insist that it is “practically next door to the Himalayas!” Even though I am told quite flatly, “ no it’s not” however when I write to my friend and Mum I say we are off to Jaipur “Which is practically next door to the Himalayas! I can practically reach out and touch the top of mount Everest from our Hotel room!” Why? Because I’m shameless and if there is a chance to add some adventure to the location we are traveling to. Which is rather stupid, because well we are off to Jaipur and I have never been before.. So that stands for something. As I write this I wonder if the same would happen if a traveler from far off lands came to Australia (Don’t say down under, no one here says down under. Oh and whilst we are on the subject don’t drink Fosters, no one here drinks Fosters) and even though they are standing in Smith St Melbourne they write home and say “It’s practically next door to the outback and Uluru! I can almost see the rock now!” even though it will take you four hours by plane to just get within a two hour drive from the location… but you know.. adventure!!
We land in the usual way, plane’s wheels touch the ground, back first then the front and we disembark the usual way, door opens and we walk through the hole that the door used to fill and after few more selfies with crew and fans we head through the airport to the car. Where we are greeted by our security staff, three big burly blokes one sporting a ‘don’t mess with me leather jacket’. I find myself instantly sizing up their muscles and my own. Sadly in this case and if I remember correctly 100% of all other cases I lose to the contest and have to satisfy myself with the knowledge that if I needed to I could totally kick their arse in Kung Fu, as soon as I sign up for a course in Kung Fu and train for about ten years.. So they had better just wait!!
Feeling a little stupid for such a reaction, I mean it’s their job and they are greeting us with a smile and a professional opening of the door. I am here in Jaipur! Home of the pink buildings! The ride last for about twenty or so minutes and we arrive at the Hotel so I update my mental status. We are here, in Jaipur! And we are now at a Hotel in Jaipur!
Practically next door to the Himalyas!!
Checkout what the iPhone Panorama did tot he cars in the middle… plus the stretch car in the top lane! Awesome!
Actually did you know that in Jaipur that under the rule of Sawai Ram Singh, Jaipur was painted pink, traditionally a color associated with hospitality, for the grand welcome of Edward, Prince of Wales? The pink color is retained even today, and residents have to preserve it? I didn’t! Until I loaded travel.india.com and it told me, so you know… Now I do.
I don’t know what we do in Melbourne.. Oh yes I do! We show you photos of wildlife and then take you to the middle of the City where I am sure people say “Where is the wildlife that I have seen on the advertisements like Koalas and Kangaroos and such!” to which we would respond “no where near here! In the city the best you probably could hope for is a Pigeon or five thousand”
Welcome to Melbourne!!
The schedule in Jaipur is set so I have a little alone time as events start up. It’s a nice alternative to the crazy life back home so whilst things are discusses, issues are taken care of I sit back in the comfortable chair in our lavish suit and knowing I can do absolutely nothing to assist I chose to listen to book eight of Arisen. It’s about Zombies..Don’t you judge me
So I love Zombie apocalypse books. Love them.. No LOVE THEM! Started with Mountain Man and amazing book about a Canadian who when faced with dealing with the post apocalyptic world he chooses to, well not deal with it and so he drinks himself rather stupidly on a nightly basis. When others stole the food and medicine he stole the booze. It’s a brilliant tale and yes it’s a little more than a man and it’s alcoholic ways. If you read it then I guarantee you will buy a bottle of Captain Morgan Rum and from time to time look at the bottle and ask yourself “What is the captain thinking?” Anyway after reading those books I moved onto the Arisen series. I suspect that it’s actually written as a recruiting tool for the American military because it’s basically GI Joe against the undead. But I love it. So glancing out at life on the streets below, with the world going past on motorbikes, rickshaws and the occasional bus I listen to how a person names Homer (not Simpson) disarms Russian made subversive mines so the last aircraft carrier on the planet isn’t sunk and killing the last human who can help fight the virus and save the world goddamn I love this book!!
Oh did you know that “ Jaipur is one of the first planned cities in India. It was planned according to Indian Vastu Shastra by a Bengali architect name Vidyadhar Bhattacharya in 1727.The directions of each street and market are East to West and North to South?? I didn’t until I went to travel.india.com (not a sponsor. I’m just using them to sound more intelligent)
Time passes and before I know it, it’s showtime. A store opening! We arrive to the fanfare of women dancing, drums drumming and a store with clothes being, well clothes. We walk through the wonderful new store looking at the clothes when the store owner says that we have wifi “And not just slow wifi, but 4G wifi!” he says with pride. I smile to myself happy in the knowledge that deep in his heart he knows what a man wants in a store. Fast internet to browse while their Wives or Girlfriends shop for hours and hours and hours.. Occassionaly asking the single question (do you like what I am wearing) and the only answer you can give is this “Absolutely!”.
One single visit will bring thousands of people!The press event where the media ask their questions hard and fast!
It’s over and back to the hotel for dinner, more business and then back out to fashion walk. We drive past more pink buildings on the way back to the fashion walk and upon arriving walking through our wall of male guards we then proceed to the green room. I know what you are thinking? Was the room green!? And the answer to that question is no! It was not green! It was black! With a white couch, a mirror and a box or Biscuits half opened! Confused as to why green rooms are not green the schedule gets announced and it is this “you are on now”.. Succinct .
I move to the front of the stage making damn sure as to when Ileana goes on I am in the dead centre of the aisle. Except when I arrive there is a whole bunch of media already there.. They are pushy as media should be but the centre aisle is completly, and utterly empty. There are dignitaries who sit in the front section on lavish leather couches and lots and lots of people, a hell of allot of people sit behind them. But the middle, not a sole. Why is this I wonder? As it turns out it is kept clear so the dignitaries can have a clear view and not be blocked by the bums of the photographers. So I ask myself, should I stand here on the side where the rest of the media is to take photos of her walking down.. This, not so great angle (when it comes to catwalk shots angle is everything! Or do I move to the centre where I will probably be told off, maybe pushed aside.. Or who knows.
The question I ask myself is, do I want to show the dignitaries my bum?
She walks on stage…. Something comes over me and I bloody well move to the centre, stand there and take my shots. The trick in this situation is to make it look like you belong. That’s kind of hard because I am packing my Fuji X100 which for people in the know has all the guts of a full on camera, people who are not the know, the same people who might know allot about being a dignitary than photography’s it looks like grandpa’s old point and shoot. But I put on the stance and the look and fire off as many shots as I can before I am pushed aside. This doesn’t happen although during the shoot I see the sponsor of the event. The same person that walked through the store with Ileana look at me. I give him a winning smile and an enthusiastic thumbs up. He smiles back and I return to taking photos.
The angle you get when you run to the centre. Do not regret anything!
Stand on the sidelines and take a photo from an inferior angle?? Please….
Jaipur to Mumbai.- Day 4.
It seems at the airport that the entire city of Jaipur decide to wake up, have breakfast and then all decide as one to travel to the airport to catch a plane to somewhere. For when we arrive it is chaos. Absolute chaos. We negotiate the whole line and make it to the flight… There’s really nothing more to say about that, we hopped in a plane, the plane went up, the plane went down. Wonderfully dull..
Day five — Mumbai
Driving to the set for the movie I can’t mention that is being filmed and it takes place in an outer place studio lot somewhere in the outer part of the city. I know usually in travel journals and such people have a long description about the location they are visiting, it’s primary export etc.. However all I know is that it’s in the outside of the city and it’s a dedicated lot. Oh and it’s near a mountain side.
Yes I am aware of how pathetic I am sounding right now.
Anyway driving to the set I see the wonderful scene of life before me. I see a site that seems to be universal. Three men standing around a car, one man looking confused or the universal look of “ I have no freaking idea how to fix this car” and the two other men with the universal laughter of “your misfortune Is extremely funny to us!” Slaps on back all round and to finish it off the confused man even wiped his brow.. Classic. We are all alike underneath. No matter what culture you come from, or what race you are we can all come together as one and laugh at the misfortune of your best friend.
The world is a beautiful place, unless you are the person going through the misfortune, then the world is a asshole..
I arrive on set and I am immediately startled at how many people it takes to make a move. A simple way to describe it is this, on the way from the van to where the scene is being shot I counted about 75 people, and there was about 25 people inside the room it self setting everything up and making sure it’s as perfect as can be. I had no freaking idea.. None at all.
Then I was punched in the gut.
Metaphorically, don’t worry.. I was sitting there watching the monitors and the scene in front of me (sorry again I can’t say too much, well actually nothing at all) unfolded. And even though it wasn’t real, clearly it wasn’t real, the set is inside a big shed! As it unfolded. I found myself drawn into the moment, edging closer… lost… My heart rate quickened and as it unfolded I thought to myself.. Holy crap! Wait until people see this! Sure I’m biased but history will reflect.. Actually I’m pretty damn sure of it. It hasn’t been this good since Barfi.
Day six — Mumbai
With a coffee in my hand and the closing zip of my suitcase marking the sound of departure we make our way to Mumbai Airport. Driving up I marvel at the airport itself and how majestic it looks. The grandness of the design and how the they have achieved a tree canopy feel to the whole place. Honestly Mumbai, I’m not sucking up here, but I think you may have the most beautiful Airport in the world. It truly is.
Mumbai Airport is one of the most beautiful airports in the world (taken with an iPhone,)
So I bid farewell (private) and then board the plane to head back to Australia. Before i take off I check how my quest for the Rickshaw drivers of India to receive a national day of recognition is going. My tweet has three favourites and the Times of India hasn’t responded to me yet. I leave hopeful that upon my arrival the day will be secured and the proud drivers, the red blood cells of the country will receive their national day of thanks for if it wasn’t for them the city would grind to a halt.
..And also the truck drivers..
..Street cleaners, without them there would be no roads to drive on.
My love of Rickshaws will be never ending.