April 15, 1978, Sat.: I had landed at Bombay Airport late in the evening of the 14th on the Seychelles-to-India leg of my 1978 TOUR from Kuwait
- where I had worked at KISR for 1 1/2 years on an extended sabbatical leave - back home to Millersville University, PA.
At the airport, I had exchanged $ 50 for 780 rupees, and a fellow passenger had shown me to the nearby Centaur Hotel, where I tumbled in bed at 23:00. Thanks to the excellent sound proofing, I only woke up at 09:30 on this ominous (IRS) date.
During breakfast in the coffee shop, I read the newspaper that had been shuffed under my door, then visited the Air India representative to arrange my next booking. Back at the hotel I took a swim, drank a coconut and ate a sandwich before ordering a taxi to take me through some poor and congested parts of town to Juhu Beach.
|Juhu beach was quite long, wide, clean and empty at his time of the day. The fine-grained sand made it hard-packed and ideal as a tourist beach. I noticed a sand sculpture representing Lord Buddha||I took 3 profiles about 300 ft long and found only 6 g of tar in one. I talked with the driver of a camel-cart who rented out donkeys, bought some shell souvenirs and drank a quenchy glass of cane sugar pressed on the spot in a hand-turned contraption|
|Back at the Centaur, I took a rest, then caught a courtesy bus of Air India for a half an hour exciting trip to the Terminal Building,
What all people, impressions and contrasts! Old stately buildings now packed full with stores. Vendors of hardwood images, little naked boys
running around and rolling in dirty waterpuddles, one climbing a pile of debris in a "King of the Hill" version consisting of shameless
defecation right at the top - without subsequent use of any toiletpaper or "botol tjebok."
There were three gossiping young ladies on the bus who taught me the essentials of the language: "Lamaste" = greetings and "Dhanyavad" = thanks!. We passed a man carrying balanced on his head four large bags, old men pushing very thin handcarts, many movie-theaters, crowded traffic with much hooting, some tricycles and Victorias, bullock carts and a man on a large motorcycle with a woman and several children ensconded in the side-car. Large apartment buildings all over, as well as an interesting sounding "Mother India" Hotel.
Then suddenly a large Bay and everything becomes neater and more "civilized", on the approach to Chowpatty Beach, along the Dr.N.A. Purandare Marg. (or Marine Drive?)
Overpasses and cane pressers. Houses lined with thin pole scaffolds tied together the old-fashioned "Boyscout" way. Double decker buses. A "Hotel Dimples" to remind me of Auntie Dimples in Jo'burg... finally, the Hotel Oberon where the trip ended and we were invited to return with the same bus at 22:00...