Saturday, June 1, 2013

14 Hour Layover in Mumbai

Today I began my journey towards Africa for the Hanks Aero Adventures, "Self Fly Safari".  As I was preparing for departure from Singapore, I reviewed my itinerary and realized that I had a 14+ hour layover in Mumbai on the way to Johannesburg :-(

I decided to make the most of it.  So I booked a hotel because I knew I had to escape the airport.

When I actually arrived, I landed more than 30 minutes early and so I had even more time to explore.

First I took a prepaid taxi and even splurged by paying the extra 30 Rupees (75 US cents) for an air conditioned car.  After dropping off my luggage at the hotel and getting some great advice from a friendly concierge, I was off.

I took an autorickshaw, which is shown below, to Juhu Beach.

These autorickshaws are all over town, cheap and readily available.  The wildest part is having the "up close and personal" view of the mayhem that is Bombay traffic!

When I got to the beach, I marveled at some of the sand sculptures, such as the one below:

Then for lunch, I had to sample one of my favorite street foods in Bombay, which is Pav Bhaji and fresh coconut juice.  The serving of fresh coconut juice is quite an experience to see.  They literally open the coconut by hand with a machete and then you drink (and/or eat) directly from the coconut shell!

After that I took a regular taxi to the Gateway of India and Taj hotel.  It was a beautiful day for pix at this famous tourist spot, as you can see below: 

At this point, I still had plenty of time to rest a bit at the hotel, have a nice meal at one of the countless nice restaurants in town, and still make it back to the airport in plenty of time for the final 8 hour  flight segment!

Stay tuned for how the actual safari goes.... (I am not sure what sort of connectivity I will find along the way... But I will post when I can...

== T.J.==

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