From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Tue Apr 17, 2001 1:09pm
Subject: Excuse me, but Mecca is THAT way!
Visiting Mumbai this time around was a much better experience than last time. Getting over the initial culture shock; Mumbai which is India’s main seaport, turned out to be a very nice city with beautiful British imperial buildings and Indian monuments. Colaba is the travellers centre, and this part of town was the one I liked best. Of course everyone wants their fair share of your money – so hawking and overpriced services are prominous in the area. The Prince of Wales historical museum for instance just introduced a “foreign tourist” ticket which is priced at fifteen times more than the normal rs 10,- adult entry fee. My friend Mark and I never bothered to enter.
Right now I’m in New Delhi to meet up with my traveller companion for the upcoming couple of months. She is a very dear friend of mine from Norway, who is a journalist and a writer, and will hopefully provide me with some indepth background information on Buddhism and Tibet while we travel together in the vast Himalayan mountain range. I’m really looking forward to finally have someone to share all the experiences with for a longer period of time. I don’t know too much about Delhi yet since this is only my second day here. I’m staying in the Main Bazar area in Pahar Ganj, in a basic hotel called Vivek Hotel (Phone 0091 11 3512900 – if anyone want’s to give me a call). This area is wonderfully Indian; noisy, dirty, smelly, weird, and I suppose dangerous too. I hereby rename it to Main Bizarre, since I got my pockets picked yesterday and the guy got away with my wallet containing approximately rs 650,- and my drivers license. Bastard I really liked that leather wallet too. On Thursday we travel to Dharamsala by “Deluxe” bus (whatever that means) – I’ll let you know.
On the train from Mumbai to Delhi I met a bunch of interesting characters, amongst others an older muslim man from Saudi Arabia. We had some quite deep conversations about religion, but I must say he was very narrowminded in his views on life. And stubourn too! Here’s a laugh: He had asked at the Mumbai Bandhra station which way Mecca would be during the trainride, and they told him it would be on the righthand side of the train, but since we were travelling north, that would be east of course. Saudi Arabia is west of India so I told him that had to be wrong. He just kept on praying with his ass towards Mecca!