And so we have come to the exciting conclusion of our time in India! So, long story short, we spent 23 days in India. For 15 days of that time, at least one, if not both, of us was sick.
If you want to read about the last two days of getting out of India, keep reading! If not, just jump right into the videos!
We had intended to be in India for much longer. Basically, we were sick almost the entire time we were in India and we couldn't find food that wasn't making the problem worse. So, we thought the best thing to do was to get outta there and go somewhere with clean food to help us recover. The closest logical place for that was the UAE, especially Dubai. So, while Eric was throwing up one night, we decided we needed to escape. We were a few hundred kilometers away from an international airport at that point, and the normal mode of transportation into the city of Mumbai from our location was the train. Keep in mind, we were both fairly sick and weak. Malnutrition tends to do that to you, but we made our way to an internet cafe and managed to buy a train ticket for the following night to Mumbai with 8 or 9 hours to catch our flight to Dubai, which we had also booked at the same time. The train was an overnight journey of about 8 hours, but we booked a "sleeper" car so it would have been a reasonably comfortable situation.
A note about trains in India: They are ALWAYS late by an hour or two. We took A LOT of trains in India, and never once had one even come close to being on time. This never caused any critical problems though.
We headed back to our hotel and slept a really long time. We woke up the next day and sat around playing cards until our 10pm-ish train ride. At around 9pm, we headed over to the train station fulling expecting a few hours wait until our train arrived. The train station was pretty small, so it didn�t have a big electronic board indicating which platform to stand at for your train. So, Kyde went to the overly crowded ticket information window to ask. She turned around a few minutes later with a look of horror on her face. Apparently, our train was delayed NINE hours. So, lets do the math, one of those math problems with trains. It�s 10pm. Our 8-hour train journey is NINE hours late. Our airplane leaves at 2:45pm and it takes a minimum of 1 hour to get from the train station to the airport. If the train leaves in EXACTLY nine hours as the delay says (a laughable thought at the very least), we will leave at 7am and arrive at the Mumbai train station at 3pm, 15 minutes after our plane leaves. Obviously, this was not going to work. We knew for a fact there were no other openings on trains for that evening since they were all booked online. So, aside from bribing a train operator to kick someone else off the train (not an impossible scenario, but something outside of our general set of morals), we were not going to be on a train to Mumbai and we were going to miss our non-refundable flight to Dubai. Lovely. Did we mention Eric was sick? Did we mention Kyde almost cried in the train station?
So, we went back to our hotel and asked the people who run it if there are any other ways to Mumbai at such an hour. They pointed down the road at some buses parked along the street and told us to ask around and see if any of them would be going to Mumbai. So, we did. After some confusion, everything got worked out! A bus would leave at 10:30pm and should arrive at 8am in Mumbai! The best part was we would be riding in a "sleeper" bus, so we would have somewhere to lay down for the night and at least sleep a little bit. So, we gave them $14 for the 10-hour, two-person journey and waited for the bus. At about 11pm, the bus showed up and we climbed on. It was much cleaner than expected, but the area we got for the both of us to "sleep" wasn�t very big. We managed to cram ourselves into the little cube and at about 11:15pm the bus was off. We were in the far back "bed" of the bus though, so it was SUPER, SUPER bumpy as few of the roads in India are smooth. That was no big deal though since we were on our way.
We arrived in Mumbai at around 10am, instead of 8am like we hoped, but we still had quite a bit of time before our flight at 2:45pm. So, it was ok. We grabbed a taxi and headed to the airport in AWFUL traffic. It took about an hour and 15 minutes total, a lot of it spent sitting in dead stopped traffic on the highway with children constantly approaching our windows begging for money. Once we were at the airport, things went pretty well, we checked in and went to the terminal which contained overpriced Pizza Hut pizza! A very welcome food option! We looked for a bookstore, because momentarily we would be flying to Dubai and had no idea where we would stay. We had no guidebook, maps or anything for the city or the country. The bookstore we found came up with nothing useful, so we boarded our plane and flew to Dubai without any plan whatsoever for when we landed.
Once we got off the plane in Dubai, it was instantly recognizable that we are back in civilization. What a lovely revelation! We headed through immigration, customs and found an ATM with no problems. We wandered into the airport hoping for a bookstore, but unfortunately we couldn�t find one and the only map we found of the city was in Arabic. We asked some random people how to get into the city center and they advised us to take the metro, which, until that point, we had no idea even existed. So, we walked to the metro and looked at the names of the stations. One was called "Dubai Mall" and we assumed there must be a bookstore there that will have a guidebook. So, we bought metro tickets and were on our way across town. When we got to the stop for the mall and walked outside, the first thing we saw was the Burj Khalifahttps:p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa), which was by far the tallest building in the world. We were basically standing next to it and had to walk along the base of it to get to the mall. It was unreal, just a very overwhelming sight. Quite a shift from India, that's for sure.
Once inside the mall, we found a 4-story tall fish tank, waterfalls and a massive bookstore. We got a hold of a guidebook for the region and headed to the food court. The food court was PACKED because it had just clicked past 7pm and during Ramadan this is the first time during the day that people can eat in public. So, we had a lot of trouble finding a seat. We ended up sitting next to a lady who was on her laptop. While I went to TACO BELL to get some food for us, Kyde talked to this lady a bit. It turned out she was from Turkey and had done a lot of traveling, but was now living in Dubai. She had some advice for us and ended up helping us find a hotel online with her laptop. We got a room booked and headed across town on the metro in search of the hotel. Once we got off the metro, we wandered around a bit and got lost. Kyde talked to some locals and they ended up giving us a ride to the general area of our hotel. After a few more confusing minutes, we found the hotel itself. Our booking had not processed yet, so we had to wait a bit for that to get cleared up. Eventually, we made our way up to our room, which was normal and modern in every way you'd expect from as nice city as Dubai. Hot water, clean sheets, internet...the works! By the time we got showered and in bed, it had been about 28 hours since we had found out our train was delayed. We were totally wiped out. Needless to say, we were happy that madness was done with!