day fifteen: monkeys on elephanta

the beach was further away than expected. wake up and walk. and walk. and get to the shoreline and walk some more. about two miles along the arabian sea. a paved wide sidewalk with people of all kinds power-walking and working out. felt a bit like the chicago lakeshore. one of my favorite places to spend a day walking. watching.

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it was a nice change of scenery to spend an hour on sand. dirty sand, but sand nonetheless. with a beautiful view of the mumbai skyline for our morning yoga.

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there is so many kilometers of skyline because mumbai is a peninsula. i could never figure out which part of the city we were looking at, but it was all a beautiful staircase of skyscrapers along the sea.

before heading out for our boating adventure, sybille and i headed into town for a quick lunch at a cute diner-like hole in the wall and stop at the atm. the high numbers always make me feel so wealthy. it is about 52 rupees to a dollar. you feel so much cooler typing 1,000 into an atm than 30. baller.

with bellies and pockets full to elephanta island we go!

an hour ride on a two-story ferry boat. there is so much trash in the water. people just throw it off the boats. it was strange to witness. strange to so garbage floating so far away from land.

step off the boat and what do we see? corn on the cob. a sara favorite. for 20 rupees (like 40¢), i indulge and chop on a delicious open fire roasted cob rubbed with lime and spices. so good.

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the island is pretty big. it doesn’t have elephants, but it did have a lot of dogs, cows, and MONKEYS! oh and caves. the caves are why people go, but the monkeys are why i stayed. baby monkeys kissing each other. one cleaning another. one drinking a coke. one stealing a banana from a puppy. so entertaining. i basically will have a whole monkey album for your viewing one day.

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there are five caves on the island. we only visited one, but it was filled with large carvings in the walls. sculptures of shiva. hindu offerings. and tourists.

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we board one of the last boats back and catch the start of sunset as we approach the dock (or rather cement steps) at the india gate.

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i had my first language barrier moment on the boat. the woman crammed next to me on the bench offered me some peanut brittle. she spoke some hindu, and i smiled, “i only speak english.” she smiled and shook her head. that was all we could say to one another. most people here know at least a little bit of english, but not her.

i want to learn hindi. i am picking up a word here and there, but the sounds are challenging for my language-learning-impaired brain. it is so necessary in other countries to learn other languages. like in europe, the countries are small and they all speak a different language. but in the states, our neighboring countries speak spanish and english, perhaps some french up in quebec. the necessity for more than spanish to travel locally is nonexistent.

it took me 20 years to become proficient in speaking spanish. something is wrong with the way we teach languages in our schools. from kindergarden to college i took spanish class. i could conjugate all day. read, write, sing, dance, but speak? pssh.

live there.

they say that’s the best way to learn.

live here.

well, maybe not here. mumbai is too big a city for this gal. the people are city people. colder. more concerned about their own doings. not much green space for me to lay in the sunshine and hike through the trees. i need a balance. the ability to be my city side and my nature side.

back to the hotel and i crash. at 9pm. first, sybille makes me try a fig. i don’t think i have ever tried a fresh fig. it tastes nothing like a fig newton, which makes me happy because i hated when they would serve those for snack in elementary school. turns out i actually like the real thing.

the real thing.

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