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As the sun began to set on our five-week vacation to India, it was time for some excitement in Bombay (it was still called “Bombay” in 1995, so that’s what we’re sticking with).
Our cousins lived in Delhi, so we dropped in for a visit on the way to the airport. It was my cousin’s birthday that day, which meant a cake had been arranged, along with a plethora of Indian sweets.
I quickly discovered that the cake was neither moist nor decadent as cakes should be, so I turned my attention to the gulab jamuns. After twenty minutes of behaviour that I cannot recall, I’d supposedly eaten five or six of them. For those of you who don’t know a lot about gulab jamuns, let’s just say: sugary syrup, milk solids, double cream, and they’re fried.
It was a bad idea but I hadn’t eaten lunch.
My bad idea followed me to the driveway as we said goodbye to make our way to the airport. Seconds later, my bad idea unleashed itself in a three-foot radius covering half of the driveway. It was my greatest performance of projectile vomit to-date.
I vomited again when we arrived at the airport, and once more when I found the nearest bathroom. About a half an hour later we discovered that our flight would be delayed until the following morning.
As the news set in to the weary travelers, we found ourselves a spot on the floor that we could sleep on.
In the next few hours I puked five or six more times. At last I was sent to the airport “doctor”, who had set up his practice beyond a bunch of darkened corridors, in what looked to be a glorified closet. He didn’t say much, but approached me with a big-ass smile and an even bigger needle.
By the time I returned our flight had moved ahead a couple of hours. It was time to go.
So that flight to Bombay…hmm. It was ninety minutes, and that’s all I really know, since I spent the ninety minutes passed out and drooling on my sister’s shoulder. I think I still owe her for that one.
With my body weakened and my belly fragile, I took in what I could of the bustling city. Bombay offered the first I’d seen of beaches and ocean waves. Now THIS was a vacation.
For our first afternoon we squeezed our way through a crowded bazaar, realizing very quickly that Bombay was indeed a “tourist” spot. In other words everything was over-priced, times ten. For example, where you’d normally buy any clothes and shoes for a fraction of the price that you’d see in North America, everything here was…equal. The audacity.
For some odd reason I found myself entranced by a shoe store. I couldn’t explain the feeling at the time, but something about the modern look of the store, and its contrast to everything else that felt traditional was intriguing. It also had all the latest “Western” styles of boots and shoes. Could it be that I was feeling homesick?
My parents decided to enter the store and try to find some shoes for my dad. Knowing right away from the product selection and the rude-looking staff that the place was over-priced, I cringed in preparation for my parents to make a scene.
“How much are these shoes?” asked my dad.
“Two thousand rupees”
“Two thousand rupees?!?! I could go back home and buy three pair of shoes at a price like that!” he lied.
Awkward silence, sales staff rolling their eyes. Sigh.
Once we had firmly established our middle-class lot in life, we stuck to the food stalls and stuffed our hungry faces as the sun began to set. Everyone except for ME, that is. I was stuck with a bowl of chicken noodle soup, except there wasn’t any chicken or a single noodle. Just a bowl of hot yellow water, salted to the extreme. Nice try, India.
The following day was much of the same, but in our last evening in Bombay, we hit the beaches.
Now don’t get confused with your typical concept of hitting the beaches. This means something very different for an Indian family of twelve. For me it meant a bright red t-shirt tucked into my jeans, with sandaled feet so I could get a little wild and feel the sand. So wild.
I had come to this place for an adventure, so when I saw the big white horse and the man with the sign saying “Forty Rupees”, I wanted in.
Forty rupees later I was striding across the beach atop this beautiful steed. I looked like those chicks on the romance novel covers, minus the shred of silk that was supposed to be a dress (and plus a red t-shirt and a pair of jeans). For forty rupees I was allocated two whole laps across the beach. It lasted five minutes and I felt like a girl who’d been finally released of her over-protective life. This feeling only lasted as long as I didn’t look down, since the horse was on a leash with its master on the other end, running along to keep up.
A horse on leash? Yes. But it was Bombay baby, and at last I had my very own Indian adventure…
[This concludes my back-track of my family’s trip to India, circa 1995. I visited India once again in 2006. I will post about that trip at a later time, since it involved a whole different set of recollections, mostly surrounding: perverts, the Dalai Lama, propositions, gold, a magnificent look at textiles, and being followed by more perverts in an air-conditioned mall. And of course, here’s the very first post on the Voyage to India, if you feel like starting from the top…]
Sounds like quite the projectile vomit. Ive never had projectile vomit, it’s one of my greatest regrets in life.
I drank post-mix coke for 14 hours straight on an empty stomach while working in a London pub on its busiest day of the year once. As soon as we shut the pub I projectile vomited black acid from my mouth and my NOSE for a steady 3 minutes. NEVER want to re-live those 3 minutes again…ever.
I’m so glad you got to go (ever-so-slightly) wild on horseback on a Bombay beach, Romi 🙂
“I had come to this place for an adventure, so when I saw the big white horse and the man with the sign saying ‘forty rupees’, I wanted in.”
Oh, wow…an entire trashy romance novel was written in my fevered imagination upon reading that one sentence. What a letdown !!
I think the horse ride sounds awesome, particularly for a girl that age. You know, if you could divorce the memory in your mind from the projectile vomiting, which probably even beats my egg-beater-in-the-hair story.
Getting sick to your stomach for eating too many sweets- not such a good memory!!! I love to read about your India adventures. Thanks for sharing Romi! I cannot wait to hear about your ’06 visit!!!
Loved the series Romi! I have learned quite a bit. I can’t wait to hear about your 2006 adventure. From the brief synopsis you gave it sounds hysterical! Also a 40 rupee horse ride sounds like a deal (considering I do not know the exchange rate of rupee to dollar) but I would be in too!!!!!
P.S. I now know not to eat gulab jamuns on an empty stomache and for that I thank you.
I’m kind of sad that this story is over. I’ve been completely entranced by your story-telling. Can’t wait for the next mini-series!
So maybe this wasn’t quite the exciting trip you were expecting, but I’m glad you shared it with us. Wonder what you have brewing for us next…
Romi – I have loved every one of these entries. I am envious of your travels there and I think that India is definitely being added to my list of dream vacations… thank you for sharing! 🙂
Reminds me of the time when I vomited at a local restaurant because of a friend’s diet tomato drink I drank by mistake from the fridge. At least I vomited at the time of pay, so it was like a statement of me not wanting to cough up the cash, but wanting to let go of something else instead 😛
And what an adventure it sounded like. I am interested in the gulab jamuns, although it sounds like a few clogged arteries away from myocardial infarction. I would love to visit Mumbai. Everything looks so beautiful there, like the Flora Fountain. I wanna go and ride an elephant. How many rupees you think a 5 min elephant ride would be? haha, elephant leash!
I did the projectile vomit scene on a plane coming back from Bali. I had been good, drank bottled water and used bottled water to brush my teeth. Guess what idiot forgot all about ice cubes in the last night piss up before we came home? I think people were waiting for my head to spin and for me to do something weird with a crucifix.
Aw, I feel we’ve bonded a little extra. So Disneyworld isn’t as exotic as Bombay, but I did the Linda Blair too! My parents still praise me for being considerate enough to use my favourite blanket for most of the mess instead of the rental car 😦
btw, have I mentioned my flourishing addiction to Bollywood Freetime Cinema on Omni 2 on Saturday mornings? Seriously, I have to find Good Morning Mumbai somewhere!
keplar: regret? Oh dear, I would give you all my projectile vomit skills in a heartbeat, and I wouldn’t even charge you! 😉
Simonne: Oh my gosh, black acid through mouth and nose for THREE minutes??? That is a stunning image…stunningly horrific!
PS: I am all about going ever-so-slightly wild, whenever I can manage it 😉
B Smith: an entire trashy novel in one sentence? Damn I’m good! But sorry for the subsequent let-down! 😉
Taoist Biker: okay egg-beater in the hair?!?! WTF?!?!? I need to hear this…
Javaqueen: yeah I’m an idiot when it comes to eating responsibly…lol…I’m glad you have some interest in the ’06 visit, that’ll come in good time… 😉
sammy25: I’m glad you benefited from the Indian sweet education, and here’s a little more education: 40 rupees equals approximately one Canadian dollar…a deal indeed! 😉 )
megan: wow…like I just write this shit as it spews out of my memory, it’s sweet to hear that anybody could be entranced, thank you for reading! 🙂
omegaradium: you may not be pleased with what I have brewing next, but it’s all for the cause… 😉
glassowater: I suppose India COULD be a dream vacation if you do it right, lol 😉 And wow, thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed these!
virgilius: a tomato drink would make me puke as well…ughhhh!
Justin: because of the majesty associated with riding an elephant vs. horse, I’m gonna guess 80 rupees instead of 40, but it’s still a steal! And plus, I would LOVE to see a vacation picture of you riding on an elephant…haha 😉
Anja: oh, that sounds awful! And yes, it’s so hard to remember the ice factor!
Emerald: oh my god, we are totally trip-barf-bonding!!! Hahaha… 😉
PS: sad for the blanket!
PPS: we are bonding even more now because of the Bollywood on Omni! LMAO… 😉
Ive never been to India..since i was born there at least ha, but you’ve made it seem like a wonderful vomity/poop filled place. Count me in on that action! lol, but seriously, I’m glad to know I need to A. a toliet B. Bring some cracka food with me, hah C. drink their thirst quenching sodas 😉 and D. Make you go with me!
Wow. I wish your trip had been more fun and less vomit. But unfortunately for your poor tummy, it made good reading for us. 😉 I am looking forward to hearing about the next trip in 2006. Who wouldn’t be with a teaser like the one you left here?
As for the beaches: We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world by many accounts. From Baldwin County, Alabama to Walton County, Florida and probably beyond! The sands are naturally white, the water looks emerald (that’s why it’s called “The Emerald Coast”)–it’s definitely a wonder to behold! But we also have hurricanes, constant thunderstorms, and alot of sharks!
As for the freedom you experienced: That sounds wonderful! Horses aren’t rented-out on the beaches here because there not allowed on the beaches. But if they were, I’d probably be riding one right now!