By Señor © 2003
Two days in Bombay was too much! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my brief stay, but there was no way I was going to stay for a third night. After relocating to Koh Samui, Thailand from New York City I realized how much I hate crowds. You have to fight your way through people in New York when you are taking a walk. On Samui space is in abundance and I was happy to have it. For five months I relished my space. Then I took off for India.
India is a huge country, but where are you going to put nearly one billion people? Everywhere I went, I fought the crowds and possibly no city in the world is quite as congested as Bombay. Each time I left my hotel room things got worse. The filth covered me from head to toe, the beggars latched onto me and the crowds nearly trampled me. I do not mean to sound so negative. Underneath all that filth and all those people is actually a lovely city! But it is so dirty that people are constantly spitting the filth from their mouths, so much so that there are actually spitting and no spitting zones marked by signs!
Anyway I was dealing pretty well until New Year's Eve came around. Apparently the Colaba area where my hotel is located is the Times Square of Bombay. By the time the clock struck midnight I had been spit on dozens of times, my self and my drink were filled with dust and I was pressed more tightly against those surrounding me than I had ever been on a New York subway during rush hour. In total disgust I fought my way to my Hotel. The next morning as soon as I awoke I checked out early and went straight to the airport. At the ticket window I told them that I didn't care where I was going, just get me on the next available flight out of here. I wound up in Bangalore.
Bangalore is the Capital of the Southern Indian state of Karnataka, a small city by Indian standards as only six million people live there. I wasn't worried about the crowds. First of all Bangalore has less than one third of the people that Bombay has and secondly according to my Lonely Planet guide there is a small village in the hills called Nandi Hills only an hour outside of the city. This is the place to "get away from it all." Apparently the Lonely Planet writers had never been there on New Year's Day. The place was mobbed! That was OK with me. Because such spectacular natural beauty surrounded me, I was able to ignore the crowds for the most part.
Before I continue I need to spend a moment telling you about Indian men. Indian men are the warmest, friendliest, most affectionate men I have ever come across. So affectionate that is it very common to see two heterosexual men holding hands as they walk down the street. Just as common are the sights of men walking arm in arm, men hugging and men kissing each other on the cheek. At first I thought all Indian men are gay! They are not. This is just the way it is. Now imagine how affectionate these men become when they are shitfaced. Well on New Year's Day they were shitfaced! I was literally swarmed by Indian men who were jumping into my arms, kissing my cheeks and wishing me a Happy New Year. I consider myself to be a man of love, but this was a little too much! After a day of hugging and kissing hundreds of men I was ready to return to my hotel in Bangalore.
I had rented a car and a driver for the day. It only cost me $20, which the average Indian cannot afford. Most Indians have to take the bus from Bangalore and then walk two hours to get up Nandi Hill. Driving off in my chauffeured car I realized how fortunate I truly am. Until we turned the next corner that is!
My driver was going a little too fast around a sharp corner and before I knew it I was involved in a head on collision with a Minivan. Everyone was shaken up a bit but luckily no one was seriously hurt. After the initial shock I just lost my shit and began cracking up hysterically. I don't know why I laughed, but I did and I could not stop! The driver of the minivan took exception to my laughter and began screaming at me in Hindi. This just made me laugh even harder. Next thing I know he clocked me square on the kisser! As I was being hit, several of the men I had hugged and kissed walked by. They saw what had happened and jumped in to defend me. All of a sudden, I, who had not been in a fistfight since 8th grade was in the middle of a battle royal. I never could have imagined that these Indian men, so full of love, could be so full of hate as well. Shortly after, the cops came and broke things up. Lucky for me I was not hurt too badly. No hospital was necessary to handle my black eye and bloody nose. In the meanwhile I just hope that my grotesque face will not scare off the lovely Indian ladies!
I am now on a train heading to the resort town of Ooty. There I plan on getting some serious R & R and I promise.... NO LAUGHING!
Señor is a pants dropper from Koh Samui, Thailand.