Travelsonabike2 India This Day 8th-December-2011

This week’s Travelsonabike2 on this day cycle touring post comes from India on the 8th-December-2011. And I’ve just arrived in India by plane on my way to Australia. It’s a long post this week.

Thursday 8th December 2011 Mumbai, India.

Yay, I’m in India! The flight passed quickly. The man I was sitting next to, an Indian, was friendly, and we spent a lot of time talking. Off the plane, I just followed the crowd. It was so busy. There was a long snaking queue that seemed never-ending. I think the entire population of Mumbai must have just landed.

A person walking on a street with cars
It’s all rather busy

After three-quarters of an hour, I caught sight of passport control. There were thirty desks. I know that for a fact. I had plenty of time to count them while waiting in line. As I was the only Westerner, I hoped I was in the right queue. I was queueing for so long. I was starting to get a bit anxious about my luggage, particularly my bike. I’d been queuing for well over an hour.


I eventually got through passport control and went to baggage reclaim, where there wasn’t a single case. The conveyor belt wasn’t even moving. I was just about to start panicking when the conveyor belt started, and the first pieces of luggage came out. My bag containing my panniers and tent soon appeared, soaking wet, as was everybody else’s. But there was no sign of my bike. I overheard some lady telling somebody that she saw all the cases sitting on the tarmac in Istanbul in the rain. I remembered looking out the window of the aeroplane in Istanbul, thinking how heavy the rain looked, and I was glad not to be out cycling in it. Surely they hadn’t left a cardboard box (my bike) out in the rain, had they?

I could feel my blood pressure rising. Why wasn’t my bike here? Maybe it had gotten wet, and everything had spilt out over the runway. And I’d be missing a wheel, or the pedals would be gone. I asked one of the airport workers if that was everything to come out. There must be more; I’m missing a bike. The conveyor belt then stopped. I think I was just about to have a heart attack when a box appeared from behind a plastic screen next to the conveyor; it was my bike. The box was saturated, but, luckily, it was just about holding together. And it looked as if nothing had fallen out. The three reels of gaffer tape I used to wrap the box had paid off! The tape was the only thing holding the box together!

Oh My God

What a journey from the airport to the hotel, bouncing around in the back of the cab. Red lights got ignored. Speed bumps didn’t exist. I’m pretty sure the taxi even speeded up as we approached them. The taxi, a Padmini, an Indian version of a Fiat 1100, was too small to fit my bike in. That was placed on the roof and tied down with a thin cord. I spent most of the journey looking out the back window, ensuring my bike hadn’t bounced off the roof. After forty bone-breaking minutes, we arrived at the hotel. I was relieved to make it in one piece and with my bike.

What A Relief

The porters carried the rain-soaked box up to my room at the hotel. By the time they reached the room, the box had disintegrated. But it had done its job by now, and it didn’t matter. Breakfast was just being served, um, curry, just like being at home on a Sunday morning when I have Saturday night’s leftover curry for breakfast.

After breakfast, I had a quick nap before putting my bike together. Which, much to my surprise, was relatively easy. Let’s just hope I’ve done it right and it doesn’t fall apart a few miles down the road. Once I’d assembled the bike, I went out to play the tourist. Hopefully, if I remember, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. It’s been an exhausting day.

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