Day 249 (Udaipur, India)
Haven’t had much opportunity over the last 2 weeks to make a post as finding wireless internet in India or at least in the state of Maharashtra is very tough. I left the airport in Saudi Arabia after getting a few hours of sleep on an airport coffee shop seat. I decided to watch a movie during the flight and with few options picked “Hitman” from a few years ago. The reason I bring it up is that on this Saudi Airlines flight the movie had ever part of the women except there faces blurred out which I found rather funny. Even there shoulders were not allowed to be shown.
I landed in Mumbai in the morning and took a pre-paid taxi north to a hotel that I later found out does not take in foreigners. So I had to take a taxi all the way South into an area called Colaba which was a much better area and I am happy I ended up staying there. India does not have much in the way of hostels and most places with dorm rooms are still called hotels or guest houses. The place I stayed was the cheapest place in Colaba and is called Red Shield Guest House and is ran by the Salvation Army which I didn’t even know did hotels. It cost me about $5 CAD per night for a bed, locker and breakfast. The beds did indeed have bed bugs but there was not many and I actually got used to the bugs near the end of my 8 day stay. They say you can’t stay more than a week but it’s not well organized and I met people who had stayed 2 weeks already. There was a varied mix of people staying at the hotel with a lot of them being local Indian’s from other regions, although they stayed in a different room from the foreigners.
The area of Colaba is famous for having Bollywood scouts that need extras for films being shot in Mumbai. During my time there I was asked to be in several things and I said yes on 2 seperate occasions. The first time I went with 25-30 people from different hotels around Colaba and we were used as night club patrons during a bachelor party. I met a lot of cool people and it was a really cool expeirence, it felt to me just like how I imagined movies were shot, except a little less profesional as it is India. We were given breakfast and lunch and paid Rs. 500 for the day which ended up being almost 13 hours start to finish. I tried to get into the shot as much as possible but don’t think I will be visible in the final cut. The second movie we didn’t start shooting until noon instead of 8 am like the first movie. This time it was only 4 people total from only my hotel that went. We had to take the train instead of a bus picking us up but it was no problem. We were given our own trailer to sit in which said “models” on the door. For this movie I got to have an actual line and unless the scene is cut I think I will for sure be visible in this movie. They had a guy checking lighting on my face and the director had a mark for me to stand on and even gave me some direction. I had to stand in an elevator and tell the main actress that her phone was ringing which I think I did rather well. The movie is called “I Love New Year” and the actress is named “Kangana Ranaut”. The first movie I did was called “Housefull 2”. It was a great experience both times and I will do another post when the movies come out early to mid 2012.
While in Mumbai I bought a new backpack that is much smaller than my previous one. I have lately gotten a bit obsessed with packing as light as possible and my new bag is only 23 L which is 15 L smaller than my previous one. It still has more than enough room for all my gear which I will do a post of in the coming weeks. Another thing I picked up while in Mumbai is a travel partner for a bit of India. He is a British/French guy and I am happy to have someone to travel with for a bit as I was in the mood for a travel partner after 8 months of solo travel. I have let him do most of the planning since Mumbai as I am in no hurry and don’t care were I go and it’s cheap to get around in India. After Mumbai we went to a city called Aurangabad which is near the Ellora caves that we went and saw. After that we attempted to get to Udaipur which has been a real hassle and took over 25 hours, 2 buses, 1 train and 4-6 rickshaws to get us there. During which I had the train ride from hell that had me spending 5 hours sitting on the floor beside the toilets surrounded by Indian families which was one of those experiences that adds to the trip but at the time you just want it over.
Next stop is Ajmer near Pushkar which we are going in order to watch the Pushkar Camel Fair that goes on for 10 days. We will catch the last 4 days which we think will be the best days. Hopefully we can couch surf in Ajmer and get a cheap place in Pushkar for a few days also. No idea where we are going after that or for how long I will travel with my current travel partner. I hope to go to Leh in the future but it is hard to get to and sounds like it might not be good this time of year. Some people with me took pictures during Bollywood and I will hopefully get those images at some point, but it was not allowed to take pictures so I never even brought my camera.