Tuesday October 4, 2005 11:17 AM
Too crazy, sometime is just starts and stops, stop and starts.
I am in Bangkok, Thailand; it is like an oasis after walking through a 200 mile New York Ghetto. Generally, most countries are strange, anything is strange from your home; however, India is a very strange place. It is a place my mother does not want to me to talk about, you know, if you are not going to say something nice do not say it.
It started with me getting up, going over to Andrews’s room at 8:00 am and the two of us getting head starts on plans to leave Mumbai. He needed to go to Goa and purchased a ticket with Spicejet.com airlineshttp://www.spicejet.com
I guess the ticket was about 35 dollars so that story went very well, however I tried to get on the AirIndia.com site, a much bigger airlines and hit many dead ends. It was only after we had already gone to the travel agency on Monday morning at 9:00 and it was closes. This is why we were buying tickets online, the travel agents are competing with the online sites, and the travel agencies have not learned. The internet is convenient.
I needed to fly to Bangkok, so we went back to the travel agent to try again, there is about 10 people working in this place with about two clients. Therefore, I talked with the owner because in reality he was the only competent person that would be reliable. All the other could not be bothered or referred to the owner. Therefore, at about 10:30 in the morning, I had a ticket to leave at midnight from Mumbai for a price of 179 U.S. dollars one- way. The owners a Mr. Grifton from the Grifton Travel Agency said,
“Come back in a coupler of hours, our printer is broken.”
I walked out after getting a receipt and feeling comfortable, this was ok, I said to Andrew,
“We are in India, minimal three hours.”
Nonetheless in what could have been very easy like the ticket Andrew purchased in 20 minutes on the internet required that I work for the Grifton Travel Agency as a stand in client, finally getting the ticket after going to the office 5 times and waiting the last time for over 1 hour and 15 minutes of the man to bring it from another office that was only 15 minutes away.
There is no competition, buying a ticket on the internet is easy, buying a ticket from a travel agent is work. I am progressively realizing that buying bus, plane, and train etc tickets is work when you have to talk with people. They just cannot be bothered to help you.
Ok, so I flew from Mumbai to Bangkok
Yes, I forgot, in the long discussions I had with the owner of the Grifton Travel Agency in the Colabra area of Mumbai, I mention that I travel a lot, that basically I am needing a person to utilize for plane ticket in Mumbai as I will be coming in an out of here a couple of times per year. I explained to him that I had a web site and he decided to take a look.
Then he proceeds to tell me that I was very wrong about a post saying the rooms in Mumbai are a terrible value. Now, think, if you are a business, a person is in your office saying he is a travel writer, do you start telling him he is stupid?…. Duh, yes, this is not wise.
However, when he compared Mumbai or Bombay as the old name was to New York City saying they are a good comparison I went off the edge, I just stopped talking. Sometime in life, you hear comments that are so far from reality you need to stop talking.
Nonetheless, I really do not know of any reason to stay in Mumbai, except to buy a plane ticket, and for sure, I will try to buy over the internet so I do not have to stay in Mumbai. Sadly the old English built mansions that are in this area are perfect for bed and breakfast, it has some of the most potential for a great backpacker ghetto, however it right now, it is just a bunch of building hid behind a lot of grime, dirt, and annoyances.
The world is big, absolutely no reason to annoy yourself, many other choices on the planet before Mumbai.
India is a great place, full of question marks however if for sure the dirtiest country I have ever visited, which means the cities are the filthiest on the planet, Nothing first world about this place.
However, with spice jet.com you can pop out of the city of Mumbai, skip the rooms that are 5 time the price of a good value, and be on the beach in Goa with little problems.
I am now in a comparable room in Bangkok, clean, clean, and clean, I suppose the room in the Bentley Hotel was clean, it when you leave the room you enter the world. I liked the hotel, however nothing to do except watch TV, no common area, no kitchen, no bed and breakfast, just a room with HBO and CNN. I have that for one-fifth the price here in Bangkok some pretty girls at the reception, a restaurant and movies every night to view for free in the restaurant.
I have a place that washes my clothes with a machine for one-fifth the price of Mumbai, who is going to pay one dollar to wash a pair a pants when that is the pay for a person in the country for a day. A person in India averages about one dollar per day and here I am going to pay one dollar to have one pair of pants washed.
Even though Bangkok can be annoying, the Thai people are cleaning their house, they keep trying, while India is still in the dark ages of tourism.
I do hope the man reads this so he can be annoyed as much as Mr. Grifton annoyed me. Note he is probably an ok person to buy a plane ticket from, I think he is safe as anyone in India and the price was right. I just do not need to listen to a person tell me a about room. I have lived in over 700 rooms in my life, and the ones in Mumbai are some of the worst values on the planet, overall just a skip.