Entering Rajasthan: On the Way to Pushkar

24 hours bus ride… That’s what took me to get out of Mumbai, crossing Gujarat and into Rajasthan. A tough trip, that took three buses, the last one a busy local bus where the curiosity turned me into the attraction. A great trip though, quite scenic, that was made easier with the nice people I met on the bus. True travel companions with great stories to share… Stories and narrations that allow me to understand a bit better this myriad of cultures that is India… Heading to one of the Holiest places for Hindus, I felt truly blessed… Blessed to have arrived, but also blessed to have taken the journey…

In the Suburbs of Udaipur… The landscape turns into a drier, warmer tinted tone

Life passing by

Channa Masala on the Bus… quite the treat!

Roadside life

A Disclosure of the Transcendental: Tungareshwar Temple

Monday. Lord Shiva’s day. Me, Raj and a couple of fellow travelers cross Mumbai, leaving the honks increasingly behind. We’re heading to Visai, in the outskirts of Mumbai… Different tonalities of green dominate the color spectrum and somewhat this sense of peace is at hand… Maybe I’ve been in Mumbai for too long, not hearing honking feels strange. Raj comes here every Monday, in his weekly pilgrimage, and when he invited me, I couldn’t refuse. It was a morning where I could have my first contact with Hindu beliefs. I spoke to highly revered (and highly high) Babas, talked to some locals about the ceremonies that were happening… I even took part of a ceremony, for the sake of sharing a collective moment. I know I’m not a very religious person, but I do like people and I’m always curious to know more…

Constant Elevation

Chai Choreographies

A temple dedicated to Vasuki

“The Blessing”

Afternoon at Juhu Beach: Soaking up India

Sunday afternoon, Mumbai. The sky is grey and the first monsoon rains are falling. I head to the beach, doing the same as a lot local Mumbaians… There’s a wave of satisfaction in the air, people are enjoying the beach, the rains and the good breeze from it. Eating together, praying and singing together, playing cricket and just enjoying the day and the the open space that the beach offers… Children are especially happy, playing around in the water… Walking around Mumbai you realize that they mustn’t have much open space like this to play.. It’s one of those rare moments they can do that… In sum, a fantastic Indian experience, where for the first time in my life I looked at rain as a blessing… Namaste!

Mumbai Moments: A few more…

Mumbai takes a little time to get used to. I did here what I normally do, which is a first browse, a first touching of the turf. It’s a beautiful city in a lot of aspects, with striking inequalities, and some of the loveliest people I’ve encountered so far. Walking around can be such an enriching experience. Such an eye opener in so many different ways. What I bring you today are fragments from my first wanderings… My Indian adventure has only just begun…

Chakala district, where I’m staying… Suburban Mumbai can be fascinating…

Gandhi is omnipresent

A Smile

The other side of Mumbai…

First Mumbai Instants…

On my first day of Mumbai, I left my hostel with one clear idea in my mind. I’m going to have, as much as I can, a normal day of a normal person. Of course it’s an impossible task, I was aware of it. But I wanted to at least have a taste of it… at least take buses, trains all around and talk to the people as much as I could. So, I waited in line for 30 minutes to buy I ticket… I tried to push and shove people to get into a train… failed completely, oh well. I walked around, played some football with some kids and, at the end of the day took the bus home… Within all this normality, there was something apparently disturbing the flow… There was a huge cloud of smoke coming from a building on fire somewhere… Didn’t seem to affect the incredible spirit that drives Mumbaians on their daily tasks… Like Amit, my Indian room mate said: “It doesn’t matter what happens, in Mumbai the Show must go on…”

Harmonic Chaos

No need for comment

The quiet rest…

Mumbai Suburban train

Next Stop, Mumbai!

I say goodbye to China and Southeast Asia… Waiting for me lays the huge Indian sub continent. I can’t hide how excited I am. It reminds of the anticipation, the moments right before I embarked on to Jakarta. Looking back at these last months, I can’t hide how blessed I feel. I experienced such a wide range of emotions. I felt like a total stranger… in such a familiar way. Being that stranger was exactly what made me give more of myself. Come out my shell and understand. From the genuine curiosity of the Sumatra people, to the generosity of the Ngai Tsin Wai in Hong Kong… From hilarious tuc tuc rides, to amazing night walks in Macau and singalongs with Vietnamese teens… I truly feel like I took the pulse of Asia. Too many situations, some funny, some more of a reality check… Some moments of sheer happiness, some of complete and utter uselessness…
But I was thinking of this… At the top, at the peak… Hong Kong right there, overlooking the whole city… Millions of people breathing, such throbbing life… so far from my reality, and how close have I felt from it… I leave this part of the globe much richer than I arrived…

Central HK in Color: The Filipino Women’s Gathering

Sunday afternoon, Central Hong Kong. Busy Central district seems never to take a break and weekend shoppers invade the malls. As I get out of overpass, down to the surface, there’s more to the streets than big spenders. Concentrated in the parks, hundreds of Filipino women, overflow along the side walks, sitting in cardboards, making picnics playing cards, dancing and fraternizing happily. From what I could hear, they’ve been doing this for the last ten years… every weekend. It’s a way to gather and feel closer to the ones in the same situation… Mostly maids and cleaners, overworked and underpaid… As I took the Metro home, Larissa told me: “This is a way to be closer to home… We gather, talk about what’s new, write letters to the loved ones and essentially, we see our friends…” Sunday afternoon… A more colorful and happy downtown Hong Kong…

Smiles of optimism

Taking over the side walks

Dancing the streets away

Hoy! Salamat!