063 / Dabangg
003 / Dabangg
Travelling solo is a bit like debuting in horseback riding. You have to get on the horse without hesitation, even after an occassional fall, and you need to get used to the different speeds of the horse (standing, walking, trot, gallop). You also have to start feeling comfortable with the idea that you depend on others (a horse, restaurant keepers, taxi drivers…) for your well being. The same as one cannot question every step of the horse while moving, one cannot have doubts by all micro-decisions you take along the road.
The third day in Mumbai (and in my trip in general) was one of relative leap of faith. Gone Indian friends to negotiate, gone prepaid taxis who wait for you where they drop you off. As I was walking toward Juhu beach, I decided to leave the main road for a secondary road, through an even smaller street, passing by some dodgy alleys. The idea is not to go and look for trouble, but to get at ease with the different degrees of public safety (for now, I still prefer everything bigger than the small streets…).
When I arrived at the beach (don’t consider skinny dipping, because the water is rather toxic), there were a lot of pushy vendors and curious children who give me the “Sir, sir, my friend, where are you from? First time in India? My business is going very bad”-treatment. I’m developing some techniques to polity, even playfully create the necessary distance. I will have to foolproof these skills in Delhi and Rajastan. I'll keep you posted. As far as food is concerned, I have a new policy as well : I systematically order a safe dish (fried noodles) and the free style dish (an order without knowing what is going to show up on the plate whatsoever). Yesterday, this bought me a sort of deep-fried pancakes you dip in pickles sauce and eat with raw onions (they looooove onions here…).
Close to sunset it was time to pay my respect to the stars of Bollywood. I took a 2€ ticket (take this, Paris!!) for the smash hit of the moment : DABANGG! Literally speaking, this means FEARLESS. The movie is about a police guy with the fighting skills of the Matrix, Zorro, Wall-e, Charlies Angels and Xxx combined all while being a great lover, a devoted son and a huge fan of Ray Ban glasses (this part, I understand). The movie is only shown after a collective rising for the national hymne, brought by a choir of different ambassadors for the Indian people. I watched 2h of movie entierely in Hindi (with the exception of the random English sentence I discovered around the end : “Cast your vote, don’t vote your cast” I’m still figuring out the place of this sentence in a randon action movie). Breaking news: I also discovered where Roger Federer got a second job to make ends meet. He’s costarring as the evil guy in epic Hindi stories. Very convincing I have to say.
On the way home, I decided to take a moto rickshaw (three wheels, steer of a scooter, engine of a Phillishave and a driver on speed). For some reason, my driven wasn’t passed by one single vehicule during the 20 min ‘drive’ (flight would be a more appropriate word). I didn’t know he had a tuned AMG 65 Bi-turbo Compressor rickshaw. Dabangg without the option of retake. I can only conclude my driver was either very skilled, very lucky or more likely both.
After a Kingfisher (local beer) or two on a rooftop bar on the 6th floor, we had dinner with Pankai and Vadya in a great Indian place (no need to go for the noodles with these sweet experts around!). Thank you very much for the great hospitality in a bamboozling city. Good night J!!