Journey to India 3 : The Mumbai Incident7:21:00 PM
So yesterday I kickstarted my series about my trip to India in Journey to India 2 : Leaving My Comfort Zone.
I forgot to mention in the earlier post that I met a few representatives from PUNB at the airport whom I have been in contact with one week before the trip and she gave us booklets of travelling tips to India which includes an even more detailed itinerary than the one she emailed me before the trip. I found the booklet really useful. It had the provisional program of activities, ground travelling in India guide, arrival & departure info for all our travels during the mission, hotel accommodation/access, cost and currency guide, emergency contact addresses and important phone numbers, weather, prayer times, do's and don'ts and also the list of delegates. There are also tips for bargaining at the markets! Ah, the perks of being in a tour group. I felt prepared and comforted reading the booklet briefly when I got it at KLIA 2.
The flight from KL to Mumbai was 5 hours and 15 minutes exactly but as usual a lot of time were spent during check-in and after that at the immigration and customs, filling out forms and stuff like that. The flight felt long but I spent my time watching a Hindustani romantic comedy + action movie in-flight called Chennai Express just to get the feel of going to India haha. It was a good, funny and beautiful movie featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. Loved the different sceneries captured in the movie and fun to see how they travelled via train. Since the itinerary showed that we were going to be travelling via train, I was sort of excited because I can't remember the last time I travelled via train, let alone in a foreign country.
We were going to go to 3 different cities in India and 3 different hotels in less than 7 days. So we will be spending time travelling a lot too both by train and flight! I thoroughly read the whole booklet during the flight just to prepare myself. (and because I have finished flipping through all the in flight magazines on Malindo Air)
I always love the feeling once we step on a foreign land. :) It's always exciting. Even when we just reached the destination and just being at the airport. I think you can tell how much a state or country spends time for tourism just by looking at the airport. The Mumbai airport was really grand, sleek, huge and extravagant. However, what I liked about it most was that as soon as I stepped out of flight and was on the way to go to customs and immigration there were just so many artworks of all kinds on the side walls and at the ceiling. The whole long stretch at the arrival was filled with art. It just shows me how artsy and cultured India is. And as a person who appreciates different cultures and art, I just had to capture these photos even though some of it were blurry because I was on a moving elevator the whole time when I was snapping away rushing for the check out.
One of the first thing that caught my eye in India as soon as I stepped off the plane. The airport is awesome, modern, spacious, comfortable and most importantly, the walls are filled with unique artworks like this one. Fell in love with India already when I saw this.
I saw a glittering effect so I went up close and saw that this one wss done using bottle caps.
Pretty cool when I saw it real life.
(More photos at the end of this post)
When Ina and I were done with the customs and checked out, I couldn't believe my eyes on how grand and expensive the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport main building looked. It's so beautifully lit and even the ceiling looks so luxurious and creatively artsy. I had a jakun moment in my mind.
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is the wealthiest and most populous cities in India and has the highest numbers of millionaires and billionaires in India. It's also the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. This is not based on info I got on the trip though, its just facts that I got when I did a quick search via Mr Wikipedia. :D I told you it wasn't a sightseeing trip!
When we were out of the airport, we tried to contact the numbers in the booklet. Both of us couldn't get through anyone. We did not have an Indian sim card yet but we tried roaming. Nope, couldn't get through either. During the mini-briefing, they told us to find for a sign which states "Rainbow Silks". We searched for the signage everywhere. We walked and walked, not twice but more than 5 times from one end to the other. But to no avail we did not see anyone who held a sign we were looking for. We did not see a single Malaysian let alone a familiar face.
After a while, we started to panic. Did the delegation leave without us? That would have been pretty something! We felt so little surrounded by so many people who were staring at us because we really looked lost I suppose. We then tried to contact our families at home (not sure what good that would have done). But no messages, whastapps or calls got through. Great. We were stranded. It was already night time over there. Everything looked foreign. It was around 1am Malaysian time at the time. I reached KLIA at around 5pm for the check-in so it has been roughly 8 hours since.
Before we left we were told not to go out when it's just us ladies, and make sure to travel in big groups with guys present. It was for our own safety. But the thing is, it was just Ina and I at the time so we weren't sure whether to go out of the arrival barrier. We took Malindo Air and the rest took Mas so the others had already reached the place much earlier. We were kind of stranded for over an hour until we found someone who agreed to let us make a call for a few dollars. Phew! Alhamdulillah.
And we called one of the numbers on the booklet. Thank God, after the call, a small group of people came and we met this amiable, kind and humble guy who was in the delegation and Sachin.
While waiting for our transportation, the dependable Mr Sachin who was our tour guide/translator/someone who's job is supposed to make sure that we're safe and sound during our trip brought us drinks and some peanuts.
We soon found out who came to help us. The kind and humble person was none other than was none other than the owner of Mydin. We started chatting and when we exchanged our business cards and I finally got his name, he was none other than Datuk Wira (Dr.) Haji Ameer Ali bin Mydin (Managing Director of Mydin), I was quite surprised.
We started talking about business. Of course I had just launched aere for a few month so listening from someone who's been so successful in the business for many many years was just inspiring. He asked us what we are looking for and how much we planned to spend. We discovered that what we planned to spend compared to what the others are spending, was like heaven and earth (was figuring out how to say langit dengan bumi). We are actually spending very very little. Mydin has over 90 outlets nationwide at the moment and their first store was opened in 1957. My first impression about him was that he is very hardworking, humble and was very open in giving advice. He was really generous in sharing all his beneficial knowledge about business. No doubt their family business has been really successful with all the hard work that they have put in and he was very inspiring.
We met a few more people including his sweet and kind wife Datin Wira as well as Datuk Jamelah A Bakar. We were finally comforted to meet people from the group and by the time the transportation came we were so happy.
After a long search of my group I decided to snap this photo of my view.
Finally!!! We reached our hotel room at Krishna Palace Hotel at almost 4am Malaysian time after checking in.
We just freshened up a bit but couldn't really sleep because in a few hours time we had to be ready and leave to go to the train station for our first stop. We were told to be at the lobby by 4.45am for us to gather and go to Mumbai Railway Station as the train would leave on time at 5.20am. The duration of the train ride is 4 hours and 30 minutes. No sleep at all on the first day -_- I'll share more about the train ride in my next post! Till then, more photos below!
More photos I managed to capture at the airport, below.
I didn't actually capture any photos of the architecture of the airport but below are some nice photos I Googled and put here to share how the airport looks like.
Photo from TheTelegram. (Interesting article on the airport before it was renovated)
I love lights. This part was actually really tall so this photo doesn't really do it justice. It was glittering and glamorous looking from very far away just before the immigration counters. I was tempted to take a photo at that time but as we were in a rush to get our bags I didn't take any photos here. But it really was so huge and glowy.
Photo from News.com.au.
Tall sparkly ceilings.
I was amazed at the architecture when I looked up.
Photo from News.com.au.
Below are 4 additional photos from HellooDesigner. I love the delightful design of the airport.
Till my next post :)
PEACE & LOVE!