Welcome to India
I've began my journey in Mumbai (formally Bombay) the largest city on India's west coast. It's an insane place, a city of juxtaposistions, hastely constructed shanties vie with the stone edifces of the former Raj and overly dressed security guards sit with glassey stares outside plush department stores while a few feet away a beggers in flithy rags squat on bits of cardboard.
It's also not a city you can become anonymous in. As a 6ft 2in white bloke with shoulder length hair, when you're striding around the city you're like a black hole dragging every, merchant, begger, drug dealer and cab driver in the vacinity towards you with the inescapable attraction of the exchange rate. In the 3 days I've been here I've had 4 people ask me to be in a Bollywood movie, countless people try and sell me dope, kids and beggers follow me with for streets at a time, taxi drivers make up prices at the drop of a hat, and every stall holder under the sun try to entice me with their riches.
It is I admit quite draining walking around fending off the advances of all and sundry. But the people are generally friendly and cheerful, even when they're trying to rip you off, and as long as you keep a sense of humour about it it's not so bad but still it's nice to be able to retreat to a hotel room, shut out the hustle and bustle and recharge before another sortee.
My plans have changed again since I arrived, Monsoon has come early (in fact the day I arrived) and Mumbai is awash with a constant stream of water from the heavens. Checking around down south it seems the weather is just as bad down there, I had thought about going to Goa anyway to see what it was like but a string of bad luck around buying my train ticket (that cumulated in a frantic couple of hours where I thought I'd lost my passport) convinced me the universe didn't want me to go south.
Instead I've decided to head up north away from the rain, my train leaves tonight for Jaipur where there's a spectacular red sandstone hill fort perched above the city, from there I figure I'm going to head into the Thar desert for some camel treking then work my way to Delhi and check out the Taj Mahal and surrounding area.
So no beaches just plenty of sand, still that's what I love about traveling, everything can change at the drop of a hat and as long as you relax and follow the flow things generally turn out as they should.