its been quite a while since the last post. once the strike got called off i took off to matheran for a two day break. its a quaint little hill-station near bombay. the most interesting aspect of this place is the lack of motorised transport. surprisingly, here was a municipal corporation that was wise enough to see the benefit of selling the idea of a pollution free environment to bombayites poisoned by traffic fumes and smog seeking a weekend getaway.
and its not like theres loads of horse-shit lying around the place either. the municipality has people employed to clean up after the cavalry, quite literally. the horses i saw there were not the typical ones that are seen pressed into public ferry services in bombay. these were healthy and looked well-fed. the owners apparently understood the importance of keeping the horse well groomed.
if you dont fancy a ride on horseback, then you get to trek extensively. unless you want to exercise the option of getting into a carriage pulled/pushed along by some locals. we were obviously trying really hard to play the role of poor college kids on a budget trip and hence walked all over the place. the exertion caused by this resulted in me having a sound sleep for the next two nights.
unfortunately, the narrow gauge train connecting the hill station to the plains wasn't functional since the tracks were swept away in last years floods. its popularly referred to as the toy train and is one of the prime attractions of matheran and i was looking forward to a ride in it. we had to take a cab to the outskirts and then undertook a 4 km uphill walk to the town centre.
while checking out hotels to stay in i chanced upon my company's guest house. luckily enough they had room for us and we had to pay a grand total of 1 buck per person per day for the luxury of the accomodation. yet another moment of being a proud sbi employee. we ran up a bill of thrice that value just drinking tea while we stayed there.
of course, all the money i saved in the accomodation budget was promptly spent by the wife on her now increased shoe shopping budget. all i bought was a measly hat to prevent myself from passing out in the sun outside one of the various shoe stores. now even that one souvenir of my trip has been appropriated by the wife.
quite a good trip nonetheless, good company, good food (lots of it), a little vodka, some bad beer, too much walking, a couple of good views, clean air and a cold night in the middle of summer (we actually needed blankets while bombay was sweltering).