Marriott Mumbai international airport

I ended up staying a couple nights at the Mumbai international airport marriott as I needed to return to Mumbai on my way to Kathmandu for a couple days (to pick up some stored luggage, meet up with a couple friends, and so on…).

Prior to check in, I had contacted the front desk manage to arrange for a package to be delivered to the hotel. He made sure is was adequately taken care of.

The ride from the airport in a private car was arranged and taken care off, free of charge (likely because I’m a platinum, normal price is around 20$usd each way). The driver was very friendly, welcoming, and excited to give me information fon the ganeesh festival currently going on in the state that Mumbai is located.

Upon arrival, after clearing multiple bomb dogs, and a dozen security personal inspecting my luggage, person, and the hotel car, I entered the large lobby, which even at the hour of my late arrival had a huge bustle of activity going on. I was very quickly and painlessly checked in, and offered both a food and drink option as my platinum gift (isn’t it usually one or the other?).

I was given a free upgrade to one of their corner unit junior suites. A more than satisfactory room, and a very welcome upgrade on my behalf.

The lounge was typical except in hard product, but the service was excellent. Timing fir the free drinks and food offered to platinums was very relaxed. I never felt once like i needed to order one more free drink before the end of the happy hour. One night, as the happy hour ended, I was even given the rest of the bottle of wine I was drinking as the bar was closing. A+ service in the lounge, one of the best I’ve experienced with Marriott.

The manager also did an excellent job, checking in with me multiple times during my stay to ensure that everything was in order, and a couple timesg when I was having small issues, they were immediately escalated to his office and handled aggressively until resolved.

All in all I give this hotel a rating of 8 of 10. It is after all a courtyard, and I’ve stayed in ritz and jw’s that I have ranked lower.

What needs improvement? Nothing.

A morning of rain

For the first time since I’ve been in kasol, this morning we got a very heavy rain for a few hours. The river next to alpine guesthouse is rushing noticeably harder than normal. In addition there is a very cool fog surrounding the riverbeds and engulfing the trees and such.

A very beautiful morning.

Today im going to check out some of the natural hot springs in the area as everybody recommends them.

There is also a big after party going on today in kasol, started at 10am this morning. The bigger party was in Kalgan for the last 2 days. (kalga is a 15 minute walk or a 1 hour taxi from kasol).

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Hot springs

I went to the hot springs right near kasol for an hour today, it’s actually a very different hot spring experience than I’ve had in the past.

The men’s and women’s hot spring baths are separate from each other. In the men’s hot sprig, everyone wears their underwear in (nearly every other hot spring I’ve been to where men’s and women are separate, most people are naked).

The hot springs themselves are located within a … And donations are accepted but not required.

One very strange element is that the water itself is so hot that it’s not possible to actually get into the bath, but rather people use small buckets to dump the hot water over themselves.

The River Rapids

I’ve spent most of today just sitting next to the river relaxing and reading. The sound of the river itself starts to become a droning, as its just really loud, constant, white noise. Its like being at the datacenter for hours on end, it really plays tricks with your mind.

 

The river is beutiful though, and the current moves quite quickly. I was able to try some trout that was caught out of it earlier today, which was also excellent.

I got a shave today at the local barber for just under $1, was quite interesting because half way through the shave the power went out, but he just kept on shaving as if it wasn’t important to see what he was doing at all to my face with that razor blade!

 

 

Alpine @ Kasol

So i’ve relocated from the guesthouse out on the road to a guesthouse called Apline, which is situated right alongside the very fast moving river. Its really nice actually, the sound of the water overpowers all else, its all one can hear when going to bed/waking up. (As opposed to the traffic and horns and such over on the road)

 

Kasol is a very peaceful little town, it is very much geared up towards tourists, but still a very small town (compared to anywhere i’ve been so far). I’m going to spend a few days here as I like the really relaxed vibe. The only thing i’m not too fond of is the fact that it’s 95%┬áIsraeli tourists here right now, so everybody’s speaking in their native language at all the cafe’s and such.

 

Finally arrived in kasol

Well finally after leaving at noon, it’s now just after 4am and I’m finally here. Quite a drive.

Not much open at 4am so this is the guest house I was able to arrange for 300 rupees, tomorrow I’m going to move over to alpine guesthouse (right next door actually) per multiple recommendations.

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A lesson from rishikesh

For years when someone screams hello in my direction it has grabbed my attention.

In rishikesh the locals take advantage of this natural instinct on every westerner they see.

As such I will no longer even acknowledge anyone who greets me by screaming hello, nor anyone who within the first minute of meeting me uses the word friend.

Also, the auto rickshaw drivers in rishikesh are among some of the most greedy, greasy, and unhonerable people I’ve met in my travels in long time.

Vodafone 3G

So after another gevey sim gone bad, I’ve finally found a replacement gevey and the phone is working again. However due to some reason or another, if 3G is enabled, after about 10-15 minutes, the phone loses service and will not find it again until I fully power off and back on, then unlock again (all in all around a 4 or 5 minute process).

I’m not sure why this is the case, but have noticed if I leave the phone in edge only mode (Ie turn off the 3G), it will stay connected until I’m actually out of service, and then not let me switch towers without power cycling and re unlocking).

Problem with edge is that I get 20-30K/sec instead of 800-1000K/sec (8-10mbit) that I’m able to get with 3G. Thus not fast enough to stream flacs from subsonic running on my music server in the us, not fast enough for skype video, and choppy with skype over edge. Luckily it’s only 2 rupee a minute to call the us, and incoming calls are free, am together with jahjah I really haven’t had too many voice call issues, but video calling is back off the plate until I get this 3G issue figured out.

Of course it’s also annoying in the capacity that I still have around six gigabytes of data left on my prepaid plan, and there’s no way I’ll be able to use that without 3G (with 3G I’d easily finish it before leaving India).

Going to see if there’s a Vodafone gallery (corporate store where thy can do more than just add credit) in kasol (unlikely) and if not give their toll number a call and see if they can figure out what’s wrong (and yes I did say toll number, to call Vodafone, u have to pay them).