Monkeys in Matheran!

I’m writing from the hotel lobby in Mumbai, in our final hours here in India. We’ve just finished our shopping with the aid of Farouzan, the coordinator of Seeds in India. She has been an *incredible* hostess–she gave us a tour of the heritage sites in Mumbai, pointing out unique architectural and cultural spots and was so wonderful to be with!

We spent a couple of days in a getaway spot for Mumbai-ites, a place called Matheran. It originally was a “hill station” for the British. They’d escape from the heat of Bombay and retreat to their mountain bungalows. Now, it’s full of rich Indian tourists who come at all stages of their lives. It is kind of like the Catskills or Lake George!

In Matheran, we were adopted by a band of about 10 teenage boys who had just finished their exams, and were totally curious about us. They talked with us at the pool, followed us to our cottage and talked with us on our porch, and even invited us to dinner. They were great!

We rode horses, which were all over Matheran. You hire a guide to go with you, and ride to each Point, which serves as an incredible lookout. One of the points is called Sunset Point, which, obviously, is packed with tourists at about 6:45. It’s also packed with these awful monkeys, which are also vacationing in Matheran.

The monkeys are incredibly scary, and are aggressive and clever–which just adds to their scariness. When we yelled at them, they didn’t scatter, they just made nasty faces at us and bared their terrible teeth!!! As we were walking, we made the mistake of buying a snack at one of the vendors at the Point. We walked down the hill, and were suddenly SURROUNDED by teeth baring monkeys. People started yelling at us to throw our food to them! While Dan threw his food, I was kind of staring at him and the monkey who had made off with his snack. Suddenly, a monkey jumped up at me, whacked my plate out of my hand, and ran away with my snack!!! This incident was repeated the next day, except with my Pepsi!!!! I HATE MONKEYS!!!!

In any event, I guess it keeps with tradition in my having ridiculous accidents… i.e. falling out of a bus in Jerusalem (1996), getting my clothes stolen from a Turkish bath (1998) and getting hit on the head with a falling coconut in Thailand (2003). No major casualties, just a funny story!

Well, Dan has just returned with the soundtrack to the Bollywood movie we saw in Jaipur. time to shower and head to the airport! . I’m sad to leave…I feel like i’m just hitting my travelling groove… but it has been the most incredible trip I’ve had in my life!