Anderson Cooper, CNN Reporter: “Kent, when did you know it was time to retire? You’ve had a great career: 25 straight years of making long trips, 100+ countries, the legendary global philanthropy—when did you know it was time to hang up the backpack?”
Kent: “I can pinpoint it, Anderson. It was May 2011, when I had a prolonged bout of constipation in India—India! India in the pre-monsoon heat and humidity! After that I knew I had accomplished all that I needed to in life.”
This is my fourth time in India. The heat and humidity are overwhelming. 43C (110F) in the day, OK, that’s hot, but 33C (92F) as the LOW in the night, that’s a killer. I’m surprised how slow I am getting used to it. There’s a potent combination of humidity, dirt and sweat that does a number on my clothes and makes them smell…sour. (Who wants to travel with me!)
I was worried that returning to Mumbai would bring back memories of the worst bus ride I have ever taken in my life, the overnight bus from Goa to Mumbai. “Worst Bus Ride Ever” has so very many worthy contenders, that it really is saying something. Second worst was Inle Lake to Rangoon, Burma, and third worst was Banaue to Manila, Philippines. Someday I will have to flesh out the details, but let’s not get distracted. Besides, now I have new memories to replace it, like laundry:
Only in India could laundry be a tourist attraction. This is in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. I’m scouting for a big venue where I can wash the city’s dishes and charge admission. Investors? Anyone? Hello?
I don’t know how anyone can live on 6000 rupees a month in Mumbai even if you are living at home. A traveler couldn’t do it. The cheapest bed I could find was a 7 x 5 foot (2.2 x 1.5 meter) compartment with the four walls not quite reaching the roof to increase the ventilation for 400 rupees. The cheapest place in Mumbai is the Salvation Army, but it has an unclean reputation and my friend Manisha begged me not to stay there.
Manisha found me through this website and we met for a few hours as she was flying out the day I flew in. How come I don’t meet more people through my website? I should make an effort to promote it, but how? The conventional way of shaving my head and branding “The Dromomaniac” on the side of my skull? I am open to suggestions.
I read a statistic that in India there are 914 females born for every 1000 males (and then I saw this in today’s news). Boys are prized that much more. Manisha wants out. She’s had her fill of what she describes as a rigid society and is going to Turkey for no reason at all and isn’t looking back.
Mumbai suburban train announcement: “Passengers are advised not to travel on roof tops.”