About Me

My photo
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
My Blog is a self-indulgent, part journey, part training log, part hindsight account. After experiencing first hand, the terrrorist attacks in Mumbai I made a promise to myself to fulfil an ambition from many years ago to compete in an ironman triathlon. I was reminded that life isn't as predictible as a sine curve and a chance encounter with the most unlikely of people can change ones course forever. I hope you get something from my shared experience.

Mumbai to Port Macquarie

Hi and thanks for popping by. Maybe you stumbled across my blog by coincidence of a few key search words or possibly you were pointed in this direction. Either way you are here now...

This is an account of a my personal sojourn though life with it's many twists and turns. As you may later discover (if you're not already awake to the idea) , the universe has brought you here through a series of yes responses from yourself.

Chance is a concept I subscribe to... never is it luck.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Installment #2 of M2PM

I had one of my designated mid-week days from hell during the week. Thanks to a very forward thinking company I am able to get some extra leave throughout the year and I have decided to take them for the purpose of creating a mid week hell. I awoke on the day of hell to a dull red light and thought that the big fella upstairs was also deciding to chip in. He did just that and in a big way as the Blue Mountains was blanketed in a layer of dust whipped up off a parched inland of NSW. Rather poignant I thought considering it was a day from hell last November which was largely the reason I was taking Wednesday off to train.

I got through my swim session and figured a combination of gale force winds, a blanket of dust in the air and a deep fatigue was as good enough of a reason as any for a midday snooze and DVD (Into the Wild - a favourite movie of mine). I got my track session done in the arvo with Dr Phil and the Flying Welshman - 5 x 1 mile - loved the head wind up the main straight (and the colour of my cough - sorry)

In between sleeping and watching Into the Wild I reflected on the the Mumbai terrorist attacks. These 2 things for me are linked. In November of last year I had decided to take a break from civilisation as I knew it and experience the assault on my senses that India provides. The 2 years previous had been my hardest so far and had taken me to what I thought was my emotional limit. I needed some time out. On a balmy, busy evening my good friend Liv and I were heading back to 'Cafe Leopold' for the second night running. This place was a temporary sanctuary for a Westerner needing cold beer and an a brief reprieve from the unfamiliar chaos and mass of humanity that is Mumbai. The next day we were heading off to Delhi so a night of celebrating our time in Mumbai and India so far was in order.

We were only metres from the cafe when we heard what sounded like fire crackers before the normally chaotic street- like many in South Asian cities - became a frightend mass of humanity running for their lives. Inside the cafe someone had pulled out an automatic weapon and was firing on everyone in the place. Liv and I turned and ran up into a stairwell while the street scene played out below. We had unintentionally ran into a trap. We could hear people locking their doors, doors that may have been able to get us out of the stairwell and into relative safety. Now we could only sit and watch through the doorway below and listen as the gun-fire continued. It would stop and start - rapid bursts of gunfire then someone yelling in a language I was unfamiliar with in between these bursts. We were now trapped and at the mercy of the universe.

Eventually the gun-fire ceased and through the open doorway below I could see the looters rushing in and filling bags and what ever else they could use with the goods that only minutes before were being sold by street hawkers and merchants. They rushed in and then out before a relative calm. I spotted what I thought were 3 soldiers standing at the entrance to our stairwell. I looked at Liv and we both knew it was now or never. We edged out door, made eye contact with these 3 men who appeared most surprised to see 2 foreigners making their way out. We ran, keeping low. By now there were some police in the area and some survivors were making their way out. I remember seeing a man carrying a bloodied child in his arms. He was yelling and whaling as he rushed in the same direction as us. It reminded me of so many of the scenes I have seen on TV.

Little did Liv and I know that this was the beginning of a 24 hour hell for us though this period was the most graphic.

This was the first part of the death of the old Tim.

No comments:

Post a Comment