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WAVE India Day16: Final Stage to Mumbai

our last day on the WAVE india. this last stage will take us from the pune plateau down to hot and steamy mumbai.

first kms in pune

first kms in pune

we first set out to pick up the think-driving part of the WAVE at another hotel close to pune. very spontaneously we decide that this might be a good time to take some group photos.

pune, billboards over billboards for products 90% of the people here can't afford nor need

pune, billboards over billboards for products 90% of the people here can't afford nor need

the WAVE members

the WAVE members

the roads today promise to be beautiful, since jean-claude and i have decided to use the expressway. we even are ready to negotiate with police and toll plaza operatives… three-wheelers are NOT allowed on the expressways in india!

last few kms to mumbai

last few kms to mumbai

coming from mumbai we already had some interesting discussions and were stopped by the police, but always found us back on the road in relatively short time after some convincing talk about the motorway stickers on the TWIKE and how this proved, that we were allowed to drive on any expressway world-wide! (btw. this has happened to me in switzerland, too. but in switzerland the answer from the police officer who stopped me on the motorway after i told him that i had the required motorway toll stickers was as simple as logic: just sticking some stickers on your car, sir, will not make it motorway-worthy. he then way very surprised to learn that this vehicle has a top speed around 100kph and was indeed very much allowed to drive on the motorway. after which he then proceeded to ask me how far i could go on a charge…)

the drive to mumbai was quite uneventful – the road was good and we only had one three-wheeler discussion at one toll plaza.

descending from pune to mumbai meant most importantly that both humidity and temperature went up dramatically. whilst we had 32C on the plateau, mumbai greeted us with 37-38C. humidity levels rose, too, but without a hygrometer, we only can tell you that it was very, very noticeable!

we hit traffic, but since our hotel is on the other side of the big bay bridge, we get there quickly and can recharge the cars and freshen up for the final event tonight.

for me this is the moment to leave anything i don’t want to take back home now with jean-claude. i am planning to only take my small citypack with me as carry-on bag. laptop, camera and presents – that’s it. my wife will bring a jacket to the airport. (-1C, snow, currently).

we shower, shave and freshen up. our team shirts and proper trousers make us as casually smart as the smart casual dress code for this event stipulates.

it takes us just 90 minutes to reach the consul general’s mansion. a very exclusive place with multiple security rings around it. complete with garden and stunning view of mumbai’s skyline, this is a very special place to be!

this is where the WAVE officially ends – we’ve come full circle and it’s been an incredible experience!

side view

side view

for us it was 2827kms, we used 131kWh of energy. this means that we consumed 46Wh/km. this would be a lot in europe, but given all the weight, the bad roads (very inefficient) and the parts on the motorway at higher speeds, we’re definitely quite happy with ourselves. (and are – by far – the most efficient vehicle of the WAVE)

fun fact: roughly converted to petrol, we did 2800+ km with about 11 litres of petrol!

we position the cars beneath the arrival arch. and wait for the official guests to arrive. catering and service is impeccable and we do indeed get our drinks we were looking forward to (in my case a proper g&t).

with the guests and press slowly trickling in, we settle into our usual routine of explaining our cars and related questions. coupled with the drinks and surroundings we would love to do this on a regular basis!

view of the mansion from the terrace

view of the mansion from the terrace

a mosque in the bay

a mosque in the bay

again, stunning views from the garden!

again, stunning views from the garden!

mumbai skyline

mumbai skyline

catering getting ready (the food was delicious!)

catering getting ready (the food was delicious!)

one last team briefing

one last team briefing

exclusive views from the mansion

exclusive views from the mansion

people slowly trickling in, catering in full swing

people slowly trickling in, catering in full swing

mumbai's sherrif in the TWIKE

mumbai's sherrif in the TWIKE

very nice vibes @ consul general's mansion

very nice vibes @ consul general's mansion

time flies and suddenly it is around 1030pm – we take the arch down and everybody gets ready to head back to the hotel.

paul and myself will be leaving by taxi, paul had to return the reva to reva and i am leaving at 445am.

the other team members will stay for another week to re-export the cars and either head back to switzerland or stay on for some more relaxing time in india.

this is the moment: WAVE over, time to say goodbye. a last picture of the team and of the vehicles and i get in the taxi direction airport.

last picture of the WAVE, everyone on their way after saying goodbye

last picture of the WAVE, everyone on their way after saying goodbye

the 24 kms to the airport take me slightly under 3 hours. it is incredible to be stuck in a traffic jam at 1am and sometimes being stationary for 15 mins because of gridlock. at the same time breathing was sometimes difficult – at one point someone at the roadside decided he wanted to burn his household waste (mostly plastics) right there – this is something else india has to tackle fast: waste management. nearly a whole subcontinent disposes its waste in open fires outside of homes!

i arrive at the airport and delve into the facelessness of international travel environments. after checking in without any baggage (“you are travelling light, sir!) i spend the few hours until boarding in one of the airline lounges and relax in a very comfortable leather recliner.

the flight to istanbul and onwards to zurich is utterly uneventful, except for the inflight food the indian travel agents had arranged for me on the istanbul – zurich leg: strict hindu pure veg. everyone else was having their horrible chicken pasta hobby-kit whilst i had the most delicious aloo gobi / rice / channa colaw paneer as my special requirements meal. (the flight attendant asked twice and still didn’t believe me when i said: yes, this is indeed for me!)

from now onwards, i will try to get this food on my long haul flights!

i arrive in zurich and a gust of very, very cold air hits my face when i step off the airplane. within just 8 minutes of getting of the plane, i am greeted by my family and we head home together, happy to see eachother after such a long time! (it was very strange to wear a pullover and a jacket – soo heavy and cumbersome after this period of wearing short sleeved shirts only!)

thank you india, for making these 3 weeks such a memorable experience. thank you to all the people i met and was able to speak to and who helped me/us during this time. i’ll be back, that’s for sure!