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December 3, 2008

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Mumbai Attacks

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As I wrote last week, I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I was in India and was scheduled to check into the Taj Palace in Mumbai, just 36 hours after the attacks. There was a good chance that I would have either been in my room or at Cafe Leopold around 9:30pm. When the tragedy occurred, I was in a remote part of India on a tiger safari and I learned about it when I checked my BlackBerry in the middle of the night. When I read the CNN breaking news email alert, my eyes opened wide and my heart started to pound. The emails started pouring in from concerned friends and family. Scared and outraged, I was forced to spend an extra night at the incredible lodge where I was, before making the trek to Nagpur and then flying to Mumbai. My family thought I was insane for flying INTO the madness and not returning home the way I had arrived (via Europe). But I wasn't going to let cowardly terrorists deter me from continuing on with my round-the-world trip.

This trip is sponsored by India's largest carrier, Jet Airways, which is my new favorite airline. The staff, the folks from their public relations company Geoffrey Weill, India Safaris and CC Africa/Taj Safaris (now called &Beyond), have been so hospitable and supportive it's been unbelievable. Since my hotel was on fire, they arranged for Natalie and me to stay the night at the plush Mumbai Grand Hyatt, which is just 15 minutes from the airport. The General Manager there was a friend of a friend. Security was tight. There was a checkpoint just to get onto the street of the hotel, another car-and person-check to get into the Hyatt's driveway and then a metal detector before entering the lobby. Once inside, I felt like I was in Fort Knox and slept like a baby. Fifteen hours later, I was back at the Mumbai airport where they had similar checkpoints and police and military with huge machine guns, all on guard. I really didn't want to leave India (what an incredible country) but I needed to continue on with the trip. I'm currently at an undisclosed location (I can't give away all my locales!) but I look forward to telling you all about it in detail in the coming weeks. For now, we'll continue publishing the stories I wrote along the way and we pick up where we left off two weeks ago -- in Houston. Giddy up!

Safe and happy travels,
Johnny Jet

Howdy! Two stories ago we made the trek all the way from Bora Bora to Houston, Texas via L.A. Yee haw! This is my first official trip to Houston and coming here is almost like visiting another country. Most of the folks on the plane had a long drawl (y'all) and somehow just seemed bigger and louder. There were two women sitting behind me. One of them was so loud, I almost had to shush her. But as their state slogan goes, I didn't want to mess with Texas. I knew it was going to be a long flight when she ordered vodka tonics just after takeoff ... which was at 8:30am. However, her seatmate spoke quietly as well as my polite, interesting Texan bible-reading seatmate who tried to get me to convert to her Christian church.

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Pictures From

The Trip


Welcome To Mumbai


Mumbai Security


Bombay Times


It's Illegal To Give Money To Beggars


What A Personality


Entering The Airport


Pulling Up To The Terminal


Mumbai Airport


Welcome To Houston



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