After a long and arduous journey (6 hour stop in Singapore with a couple of hours nap on the floor!) we arrived in Mumbai, two hours to get through the airport and we are on the road to Colaba where we are staying. The journey to the hotel began and the roads were quiet, but then we arrived in the fruit and veg market area and the streets began to come to life, people everywhere gathering to buy their fresh fruit and veg, the main street became a sea of people! You can’t help but look in every direction to see what’s happening. 50 metres on were the flower markets and the same thing, people everywhere! As some meandered through the crowds to purchase their goods others lay asleep on the side of the road, young and old, lay on the paths they call home!
We arrived at our hotel, well 50 metres from it at least but a truck in the middle of the road meant a short walk with backpacks on! After a nap it was time for a freshen up to hit the streets of Mumbai. The room is really quite pleasant, there is strange little window in the shower, yes in the shower that looks into an office and as Alan brushed his teeth naked, as you do after a shower, and was a bit taken aback by a pair of eyes peering through the louvres of the window!!!!
We then went off to the Gateway of India, we walked along, no-one bothering us, and Alan pointed that out, but alas he spoke too soon, the next thing we have a Temple man wrapping coloured string around our wrists, giving us sugar candy and a flower, then the post card sales man! He was desperate for us to look at the “very interesting postcards” that he was selling, he told us all organic, we turned to look and there was a packet of Hash! After a little harassment I offered to give him the police telephone number, to which he responded by giving me the number and only 50 metres down the street two police officers just sat there! It really is no wonder that so many foreigners end up in Indian prisons!
We walked around for about 8 hours encountering the rich and the poor, beggars who appeared to be no older than 3 or 4 years old who knew exactly what to do and seemed to know the boundaries of their patch. We encountered the sound, smell and the taste of India, with a great feed at Karath’s Veg Restaurant. Horns going everywhere the chatter of people and the smell of India, no other way to describe it really! We visited sights and just breathed in the experience.
Before we went back to the hotel we went to what the Lonely Planet calls a travelers institution “Leopold’s cafe & bar” for a cold beer. What a great place filled with an array of different people from all over the world, we stayed for a while before concluding our night at the roof top restaurant of our hotel, we looked out over the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Today, Friday is the last day in Mumbai before our 12 hours train journey to Goa to meet with Janet and Andy, so much to do, see and expereince and so little time – I think Mumbai will remain on our travel list for a while!
Today we hope to head off to the Dharavi slum and Elephanta Island and then probably a bit more of a wander through the streets!