Mumbai really leaves an impression on you! Just from the air there were so many lights it looked like stars (I was flying at night), and you can see the point the land ends and the sea starts, with the big estuaries. Also I got carrot cake for dinner on my plane, (which surprised me in a good way).
Outside where I was expecting a taxi sent by my hostel (Anjali Inn), which wasn't there because of the traffic. No worries, a lovely man and boy working for another company phoned them for me and let me know they were on their way. Then out onto the busy busy roads! Not even that far and it took a while. But i got there a-okay, so no worries. There, after checking in and throwing my backpack to the ground I met the couple of boys already in the place, but one was mainly on skype so quite distracted,and the other was going to bed as he had an early start the next day. So I kinda retired to my room to get clean and settled. Then I was trying to get to sleep when at around 1am a couple of girls (both English, Annabel and Alice) came into my dorm. They'd been waiting an hour at the airport for their taxi, which can't have been fun :/
We got chatting for a bit but they were obviously tired, so we all agreed to go round together the nect day and all went to bed, then at 3 or 4an another girl arrived. As it was so late we didn't really chat much, but we kinda said a sleepy "hi" :) (and found out that she's Suji ftom America)
The next day we went off exploring together. At girst we were trying to walk to the train station, but we didn't manage that so well... But still, it was really cool seeing all the streets and everything. After feeling miserably lost we headed back to the hostel (being helped by a group of locals as we forgot where the hostel was) to regroup and recover from the intensity of the streets. It was so nice doing this with other people! By yourself it"s pretty scary.
We ventured out a second time and this time got an auto-rickshaw. We got 2, so 2 in each and agrred to meet at the train station so we could make our way to Colaba and the Gateway of India. Suji and Alice took one rickshaw and Annabel.and I took the other. We agreed Rs.40 for each one (which is too expensive really, but our first bartering so we weren't the best at it). Alice and Suji went straight to the station, but got ripped off and had to pay Rs.40 each, and Annabel and I went on a lovely trek for about half an hour so our driver coild get someone to translate where we wanted to go, then took us aaaall the way back, but still only charged Rs.20 each. That was really kind of him and we got to see some of the slums too, so quite a fun trip overall! Then we got the train down to Christgate station. The ladies carriage is nice, and all the ladies helped us. And going on the train was fun anyways!
Then more of our impressively bad navigational skills and we found a couple of men from england who were looking for the same place and helped us find it. The gate itself was pretty impressive, though Alice did spot the cat asleep inside that was the main attraction :P we kept being offered tickets to elephanta island too, but we wanted to do that the next day as my little pink sheet of information by the hostel said it would take all day.
Then we passed through a bazzaar and found a random restaurant to have lunch in. Was pretty tasty! Then baaack to the train as Suji had to be back in time for her bus and we worked out that it took us about 5 hours to get to Colaba. Annabel, Alice and I then went out for dinner that evening at a really nice family restaurant near the hostel. You can tell it was good because there was a queue to get in ;)
The next day we met up with the guys from ghe day before, (Tom and Pail) to go to Elephanta Island. We managed to get ferry tickets a-okay, and the ferry ride over was pretty nice, though the sun did burn me for being out in it. But the view of Mumbai was pretty spectacular! Looots of skyscrapers, and quite a contrast to Elephanta, which just had a 1km long train line and a hill with a street of shops. At the top there were the caves, (and loads of monkies!), but we had to pay to get in (after paying the Rs.5 to get to the street). We tried using our ferry tickets and ended up being taken to the back and bribing our way in. That was actually quite fun to do! There were monkies everywhere as well, and you could buy slingshots to defend yourself from them. Which makes sense, as we saw one steal a bottle of water and open it!
Then we played a kinda "where's wally?" with the carvings of the creator on his carpet carried by seven swans. He was everywhere! And the most impressive sculpture had to be the giant 3 heads of yhe destroyer, the protector and the creator. It was huuuuge! Abd we had fun making Paul and his guidebook our tour guide :P
Then back and we said bye to Tom and Paul and then Annabel, Alice and I got the train back and we decided to check out Juhu beach. Bad idea! It's where eeeeeveryone seemed to go to relax, meaning thousands of people and no room! Plus we came for a calm meal at the beach and all we aw was fast food places. I tried some Pani puri, but not a fan. And so we went back (after nearly getting lost by a clueless rickshaw driver) and we ended up ordering take-out, which was quite nice.
The next day was supposed to be an early start... But ended up with us leaving at 2 in the afternoon because Annabel needed to sort her bus for the evening. But we got out eventually and tried to go to the National Park.to see the lions and tigere. Buuuut that was closed because it was Monday, (which seems to be for india what Sunday is for England). As we couldn't get in and we'd already seen caves the day before, we went to the Gorai ferry to go to the global pagoda. The ferry was in an interesting place,.passed loads of slums and at the end of a rickety looking jetty. But we got the tickets and across the water fine!
The pagoda itself was pretty awesome. Huuuge and golden :P it's a place built for any person of any religion to come meditate, which is a nifty idea :D Then back across and back to near the hostel, where we ate at a random restaurant. They loved it! Wouldn't leave our table alone, which became slightly irritating after a while when we just wanted to chat, but kinda flattering I guess. :P
Then running, as Annabel.was nearly late for her bus, but we got back in pleeenty of time, so Alice got time to pack (her flight to Jaipur was super early in the morning). And I sat with our host and we went through pronouncing phrases from my phrasebook, and now I know to say "hey" not "hai". :)
The next day I was by myself again., but more used to Mumbai and so mbetter able to cope. I made it to the National Park and this time got in! The park was pretty, and the half hour tiger and lion safari meant I got to see a lion and 2 tigers! Which wasthe highlight of that day really :P I got back to the hostel waaay too early after that, so I had a nap and chatted with the people there some more. And then on to the airport! I got given a random business card and told that the guy might see me in Jaipur... It was rather strange as Igadn't even spoken to him and was just drinking a chai latte. But oh well! Onwards to Jaipur! Where I get to see Alice and Suji agai. :D