Finally in Mumbai! Most challenging travel days of our trip and we had finally arrived. 12 hour delayed train and 15 hours late into Mumbai. We were woken by the family near us at 2am tapping our leg to let us know we were there. Not expecting to find each other we amazingly found the polish couple we'd met on the platform the night before and went in search of a room for a few hours kip before the morning. After being chased out of the first hotel by a couple of stray rats we found another with zero visible rodent population, although we could hear them squeaking through the closed window!
Slightly less grumpy now that we'd had a couple of hours sleep we moved into a new guesthouse ran by Lawrence, an extremely polite autistic guy.
24 hours later than expected we went off to see Mumbai and grabbed a masala dosa for brekky. Masala dosa is a favourite breakfast meal consisting of a 3 foot very thin crepe, with a big dollop of curried mashed potato and carrot inside and then folded over into a triangle. Then using your fingers and the help of a bit of curry and coconut chutney you get finger mashing.
Our pre-Mumbai expectations were: smelly, dusty, lots of poverty, big and noisy, GET IN and GET OUT. These were based on things we'd heard from other people. Actually though it's a beautiful city! Fantastic architecture. Cracking food. Cafe with WiFi (a revolution in India and much needed after being out of touch recently), and an exciting buzz.
Out with Daria and Mateusz on day 1 we visited India gate (an Indian version of the arc de triumph) and took a boat ride out to see Elephanta island and see the ancient cave temples. Cave limbo, watching the monkeys plays, admiring the intricate temple carvings and being asked for the odd photo with a group of Indians.
Although Mumbai is meant to be one of the richest cities in the world (I'm not convinced to be honest), a trip to Mumbai wouldn't be complete without a walk around the slums to see the less well off way of life. Reading about the organised tours and their 'rich making the rich richer' ethos, we opted to do it alone. Nervously we ventured through alley ways, watching busy Indians go about their lives on just another day. I don't know whether it was the particular slum we went to but their recycling system was amazing!!! Truck loads of rubbish was sorted, stripped, melted down, reused or left for the animals to finish off. The only thing we saw that wasn't recycled and ended up in a huge pile was the bit of plastic around a water bottle which tells you the name of the brand. All seemed pretty normal until we popped out of the slums on the other side and their was human faeces riddled with maggots all over the road. We squeezed back on the train to the city centre.
After much internet browsing and tour company visits we somehow managed to avoid the 3 day bus to Kathmandu when a cheap flight came up the day before!!! What a relief.
Love Jo x