After relaxing down in Goa for a few days, we then journeyed back up to Mumbai to meet Al who had just spent a week in Dubai. This time however, a much smoother journey by overnight train complete with sleeper beds and linen! A far cry from the ramshackle bus nightmare.
We met Al in the Salvation Army hostel (basic but very reasonable) and quickly informed him that there was very little to do in Mumbai except develop respiratory problems so we decided it was best to probably head off oop north as soon as the Indian transport system would allow us. However we did have time to do a spot of Bollywood first! Basically if you are a westerner and mooching around Mumbai, you WILL be asked at some point to be an extra. Unfortunately we were not thrust into the cutting edge that is the Indian film industry (which apparently accounts for some 40% of India GDP!). Instead we were extras for a Compaq Presario Laptop advert! The experience however was most comedic and we all got paid the princely sum of 5GBP. We got to dress up in what the Indians interpreted to be 'authentic typical western wear. Al's suit was particularly fetching! We then had to act as the audience to a 'Milan Autumn 2006' catwalk! Although highly amusing, the episode did have its drawbacks. Firstly we were told that it would be over by 10pm, but it soon became obvious that we were going to be there a fair while longer. Secondly, 'Film City' is no Hollywood. Instead we were driven (for 3hrs in the traffic nightmare that is central Mumbai) to some s*** hole in the middle of nowhere. They actually use dilapidated holes, rabid stray dogs included to film the bulk of material. Finally, we had somewhat of a debacle getting them to drive us back to our hostel - god only knows how we would have got back otherwise, especially at 4am. All in all, a worthwhile experience but one in which to exercise caution.
Off to Udaipur to soak up some culture.