Sir! Sir! Do you want big balloon Sir?! Said the Indian man holding an elephant sized orange balloon. There are hundreds of men walking the streets of Mumbai selling these balloons. I never knew the market for these balloons could support so many people, but evidently they have. I see them selling them on the trains as well. I cannot think of a better way to connect with my fellow train compartment mates than to buy them a polka dotted balloon.
The city of Mumbai has 23 million people, that they know of. 3 million more than the continent of Australia. At one end of Mumbai are the remants of the British control. Beautiful Victorian buildings, looks just like London. A few kilometers away is Dharavi, the biggest slum in Asia. A few blocks down is a beachfront to rival Miami. Bollywood, curries, beggars, insane taxi drivers, I was in a head spin.
The third day in India, sickness took over. I found my head in the toilet for a day and a half. I was staying at the Salvation Army and my Canadian dorm mate was watching over me. He gave me some pepto bismol, and 30 minutes later I was a cotton candy fountain, puking the pink stuff all over the already disgusting bathroom floor. I wanted to be partying with the Bollywood stars, instead I was partying with the question, why the hell did I come to India?
I finally found out that I just had heat exhaustion, and if I drank at least 4 or 5 liters of water a day, i would be okay. I convinced an ox cart driver to let me and a friend ride around the streets of Mumbai on an ox cart. Quite intense, considering we were sitting on a dirty mat over a huge ice cube that had fallen on the street. You know, the same ice cubes they probably serve to you in the restaurants.
The filthiness of India cannot be captured in words. I am constantly jumping over cow chapattis. And the dirt is what turns many people off from the country. But as I have found out, those people are missing out on the experience of a lifetime.