It's about 00:30 when we land, (Mumbai is 4hr30 ahead of GMT) the pilot politely tells us the headphones aren't free and I unwillingly hand them over to the attendant and get ready to leave the plane. I get outside and I feel hot and humid weather that I have never felt before and it is midnight!
I am instantly harassed by taxi drivers and money changers I craftily out dodge the majority, but out of nowhere 'Sidarta' cut me off. Sidarta will eventually be the guy to scam me out of £40, this is how it happened...
"Do you need a taxi driver sir?!" he starts "No thank you" I respond, but he goes on and on I finally say let me look for my pick up and make a phone call the we can talk, he agrees and I search vigorously, three times in fact but I don't find the driver. I call the guy several times but no one picks up after about 30-40 mins wait I relent and I tell him too drive me to the hotel. I tell I have no money, but he knows where I can change some money, so we walk to his car where the driver (his accomplice) is waiting, he drives us booth like maniacs and I am sitting in the car fearing for my life. I see kids riding mopeds (about 3 on each one) and people hanging out of cars, it's like whole new world.
We stop. It's dark. Sidarta gets out.
He bangs on a fenced off glass door and a guy who was sleeping on a desk gets up, switches on the light and it turns in to a money exchanger as if by magic. I change £50 not before Sidarta tries to bully me into changing more. I get nearly 5000 Rupees; I am really happy about that.
We get back into the cab and I ask him how much the fare is, he says 3200 Rupees. "3200 Rupees?!" I ask and he shows me the tariff card to confirm I hand over the money realising I have just been scammed big time he has the cheek to ask for a tip I refuse, he argues, I still refuse. Then to my surprise he jumps out and tells the driver to take me to my destination.
The Drive is very long and I can't wait to get to the hotel. We arrive and the driver asks me for money, I say no and we argue for 10 mins finally he gives up and shouts at me to get out of the cab, I grab my luggage and hurry into the hotel hoping not to get run over by the driver. I sign in get to room and meet one of my roommates, after chatting for a little while and going for a little look around I get into bed and think about what the morning will bring. It's going to be a long 3 weeks!