We arrived late afternoon at Mumbai and our circle was completed. We were surrounded by a group of touts and we haggled hard with the rickshaw driver who took us for a couple of schmoes. Price agreed and we headed to the hotel, for the entire journey, the driver tried to convince us to change hotel or go shopping etc. We had had enough, the guy was a bit of an ass at the airport in front of his mates and was now trying to schmooze us and we weren't having any of it.
Like the first time we were here, Mumbai didn't feel like the place for us. The people are city
people, no time for chatting, very little smiling, they have busy lives and really, it's probably no different to London in that respect.
Well that was fun. The time has come for us to depart india, and wow what an adventure it was. Before we arrived we were so apprehensive and planned thoroughly all of the wonderful places we wanted to see. We were sure we would have enough time. How wrong we were.
The India we have experienced is far from what we imagined. The friendly people, warm and so willing to help, happily living side by side within multiracial communities. Each giving and receiving respect from their neighbours as well as those curious enough to come to their part of the world.
They have been so engaged when spoken to and if given a small tip, they are gracious. We have found the people tolerant and so quick to smile and laugh. The people are the national treasures and we feel honoured to have met all those we did.
Our wonder was drawn to some amazing animals like the massive flying fox in Kerala, elephants in Hampi, the Kes (what we ended up calling any bird of prey) and the giant Atlas moth in Goa. Our taste buds were ignited by Veg balls and Cholle in Pune, Thalis in Panjim and hands-on chicken in Bangalore, and not a single dish resembled anything that we had eaten back home. No heat for heat's sake just pure flavour.
The weather is always extreme, if the sun is shining, the heat is so intense we could only just bear it. Most days it was around 35 centigrade and this is the cool season. When the heavens open the rain falls heavily and can feel like you are being hit by rubble. The humidity here is so oppressive, it causes the damp and mildew that covers every brightly coloured building in some cities but it is also what enables the crops to grow and people to flourish.
The chaotic roads, so full of vehicles, animals and people just shouldn't work. But they do and with few exceptions seem to work very well, no road rage, and very few accidents were seen.
We came to India planning to see everything we possibly could. We didn't manage that itinerary but can proudly say that we shied away from very little, in a country where it would be easy to do so.
We will most definitely return to this wonderfully diverse country and it's people. Until we meet again.