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INDIA | Monday, 26 November 2012 | Views [1047] | Comments [1]

I flew into Mumbai from Heathrow and arrived late in the night. I met Hege who had landed a few hours before and we went straight to the hotel. The next morning we decided we would explore Mombai or Bombay as the Indians still call it.

We bought our train tickets to Bombay Central which cost around 6p each. The guy at the ticket counter looked a little bit miffed when I handed him a 1000 rupee note which is about 12 pounds. With my pockets loaded with change, we jumped on the train towards the city center. Riding the train was brilliant. Everyone piles on frantically as it pulls away from the platform. As there are no doors, passengers ride with their heads hanging out, occasionally ducking in when passing under a bridge to avoid decapitation. A ridiculously dangerous way to travel but fantastic fun and I just had to have a go.

Once we arrived in central Bombay we found a bakery for breakfast. I had a croissant which to my surprise was stuffed full of potato curry. A strange yet surprising pleasant experience especially when I drowned it in chilli sauce. Not sure what the french would make of it though.

Being a Saturday Bombay's tourism offices were all closed which left us trying to find the cities limited attractions without a map. After half an hour of of wondering in 35C temperatures in amoungst the most chaotic traffic I have ever whitnessed, Bombay had managed to break us both. Hege and I inevitably began rowing in the middle of the road about which way it was to the Gate way of India, much to the amusement of passes by. We solved the problem by jumping into a 'cool cab' which drove us there for next to nothing. The monument itself was a little disappointing. I took more interest in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel which stands opposite and was one of the locations of the horrific terrorism attacks in 2008 in which 206 people were killed. After taking a few pictures and having countless people asking to have there photos taken with us, we decided to move on. We had only been there for a matter of hours yet both agreed that Mombai was a little bit to hectic for us and it was time to head for the sandy shores of Goa. As the train was full we booked the night bus. Hege quickly realised we only had two hours to go back to the hotel and pick up our luggage, have dinner and make it back to the city centre to catch the bus. To me, this felt like loads of time, and in typical fashion I was taking it easy whilst Hege stressed that we wouldn't make it. After collecting our baggage and an exquisite cheese masala at a vegi restaurant, we jumped back on the train towards the bus stop. Hege had been right to rush us as we arrived half an hour late. Fortunately though, this was India where very little runs to schedule and we made our bus. A 16 hour bus journey to Calangute in the north of Goa was an adequate length of time to reflect upon our brief stay in Bombay. The people we encountered were wonderfully warm and polite. They seemed kind and enjoyed a laugh. When I stepped on a train reserved for women only, the men on the platform found it hilarious and were only too happy to put us on the right path. Other than the traffic, nothing seems to stand still here, and I constantly felt the need to stay on the move in order to keep up with the cities frantic pace. I remembered a quote from the film Marigold Hotel which I had watched on the flight over. 'India is like a wave. Resist and it will knock you down, but go with it, and you will pop out the other side'. Nothing could be more relevent when describing the city of Mumbai.

Dangerous maybe, fun definately

The Gate way to India

On the way to city centre

Hege at Mumbai Central

Tags: mumbai, trains



I always tell folks,1st timers.Get out of Mumbai and come back after Goa.You will be much more prepared.And you will appreciate it much more.The traffic wont seem so bad...From your pics,I would guess they were taken in South Goa..glenn/sunita

  jazzmanblues Dec 31, 2012 2:33 AM

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