Mental Mumbai

Having set off late from Manchester we spent the next 4 uncomfortable hours sat on a plane watching some bloody awful animated film about owls.. Awesome! Landing in Istanbul very late we had 20 minutes to exit the plane, clear immigration and walk the kilometre to the gate for our flight to Mumbai. We shot off the plane and sprinted a few hundred metres to the immigration desk who told us to hurry to our gate as they were waiting for us. We sprinted through the terminal dodging the masses of people milling about and hurdling a good few rogue suitcases that got in the way. Thankfully we did make it onto our plane to Mumbai, as did Al’s bags…. mine however, did not!

After going through all the paperwork to do with my bag we were free to go. We got ourselves a pre paid taxi (which turned out to be a rather cool retro black and yellow volvo) and set off on the 45 minute journey through Mumbai to our hotel in Colaba. Having nearly died several times at various intersections around the city and a close encounter with a truck laden with gas canisters we finally made it to Colaba in one piece. Because we were so early we weren’t able to check in so we decided to drop our bags (well I say bags, I mean bag) and head out. We walked all the way up the promenade to Chowpatty beach observing all the locals going about their daily fitness regime. They all looked pretty untouched by the heat but I was absolutely baking hot, still dressed in my English winter clothes of boots, jeans and a t shirt… thankfully I’d ditched the fleece at the hotel. We headed up to Mumbai Grand Central Station which was a good long walk from the area we were in only to discover that when we got there we were meant to be at Victoria Station which is about 15 min walk from our hotel…. gutted!

With mouths like Ghandi’s flip flops (probably shouldn’t say that) we decided to give up on the long walk back and so grabbed another prehistoric cab (with an interior which made you feel like you were on some sort of acid trip) back to the correct station. What a station… the place looks like a palace, it was incredible, well from the outside anyway. Managing to find the correct tourist desk to book train tickets we managed to book some trains before leaving and heading for some dinner.

We both nailed a pretty average mutton curry in a little cafe whilst observing the cafe owner pay for the beggars to go away and leave us alone.. not seen that before! We’ve come to the conclusion that Mumbai in general is pretty strange, the place is a mix up of slums, sky rises and ancient colonial architecture which has become run down and in desperate need of a lick of paint. We’ve hardly seen a westerner since we arrived and we get people staring, shouting hello and kids trying to shake your hands as you walk past. Yup the place stinks too. Strangely though these revolting smells seem to make Al hungry!!!!!

Now we’ve just made it back to the hotel which has aircon so we’re cooling down before we head out to Leopolds for a beer or two. I’ve been told that my bag will arrive first thing in the morning, but I’m not counting on it, Turkish Airlines don’t seem to know there arse from their elbow. Hopefully I will be proved wrong and have my faith in them reinstated because right now it is just way too hot to be wearing these clothes in India.

An interesting welcome back to India for me… all in the spirit of adventure though right?

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