We arrived in Mumbai early in the morning, welcomed by the sight of dozens of naked bottoms squatting on the tracks defecating. Though that was the initial impression we got of Mumbai – some of the worst squalor in Asia, the city was also a dream come true for me (as anything remotely dramatic usually catches my attention). The city didn’t disappoint!
We stayed in an AC room to maintain some degree of sanity in the heat, admired the remnant of Britain’s colonial past – beautiful stone buildings that are still used as Bombay University, Municipal offices, etc. Since were in beating heart of Bollywood, we HAD to catch flick! And since we were only 2 blocks from a theatre, there really was no excuse not to go!
We watched Metro…Imagine every single romantic story line you can possibly pull out of your wildest dreams and roll all of them into a neat, emotional and highly dramatic 2 hour saga (including a 15 minute intermission!). Steve hated it (though he did like air conditioning for two hours). I loved the whole experience!
We only stayed one night – not enough time to get scouted to be extras in a Bollywood flick as I had originally hoped! Oh well, next time!
After a 15 hour bus ride sitting wedged at the back of the bus where the annoying guy in front of me kept on refusing to put his seat up an inch, pinning my whole body down to my seat, I’m so glad to be in Goa.
We’ve managed to cover a lot of ground over the past couple of days and have paid for it in fitful nights, little sleep, getting sick, the whole works. Yesterday we spent the whole day in transit, trying desperately to get out of the Mumbai area. We bought unreserved train tickets (such a BAD idea) to get to Goa last night which would take us 12 hours and have us arrive at midnight. I took one look at the sardine can of a train coach, bursting at the seam with men, and promptly burst into tears.
Steve tried to be stern, but the thought of standing at the front of the car, an object of curiosity and intrigue for the 70 Indian men crammed into the car for 12 hours was just too much for me. We jumped off, canceled our tickets and felt lost in a random place called Thane for a very long time.
Then we found McDonalds. Now, I don’t usually eat McDonalds at all in Canada, but for some reason, the building, in all it’s air conditioned glory, stood on that street corner and beckoned us to come in. Above the counter, a plack announced that the restaurant served no beef or beef products. We opted for the Maharaja Mac – the vegetarian version of the Big Mac but a lot worse, and ice cream. Then we hopped on the bus.
And now we’re here, surrounded by palm trees. Just ate shark filets and kabaabs for supper and are hoping to find someplace with a fan that will be showing a movie later tonight.
So our India adventure continues! Sometimes I have to laugh at ourselves…we get so infuriated and frustrated with the bureaucracy, with the constant scamming, the sheer irritation of smelling crap and urine all the time. But for some reason we keep doing this thing called backpacking to ourselves. Deep down, I must love it. 🙂
We had a great day near Mumbai in a hill station called Matheran – great rock formations looming in all directions. It was nice and cool for a change and there were lots of hiking trails and lookout points. It is one of the only places in India where motor vehicles are banned. The whole place is serviced by hand rickshaws and horseback. One of the highlights was a ‘toy train’ which transported people up and down the mountain.