Wednesday 25th September
You feel the impact of Mumbai even before the plane lands. The ground around the airport is rough, hilly and overgrown but as the plane approaches the runway you can see thousands of shacks and makeshift dwellings just clinging to every piece of available land. For us the impression of teeming humanity was emphasised on the long drive into the city in a very old and rickety cab. We came past the Dharavi slum and the railway tracks where many families seemed to be living along the sides of the street just under pieces of polythene tied to the walls and railings. Loads of scabby dogs and cats and Paul also spotted a fat rat! A pretty big culture shock compared to Wokingham!
Lucky for us our hotel is really comfortable with many helpful staff who really do everything possible to help their guests. Last night we managed to walk out to The Gateway of India and the famous Taj Palace Hotel on the waterfront. After that we were super tired but got directions to a great restaurant where the prawn and chicken curries were fabulous – much better than at home! However we spent nearly 30 GBP and will have to find cheaper in future.
Thursday 26th September
This morning was all about walking and walking around Mumbai. The city feels like a mad onslaught of extremes. It’s massively noisy as there’s building work everywhere and the cars, motorbikes, buses and taxis all sound their horns at every opportunity. You take your life in your hand every time you try to cross the road!
We visited Leopold’s Café made famous by Gregory David Robert’s book Shantaram (don’t particularly recommend it having got to the end!), then went on to Colaba market. That was great but we then proceeded to get ourselves lost in the dark, maze like back alleys behind the market. Don’t think they often see many westerners in that area. We didn’t feel too threatened until we set the dogs off. Lots of barking and growling so we beat a hasty retreat with Paul bent double under the strung plastic roofs, awnings and drying laundry!