Marvellous Mumbai

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 09, 2012

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Flag of India  , Maharashtra,
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

So, this is it! After an ungodly wake-up call at 4am, a few emotional goodbyes, we made it to Mumbai. The journey was surprisingly pleasant - with the plane being only 1/4 full, we had plenty of space to stretch our legs and just chill.  First off was a glass of chilled white wine courteous of BA and watched a few films a piece, and the flight went fairly quickly although was very difficult to keep awake to ensure we acclimatise to Mumbai time quickly. 

We finally landed at approx 12:30am local time, and were immediately greeted with a blast of warm air. The first task was to find our friendly airport transfer guy (kindly laid on for free by the hotel). After going through security, we were greeted with what seemed like a thousand foreign faces with even more would not believe the amount of people who hang around the airport at 1am!

After finding our driver, it was only a short hop to the hotel (located in the trendy Bandra area, so we're told), and sleep!

Day 1 - Mumbai

After sleeping for what seemed an eternity we headed out of the hotel in the early afternoon, and headed straight to the Colaba area, the home of India Gate. With the help of the very kind hotel owner, he laid on a free taxi and helper to the local train station.  The helper/security guard assisted the purchase of tickets and even guided us onto the train, where we went 1st class and Sophie rode in the male carriage with Neill!  

We arrived at Churchgate armed with a very poor map from our hotel, took a large detour to India Gate.  India gate was built in 1913 to commorate the arrival of King George - and to be fair it doesn't look any bit the 99 years old. We had a wander around, took in the sights, massive balloon sellers and cool breeze, before heading to Leopold's, a local backpacker's favourite cafe...selling indian food, chinese, cakes and beer...perfect!

After a spot of grub, (and against the advice of our friendly hotel owner) we decided to hunt down CST train station (the busiest train station in Asia, we're told) to enquire about tickets to Jodhpur.  Again with the poor map, this took us about 2 hours to find..but as soon as we got there, it was clear why we were told to stay away at rush hour! There were literally tens of thousands of people everywhere...absolutely everywhere! So by the time we got there, and battled through the crowds, we looked at the counters but were too knackered to think about buying anything, so we jumped in a taxi!

The less said about the taxi drive the better but needless to say we made it back to hotel in one piece just, despite the absolutely MENTAL traffic jams which stretched throughout the entire city...and overpaid for the privilege. We also had the pleasure of seeing the Dharavi slum...stretching several kilometers in each direction, and housing well over 1 million residents.

We finally arrived at our hotel, and immediately headed to  the rooftop bar for a well-earned kingfisher and food. We fell asleep soon after!  First day completed successfully!!

Day 2 - Mumbai explored
Today we checked out of the lovely Executive Enclave to head for a place that was cheaper and more central to the fort and Colaba areas.  Again we're helped by the friendly staff to the train station and to the tickets, this time with our luggage in tow.

First task, find a new place to stay.  This didn't start well, after a long search for our first hostel thanks to our poor map, it was full.  We then phoned another, to find it full.  With the help of our favourite gadget, the Kindle (although being cursed constantly by Neill) and a useful website we found a new hotel.  Lesson learnt - always book in advance the day before!!

Since checking in, we headed out for a wander and ended up at Crawford market.  This is a massive market that sells pretty much everything under the sun.  Think Spitalfields but with live puppies, cats, goats, spices, fruit, chocolate and meat all within a covered Victorian designed shed built in 1869.  Surrounding this market are tons of additional streets selling everything else you could need...including a whole area dedicated to lamps and bulbs!

That's about it for today - from here we are heading out for some dinner.

Ciao for now - Sophie and Neill xxx
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Joe on

Glad you guys are having fun. Didn't fancy buying a puppy in the market then?
Heed the warnings in that film we saw in Delhi, don't end up as sex slaves...

Mum and Dad on

Glad to see you getting organised - especially after that text! xx

Anny on

Have a great time! Love, Anny xxx

Mum A on

Exciting! Keep writing!

Funnily enough, I windered if you'd book ahead for places to stay.

Better not come back with a cat! :-)

Stephen Cook on

hurrah, more more

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