Want to go to Bollywood?

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, April 9, 2010

After a cheeky visit to McDonald's to nurse our hangovers we got to our first proper hostel in India. It's dirt cheap (just over 3 pounds including breakfast). Yes it's ridiculously hot at night, the toilet flush doesn't work so you have to throw a bucket of water down it after using, and the water hardly ever works. I'll let you work out what that means for the toilet in a form full of 11 travellers in India. It can be quite entertaining though - if you discover the water is working it's like a secret and as soon as someone hears running water everyone suddenly wakes up or runs to form an orderly queue outside the "bathroom".

We were asked twice if we would like to be extras in a bollywood film, which I so wanted to do, but unfortunately both times were just the worst timing ever and it was just not possible. However we did manage to go and see one at the cinema which was amazing. It was just fun - basically a fairly badly acted Western film with a few random songs thrown in, but it worked so well. Of course it was in hindi with no English subtitles but we laughed when everyone else laughed and fooled the entire cinema into believing we were fluent in hindi (well...maybe not). There are however a few random words or phrases said in English. A couple of examples are "Dude, crisis!" and "Is she hot?"
The audience get so much more involved in the whole experience than we do. The adore their country and this is evident in the cinema. Before the film begins everybody stands for the National Anthem and no one is afraid to laugh at the top of their lungs or clap violently when they appreciate what is happening on the big screen.

Our hostel is right by the "Gateway of India" - basically a massive archway on the water where you can get boats to and from Elephanta Island which we did the first day we were there. It was kind of a massive rip off for what it was - basically an island with some hindi caves on it - interesting nontheless and it was a nice introduction to Mumbai prices (more expensive than anywhere else in India - obviously still about 10 times cheaper than UK though).
We found an awesome bar that served beer and steak burgers for dinner which was actually amazing - it's exciting when you find anywhere that serves meat in India but beef is just in a completely different league. After dinner we found some funky gardens to chill out in and play cards whilst listening to a hindi rock band.

Decided to get up the next day at 430am (yet again!) to go down to the docks and watch the fish being brought in. Although I questioned if I was slightly insane at the time, it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in India. We got there and it was pretty dead - no boats had come in yet but people were obviously preparing and setting up - filling huge baskets with ice etc.
Then the boats came in and hundreds of people swarmed towards them to buy their fish. Huge baskets were thrown from the boats to the men who sell to the customers on the dock. Pretty soon though we became trapped and could get nowhere. Wandering is definitely not an acceptable pace to walk here and apparently if you are white and do not have a basket of fish on your head then you will just get pushed out of the way into a massive pile of fish. It was just completely incredible watching everybody go about their everyday lives while we were just stuck in the middle of it all silently panicking in all the chaos. After breakfast and a quick nap we went down to Crawford market where they literally sell everything from spices to live chickens. Ended up being pretty tired after being awake for roughly 20 hours by the time it got to bedtime. Found a really good little street stall that made amazing chicken tikka rolls. After a pitcher of beer it was definitely bedtime.

Flying to Bangkok tonight for part 2 of the trip. Goodbye India, hello South East Asia.

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Mum on

..... and what a fantastic account of your time spent in India for you to look back on. You have certainly painted a very vivid picture for me - I could almost have been there! Visiting the market and the fishing boats must have been amazing and the caves with their lifesize sculputures. I hope you enjoy Bangkok as much although I must say i am a tad concerned re all the riots etc there but I'm sure you will make the right decision and maybe make the journey to Cambodia straightaway? Continue to keep us posted.

Ma x

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