Home > Kev's Blog > 27-Mar-2023 A loose day in Mumbai

27-Mar-2023 A loose day in Mumbai

Wednesday 27 March 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

As I didn’t sleep that well, I was up around 6am and sorted out my bags a bit better then went out for a walk to survey the surroundings and take some photos. I saw the water – it was right next to the hotel – as the sun was rising. Also went to the Gateway of India. It’s a big archway that is famous throughout India’s history. Up close it’s a bit like any monument – need to be careful I don’t get too blasé as you see so many temples & monuments they just blur after a while.

I also went past the oval where there seemed to be about 15 separate games of cricket going on at the same time. I bought a sugar cane juice, it was really nice. I enjoyed walking around, looking at stuff and taking photos and I feel I got to know the area quite well.

I eventually found a better hotel, quite expensive compared to what I was paying last year but not expensive in the big scheme of things and I guess that’s what you should expect – it is Mumbai and I seen a few other places even more expensive.  2350R is about $40 however it’s got an en suite and hot water and toilet paper – I can’t be bothered buying & carrying my own so often end up using my hand like half the rest of the world!! It also had a tv and aircon. I went back to the old place to check out and get my bag. I stopped at a place for breakfast as I was quite hungry now. It sold coffee indian style with milk & sugar but the food wad a bit weird.  The menu board said “brain” which could have been an abbreviation of a poor translation. Anyway it looked like everyone was eating brain with these hunks of awful white bread so I drank my coffee and left. Later on I found a decent looking place and had a foul-looking & tasting veg roll and chai for breakfast as I was by that time positively starving.

I moved in to the new hotel, had a hot shower,  cleaned my teeth and felt better about the world. I took some photos of people who’ve been covered in coloured powder as part of Holi – there was a big party near here but that’s not really my scene – you could hear the music from miles away. Chelsea would have been there for sure !

More info about Holi here.

I then tried to sort out a train to Kolkata for Friday night or Saturday but at least 2 places said that ALL trains were full. I even saw the online bookings and wait lists so decided to fly (and will catch the train back).  Plane was about $150 whereas the train is $100 but takes 30-38hrs. I got a plane ticket for late saturday morning so don’t have to rush in the early morning but will still have time to suss out a place to stay in Kolkata in the daylight as it gets in at 2.10pm

It was interesting as the agents have a login to arzoo.com and bring up all the flights etc – I could order them by time, airline, cost etc and saw that at any time the price was the same. You could even see the agent’s comission etc. He pays from his account and I gave him the cash. This is exactly what they did in kashmir last year.

I then bought a green coconut to drink the juice for 60cents. Lovely. I went past a decent looking restaurant so stopped and had lunch. I am pretty good at going into places by myself now. It feels a bit weird at first. Maybe even a bit sad! Rice, dhal, roti, lemon tea. Left feeling full but relaxed. I can feel my pace slowing down now it feels like ages since I was at work!

I had met  a tour guide tout earlier and was thinking of doing a small tour of Mumbai. I normally hate tours & anything over-organised but if you do it one-on-one you get individual attention, can skip past the stuff you don’t like, can ask questions & learn heaps more than in a larger group (where I’d normally switch off). Also it would be good to see whatever sights there were and get a better feel for the geography. Anyway I then met anothet tout and knocked him down to a fair price so did it from about 1pm to 4pm.

We went to the laundry washing area although pretty much everyone had the day off partying – there were a lot if drunk and drugged up people wandering around (bhang – marijuana is very commonly used). Then we went to the fisherman’s colony, same but still very interesting. Then nariman point,  marine drive and malabar hill – lots of ecoensive areas, the jain temple (I think the jain’s are great). Then the hanging gardens – very hot & exposed here, then the temple of silence where the pharsees are chopped up & fed to vultures instead of burying or cremation. Of course a trip to a souvenir shop and of course bought nothing. The highlight wad Gandhi’s Mumbai residence back in the 1920s. Then the railway terminus. A great tour and worth the $40. I got dropped by my hotel where I had a late siesta for 3hrs as I was so tired by now.

About 8pm I realised my phone’s mobile data was not working due to using all my data so went into starbucks one of the few places with free wifi which appears to be much rarer than in delhi or even rishikesh last year. I had seen a sign for a phone plan unlimited Internet for $8 a month. Telstra ? So maybe everyone just uses 3g. The coffee wad the same poor quality that they have back home! I haf tried to buy a lical sim but 3 olaces said you couldn’t activate as everything shut for Holi so it must have been true. I emailed dawn, topped up my credit.

I walked around a bit more and bought a veg kebab roll,  really good but very spicy and I like very spicy foods!! I read about the street stall in the lonely planet guide which I had got the downloaded pdfs. Although India changes so quickly you can’t rely on any guide and I like exploring stuff by myself in any case. But it was good to know where the good street food stalls were.

I stopped for a pineapple juice and a satsuma juice – you can only drink so much plain water and I don’t like drinking the fizzy sugary drinks.

I got back to my room about 9pm wrote some of my diary. At about 10pm I thought I would grab a coffee befire bed so went out. It was quite funny that all the street stalls were packing up. I had been out & about from very early before they’d setup, during their setup, in full flight and afterwards – their complete daily lifecycle.

Leopold’s cafe was pretty much straight downstairs and is a key focal point in the area  – it’s been there since the 1800s. It’s quite expensive and I figured it would be full of foreigners but it wasn’t. As usual the sheer number of Indians in their own country totally drowns out the very small % of non-Indians. I came to India for the experience so that suits me better. I had a double expresso – poor quality – for a bit less than $2. If people ordered beer they got like a see-through keg for their table with a beer-tap that they to pour for themselves. I’ve seen that before!

I reflected on the day, a great success in many ways.  I like Mumbai. I like India but its ckear that it’s such a massive place sn despite all I have read about and seen I probably know so little.  We sre all just a small speck in a massive world.  Humbling.

Back in my room I had a shower no hot watet this time but overhead someone else complaining so I didn’t bother even mentioning it. It’s India after all! ! I watched some hindi mtv and fell adleep writing my diary.

There are some photos on http://www.instagram.com/kevintiller worth seeing as I am typing this on my phone and I can’t be bothered to link & embed them properly!

  1. Fiona Horn
    Friday 29 March 2013 at 12:03

    Love the travel commentary Kevin. A long time since I was in India….it is such a magic but kind of crazy place whic your comments brought back. Good luck with the run. Look forward to the reports along the way….
    Fiona (Coolrunner)

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