Home > Kev's Blog > 28-Mar-2013 Dharavi slum tour & movie

28-Mar-2013 Dharavi slum tour & movie

Thursday 28 March 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

I guess my body clock is still all over the place as I woke up approx 4am after falling asleep in front of the tv playing hindi mtv. I turned the tv off and went bsck to sleep till approx 5.30am. I got a chai from the guy at the front desk and wrote some of my diary.

I had booked to do the Dharavi long slum tour today (it’s pretty rare for me to book anything). There is a link to the tour info here: http://www.realitytoursandtravel.com/tours/slum-tours/dharavi-long-tour/

It left from around the corner at 0830am and would last approx 5hrs. I figured I should eat breakfast first. Most of the places around here were closed except Leopold’s so about 7am I left to have a walk around to see what I could find. Up at the big traffic circle there are a few bus stands that had some cheap street food type places and I settled on one right next to the maharashtran state police station office. In fact it was perfect. I ordered the same as the guy next to me was having – a puri bhaji – about 3 or 4 puris and some potato onion spice mix and a chai. All up approx 60 cents. I stood and ate with all the other guys. I got some water to take on the tour with me.

I got to the meeting point approx 0820am. I met Janet an engish woman who has been teaching in mumbai since last august.  Just after 830 the  2 turned up with the guide – a Dutch bloke who has been living here for 2 months and his girlfriend from NZ who lives in Germany.  Quite a mix!

We drove off apparently through the red light district but you couldn’t see anything and stopped at the dhobi ghat washing area then stopped to use the loo and get a coffee before walking into dharavi.  I had a pretty goid idea of what to expect from one of the largest slums in the world as I’d seen some tv and read a lot about it. It was endlessly fascinating and the guide talked about the history & economics etc.  It was a well-run and sensitive tour. It’s like a maze if alleyways,  raw sewage,  industry,  but spotlessly clean houses – each really just a small room. Dharavi has a population of more than a million so is incredibly dense. By the end about 1pm even I was quite tired.  It was hot about 30c with a lot of walking & stopping.  The others all got dropped off at various places so I got out by the start. I got a veg thali for lunch. I tried to book a cycle tour for tomorrow but they were all booked out by 75 English. Another time maybe.

I went back to the hotel for a shower then went to get an indian sim card as it looks like mine used a ton of data eeven though I had been careful and it was so expensive.  Indian ones have massive limits and are much cheaper but I had to get a photo and a photocopy of my passport and fill out a massive form which I did. If wifi was more prevalent I might not have bothered.  should all be working by the morning.

I bought a ticket for the 1945pm movies tonight. Then had a bit of a siesta. Dawn called for 23mins so got all the news from home. I put the new sim in my phone, quite a hard task as I have this rubberised army-grade waterproof cover. Anyway I went to the movie and bought a samosa instead of popcorn.  The film seemed to have a storyline that I couldn’t follow and I dozed off.  After the film,  gone 10pm, I felt very hungry so decided to walk to a restaurant that is supposed to do a good thali. It was a long way and I was knackered when I got there without even using a map. The gujerati thali was quite simply massive and never ending ie you ate something and they came to top it up. I even turned them away with new dishes that I didn’t even look at there were just so many. It wsd generally spicy but not excessive.  Some were salty, some sour and some sweet. It was amazing especially as it only cost $6. I got a taxi back afterwards as there was no way I was going to walk back ($1). By now it was after midnight so went straight to bed and slept immediately.

I thought I would jot down some notes on food & water hygiene or at least what I do – and as you might imagine its like the rest if me – consistently inconsistent!  I do eat the street food, in fact I look out for it by choice. I buy bottled water although I do clean my teeth in tap water. I usually avoid ice as I am sure in most places you can’t really guarantee the water quality. However I am not over the top about ice avoidance. I have hot drinks eg chai whetever. I think getting dodgy guts is expected but usually I don’t feel ill. It just comes & goes quickly !! I haven’t consciously thought about this before I guess it’s just evolved over the years and just feels right to me. Of course when in remote areas you’ve just got to get through the best you can, big cities have more choices and you can be pickier. Remote pkaces are harder with less options.

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. Tuesday 2 April 2013 at 21:08

    Nice meeting you, Kevin! (We met briefly in the Colaba office) Sorry the bicycle tour didn’t work out this time…let us know if you’re back in town. Glad you enjoyed the tour! -Steph, Reality Tours and Travel

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