Asia | India | Maharashtra | Mumbai (Bombay) – First impressions
India is pretty cool in a weird sort of way. No tourists around at all, probably seen about 5. I’m still in Mumbai, not really been doing much, too damn hot, mostly eating, watching cable, and checking out the markets.
When I arrived its the festival of Ganesh a 10 day thing which finishes on Friday, so the night I got here it took me 3 hours to get to my hotel from the airport and that’s normally a 1/2 hour trip but you totally didn’t care as there were people all over the streets pushing carts with statues of Ganesh, he’s the elephant god, and banging drums and dancing in the streets and throwing red paint at each other. It was just like in the films. Amazing atmosphere.
My taxi driver and I had a long discussion on films, and he loves amitabh and shahrukh and the other khans. But he prefers the older women, like hema malini and sridevi. He knows where all the stars live, I’m going to see if I can get a taxi tomorrow to drive me around.
Impossible to get into film city but am still trying.
Everywhere you go there are children begging and they won’t leave you alone, however its not as bad as people make out. I heard that India was really racist coz of the caste system, but people are really friendly and everyone wants to chat and tell you where to go. Most people in Mumbai seem to come from Kerala. There’s no work there so they head up here. My taxi driver has been here for 7 years, but accommodation in Mumbai is too expensive, so he lives in his taxi and basically works 24/7 cat-napping for about 4 hours in the day. Talk about depressing.
Went to Elephanta Island today to see all the ancient rock carvings, bought masses of jewellery, I know this will end badly. In Asia I don’t seem to be able to find the will to say no which is rapidly turning into an expensive shortcoming.
The food’s good, but at the moment I feel really nauseous, hope its just dehydration, but not sure, though the boat ride to the island nearly made me throw up.
Its so weird walking through the streets and hearing a woman in a restaurant singing along to the radio which is playing ‘Kya Kehna’, or driving past billboards of Ash selling coke, Hrthik, Hero Honda, etc…
The buses are an experience in themselves. I went on a long exploration on Monday and got totally lost, but before, when the bus comes everyone barges and shoves to get on, coz you have no idea how long it’ll stop for. I was standing at the back thinking how rude when I found myself hanging onto the stairs as the bus suddenly shot off, wondering whether I was going to be flung of as we rounded a corner, though its definitely a better way to get around than taxis, much more atmosphere I think.