Friday, 12 December 2014

Mumbai adventures.

It's been almost a week since Melissa and I arrived in Mumbai, India. So much has happened I don't know where to begin.

Mumbai has been good to us. Everyone we have come across has been so helpful and many people have gone out of their way to look out for us.

Before we arrived, people told us what India would be like... There were many negative stereotypes and I am happy to report none of these have proved to be true.

Our first day in Mumbai was spent taking a taxi tour of the main sights. We visited the hanging gardens, Doby Ghat (the largest laundry in Asia), and drove past a section of the slums.

Our taxi driver gave us a really good deal including the tip and dropped us off at our uni friends place in the western suburbs of Mumbai.

Day two included a trip to the beach. Beaches in Mumbai are very different to those in New Zealand. We were expecting a lot of rubbish and sadly that was what we got. Swimming was out of the question.

We visited a Hare Krishna temple that afternoon followed by an hour of class in an Indian school. The friend we are staying with is a teacher and invited us to interact with the children. It was library hour so we read aloud with them. So far I think that has been one of the best experiences of the trip.

That evening we wandered around the suburbs trying to understand Indian city life. There is too much going on explain to give an accurate picture so I suggest you all come and see it for yourselves. The smells, sounds, flavours and colours of India are so rich and alive. At the end of the day the cities essence remains on your skin in a thin grey layer.

Our short stay in Mumbai has already given us so much to think about. One day in Mumbai is equal to a week at home from the sheer amount of things to see and do.

One evening our friend took us on the train to Marine drive. We watched the lights of the city and bought some bubble mix from a person on the street. We passed a happy few hours blowing bubbles. It really is the simple pleasures in life.

The next day, Thursday, Melissa and I took a public train on our own to the gateway of India. There were large crowds and people trying to sell us photos, postcards, blessings, tours etc . we are learning how to be very assertive here!!

We had planned to visit Elephanta island but we had left it too late in the day. On Friday we returned via rush hour public train. Quite the experience! Again assertiveness is key to enjoying this place. It pays to be relaxed and sure of yourself without being rude. Once we had pushed ourselves on and off this train we bought economy tickets to Elephanta island. As it turns out this is rather unusual for tourists as the 'luxury class' is only slightly more expensive. We are so cheap. It paid off in the end though as we got to hang with local families.

Elephanta island is a series of large, ancient, carved caves. We wandered around for about two hours. The Lonely Planet suggested we didn't take a guide which took some effort as they were very friendly.

The day ended with a train ride home where we made friends with two local girls who spoke excellent English.

There is so much more I'm sure I've forgotten to include. It has been difficult to update this blog as we have been so busy!

Tonight we have been invited to be extras in a Bollywood film! I am way too excited about this. We have to stay up from 11pm to 8am which might be difficult after the day we have had!

Any way I'll post again soon!

Chalti hoon. Xx

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