If only there was a fly on the wall to capture the moment we saw our beds on our train from Aurangabad to Mumbai. They were heaven in comparison to our previous train; 2 tier bunks instead of 3 tier, no one sitting on our beds and there was a curtain to close off our section with the walkway. Ahhh the small things. We both had the top bunks so made up our beds and laid awake waking for 2015 to turn into 2016. At midnight we whispered ‘Happy New Year’ to each other and went to bed- probably the most low key New Years we’ve ever had.
Arriving in Mumbai was pretty straight forward and we caught local and metro trains to get to our hotel. The local trains here in Mumbai are just like the ones you see in movies – people hanging out of the space where a door should be, and jumping out of the trains before it has come to a stop. It wasn’t unusual to look out and see people running along the platform so that they could jump on before others had a chance. It was all a race to get one of the few seats that are on each carriage. The crowds and heat on these trains were full on, I nearly fainted on one of them from the heat. Mark of course was fine, he’s like Ironman.
Our hotel was an hour out of the city centre and looked just like Delhi and Aurangabad (we were starting to get disappointed at this stage) but then we went into the city and it was just as we had imagined India to be. The architecture and history was amazing. The train station there is World Heritage Listed and you can see why!
We visited the Mumbai Museum which was good but when you’re on a backpackers budget it probably wasn’t worth the 400Rupee per person when we were more than happy to wander around the city and explore.
Today we got to have a sleep in and met our Honcho at 11am so he could take us to see the slums of Mumbai. He explained to us that in the last few years the Government has built housing for the people living in the slums. We didn’t take any photos of the people living there, just this sign showing where we were.
The slums were pretty full on but not as bad as I had thought. Before we got there I was picturing the slums in Slumdog Millionaire but it just wasn’t like that, or maybe it is as you go further in but that just wasn’t possible for us. We were able to walk around the outskirts with no issues, however as soon as we started walking through you could actually feel the change in the air. People stopped doing what they were doing as they saw us approach and it started to get eerily quiet the further in we walked. Some of the men along the road started talking and yelling to each other- we’re not sure what they said but our Honcho got really anxious and told us we had to leave.
Our next stop was Dhobi Ghat – the local washing centre. The photo below pretty much sums it up, although, you might not be able to see the man urinating in the water that is also used for washing, and the people bathing in that same water. It might explain why anything here that was once white now seems to have a brownish tinge to it.
We’re now back in Mumbai city at a restaurant waiting for our next train. We’ve got about 4 hours to go until we can board so we are going to go and search for a bar where Mark can have a beer. Something that is so simple back home is actually a bit of a task here in India.