Mumbai (Bombay)

dave's picture

So we've made our way down to South India. About a week ago we flew from Delhi to Mumbai. For $55 a piece we flew on Indigo Air which is somewhat comparable to Westjet; they get stuff done, and on time. A far cry from the old guard Air India.

At my job with Advomatic we often work with some developers in India since there's always more work than we have people to do it. Yashesh Bhatia and his business partner Prakash live in Mumbai and Yash invited Debbi & I to stay with his family. This was a new thing for us, we hadn't yet stayed in someone elses home here in India. As with many homes in India (and anywhere in the non-West for that matter), this is an extended family home. The home takes up several floors of an apartment building. Yash and his wife Neha have a 3 year old boy; there's also his parents; sister in law; and at any given time there's between 2 and 6 other family members staying for extended periods. Plus 3 staff, so the house is a pretty busy place.

The Bhatia clan was very hospitable to us. They really bent over backwards to try and make us feel at home. Yash drew out these elaborate maps so we could find our way around the city, and whenever we walked through the doors we were always pulled to the dinner table for something to eat.

Mumbai is a pretty cool place too. Way nicer than Delhi: cleaner, fewer cows, all the rickshaw wallas use the meter, and far fewer touts. Our first night we walked around the suburbs a bit and checked out a Hare Krishna temple. On our first day we took the local train to downtown Bombay (which was a bit difficult since there's little English signage) where we walked and shopped and saw the sights (photos might not come for a while). We visited the National Gallery of Modern Art which had some really great stuff. The top floor is a half sphere, so it's really cool to walk around and hear your footsteps echo.

On day two we went to the planetarium and saw a movie about stars, planets and all things celestial. We then walked accross to the Nehru Centre where we saw another art exhibition (The artist copied several famous paintings and made their subjects "Indian") and an exhibition about Nehru, India's first Prime Minister.

Yash has been recovering from malaria for the last 2 weeks and has still been getting fevers.  2 days ago he went back to the doctor and got some more tests and found out that the reason he's not getting better is that he also has typhoid. Talk about bad luck.  So in the interests of aiding his recovery we decided that it would be time for us to move on. 

So we again took the local train downtown to purchase train tickets to Goa. We stood in line for at least an hour. In Queues in India you always have to watch for budgers. You've got to speak up otherwise you'll be in line for days.

We took the local train back to the 'burbs but this time it was rush hour. Canadian commuters have no idea what a full train is. Imagine a C-Train at it's fullest in downtown Calgary during rush hour. Now imagine the same train with twice as many people and you'll have an idea what a rush hour train is like in Mumbai. I'm not even exaggerating. We were one stop away from getting off and I was worried that at 4 ft from the exit I wouldn't be close enough to get off at our stop. But then all of a sudden I was expelled from the train as the 30 people in the 12 sqft next to the exit rushed off. As the train was pulling away I quickly grabbed on to the edge of the door of the ladies car and rode on the outside of the train to our stop. I was hoping that any authorities would give a foreigner a break. Not that it would be possible for anyone to check tickets anyway.

We're now in Goa, but I'll leave that for a later post.