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Travel Journal - Mumbai, India Part 1


Foggers

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I'm travelling at the moment, arrived in Mumbai on Saturday morning. This is intended for me to use later on to shift onto my computer back home and since I don't want to sign up for another blog thing I'm just using this. If people read it then that's cool.

The heat hits you pretty hard as you step off the plane. Driving through Mumbai is a bizarre experience as your sense are hit with all these new sights, smells and sounds. You try to think about what you were expecting and I didn't even know what I was expecting to be honest. Interesting driving in Mumbai, everyone does use their horn a lot and the back of lorries say " Horn OK Please" and I'm not sure what the driving laws seem to be. It's more of a rule, if you can do it then go for it. Two lanes will often become three maybe even four lanes. A red light and no oncoming traffic? Keep going then, seems to work. People also cut it really close, using literally every inch of space. The cars will go through tiny gaps and swerve away from pedestrians so they just miss them. Crossing a road in Mumbai... an exerience at first that can only be compared to a roller coaster. Standing around and waiting for a break in the traffic won't get you anywhere so you either have to join someone else crossing or just go for it. But the drivers are actually pretty good so it's not too risky but scary none the less. People crossing the street just dawdle across, neve moving quicker or running/jumping to get out of the way.

While it seems chaotic there does seem to be a lot of order and it somehow works. Heavy traffic and what appears to be careless driving, yet there are no road accidents. Yesterday in a taxi our driver went through a red light and had to swerve to avoid a garbage truck, then he just stops and shouts at them. Today we get given a driven tour through parts of the city and the driver just stops in a land and says "you can get out and take a photo if you want."

The people seem to be very friendly, walking along they will just say hello and even shake your hand. At first I thought "geez, what are they trying to sell me?" but my concern for touts was over hyped. Today having been to a touristy area there were plenty of touts. Trying to sell you all kinds of things, from drinks to huge balloons and 5grams of hash for 2,000 rupees (way too much by the way). But the area I'm staying in is thankfully devoid of tourists except me and my friends of course. Seeing other tourists is strange as they stick out from everyone else and my anti-tourist feelins make me annoyed (tourists in London and New York walk veeeery slowly). Quite a few of the locals stare at us which was weird at first but it's fun to stare back. Friendly people who don't keep to themselves like most English people do.

Lots of dogs around, who I think are wild. They just wander about and sleep in the middle of the pavement. Some don't look like they're alive.

Food is good, but I haven't had much. Lunch yesterday was incredible, some vegetable samosas and this type of deep fried pitta bread thing plus a bottle of pepsi for around 100 rupees (about $2) and we were full and pleased. The chap in charge of the restaurant was friendly and invited us to sit down, partly because he had to send someone off to get some change.

Beggars haven't been too much of a problem (not the nicest word but the best that comes to mind) and they really do hassle the $%&@ out of you. On the way from the airport these kids came up to our taxi and begged for money but one of the babies seemed to have food around it's mouth and then they wanted my hoody (which I payed good money for). Then last night this girl is talking about bread to my friend so she takes us to a place and asks for a load of milk and rice which would've been around $20 worth, it was made even dodgier by the shop owner being too efficient picking up a milk cartoon and thankfully we managed to get away. Having a cold is a pain, heat makes me even more dehydrated and I can't sleep. Bought some medicine and was putting my money back in wallet and leaving the chemist. I knew it was a rookie mistake as I was doing it but thought "what the hell..." so some girl picks up a baby and comes over to me asking for money. Might seem harsh but there are a lot of scams and you give money to one person and then you are practically mobbed. Thing is just to ignore people who make offers and they will leave you alone.

All in all an interesting place, Mumbai is nice but I'm looking foward to chilling in Goa. Then it's up to the north via Jaipuer and Delhi and across to Nepal. Should be fun!

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