Mumbai

Mar 24, 2008 in

Jens and Joern left for Pakistan. Since I had no and didn’t want to afford (the time and money to get) a visa, I instead went to Nepal. The last city we visited together was Mumbai (Bombay) – my last bastion of fear – the city I heard worst things about in western media. I imagined the biggest city in India (13 million) as some kind of urban hell which could as well come from the imaginations of cyberpunk author. A hopelessly bloated city in an ongoing and permanent traffic collapse. More than half of the population lives in slums. Even our travel guide talked about certain horrors travelers may encounter and appealed to not judge the city too fast.
So, after a rather exhausting overnight-bus-trip from Bijapur we were dropped off supposedly somewhere near the central. It was before dawn, we were tired from the bus trip, no clue were we exactly were or where we could check in: All hotels we called from the bus were completely full – a normal situation for not totally overpriced accommodations. Well, we managed to get a local bus to Colaba and found a place to stay pretty fast considering that we got lost once or twice.
As I said, I was prepared for the worst, something more fucked up than Old Delhi – that’s why I was pretty shocked and surprised, that central Mumbai turned out to be the most cosmopolitan and westernized, one of the most wealthy and cleanest cities I have seen in India. Compared to Mumbai, Delhi is much worse. Mumbai actually reminds me of London: Even rickshaws have been banned from central Mumbai and are replaced by those cute Ambassador taxis (with meters!). And, Mumbai has proper bars and clubs, thus a nightlife worth mentioning (which is special in India).
Overall, there is not too much to see in central Mumbai, it’s just a very relaxing place and surprisingly un-Indian (western) place to be. After Bijapur and Badami, it felt like a vacation.

Upon arrival – the filth
Street scene on the way to Victoria Station
Part of the harbor
The bazaar was full of crap.
…even literately
Victoria station (CST) – my connection to Delhi: “Take a taxi to CST, get into suburban transport on track 1 to Bandra, from there, take a taxi to Bandra terminal and then find out where the train to Delhi is leaving. If you get moving 2 hours before departure, you should get there in time.” :O

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