Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Mumbai: What a dump!

This is where the adventure really starts. I was absolutely bricking it the morning of flying from Bahrain to Mumbai. Literally the only white person on the plane over. Arrived in Mumbai on Friday and got greeted at the airport by a rep from the hostel I was staying at the first night. I was really skeptical about him as the email warned of people posing to be from the hostel and charging them loads to stay at another place. He walked me through this seedy car park t the road and flagged down a tuk tuk. I grilled him a bit on the booking but I was still worried. Anyway, we both jumped into the tuk tuk and set off towards the hostel. The ride there was fucking mental, I thought the roads in Bahrain where bad but they don't even come close. At one point the tuk tuk driver hit a speed bump/pot hole at full speed by accident and I nearly bounced off the roof. He looked at me in the mirror with a big grin on his face and just did the Indian head wobble (which I still haven't figured out what it means!) Arrived at the hostel and check in and there was a pretty cute American girl (Errin) staying there. We ventured into the street to grab some dinner at a restaurant. Had a couple of strong beers and exchanged war stories. Went back to the hostel and chatted/flirted a bit more and it turns out she's got a boyfriend back home. Of course she didn't tell me that until after I lent over to kiss her! Bloody prick tease! Anyway she cleared off the next morning and I met the other people staying there. There was Joe from Manchester, Lyndsy from Oxford and Nat+Hayley from near Bristol. I was really lucky to have all English speaking people who were really cool as it set me up nicely for the rest of the trip. Later that evening Errin and I wondered out to the street as there was a bit of a festival going on. Not sure what it was for but they were all doing this line dance thing in a circle which we got involved with. Then we went and paid homage to She-ra (sheeva) by chucking popcorn at a statue of her and praying for a bit. Really cool that the locals where all so keen to let us get involved.


Woke up early and headed off to be an extra in a bollywood movie called House Full 2. Me, Joe and Lyndsy got picked up by a rep from the studio and he took us to the station via tuk tuk. It was rush hour so they where cramming into the train like Sardines. We had to let the first 3 trains go because they were just too busy. Eventually got on and had to throw some elbows to get off the other side! Got to the studio and we had to put on these cheesy retro outfits (see my pics on FB). Then we hung around for about 3 hours before eventually going into the set. There was loads of other people from near by hostels and I got chatting to this Aussie guy called Wade who I'm now travelling with (as he's going to the same places as me). The filming was  boring and the director was a major dick head who kept shouting at us. We decided we were bored at around 2 (having spent 5 hours there) and told the organizer that we needed to go as we had a train to catch. He got on the phone to the agency and the agent told me if we leave early we won't get paid. Bear in mind we were being paid 500 rupis (about 8 quid) for 13 hours work I told him I really didn't care about the money! The guys who didn't leave early had to stay until 10pm and went out after for a few drinks (which I was a bit gutted about missing). So me, Joe and Lyndsy headed back to the hostel and ordered some Indian take away and had a chilled one.


As all of the people from my hostel left the previous night (to various destinations) I decided to head over to the hostel (salvation army) that some of the people from the filming where staying at. It was a third of the price (225 rps as apposed to 800rps at the place I was at) so I figured it was a no brainier. The new hostel, the Salvation Army, was conveniently located near most of the tourist sites in Mumbai (the church gate, the grand univercity, the court house etc) but was the biggest shit heap I've ever stayed at. I'm still itching now from all the bed bugs that where feasting on my skin and I was kept up most of the night by snoring, dogs barking and car horns beeping. Met some more cool people there and didn't actually manage to meet the people from the filming (which was a shame cus one of them was really cute!). Went for a wonder to the church gate which was fairly unimpressive and tried to walk to the western coast to watch the sunset. I decided I was going to use the sun to guide me but instead of walking to the western most point, I ended up at the southern most point! Fail! got a taxi to take me to the  'Grand University' and court house which were just standard buildings and then wondered to the coast. I sat on this wall overlooking the sea among hundreds of other people, put my ipod in and watched the sun set which was really nice. It was the first time I could relax and enjoy india without the constant drone of horns, beggars and hustlers. Got a taxi back to the hostel and headed out to grab some food at one of the lonely planet recommended places. All the food India has been top notch and bloody cheap. It's shame that so many people are out to get your money as the ones who just want to have a chat you blank or try to get rid off as you think it's going to be a scam. That night I got hardly any sleep and woke up the following morning on a mission to get the hell out of mumbai.

Met up with Wade who was firmly of the same opinion that he'd had enough of Mumbai and we jumped on a train to Udaiper. I don't want to give him too much of an ego boost in case he reads this but Wade is by far the coolest guy I've met travelling so far. We just talk shit and have a laugh without ever feeling uncomfortable or needing to try to force conversation. The journey to Udaiper would have really sucked if it hadn't been for him. The first 8 hours of the trip where on a sitting train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad (which we nick named I'm a bad ass). Wade decided he wanted to go budget on the train so we where in with all the riff raff in fairly crowded and uncomfortable seats. Got chatting to this cool guy who spoke really good English and he gave us great info on places to go and how long to spend in each area. We arrived in Ahmedabad at 11pm and for the first time I felt threatened queuing up to inquire about what platform to take. I was the second guy in the queue and a local pushed in front of me. I tried shoulder barging him out the way and telling him to go behind me but he was having none of if. I had my big bag on my back and Wade was in another queue. I looked behind me and there was 4 crusty looking blokes who gave me a shit eating aggressive looking grin and I decided it wasn't worth it so walked away. The second part of the journey was on a sleeper train which was the budget class again. There was 6 people in the carriage and we were on the top bunk. We thought it best to keep our bags on us in the bed so it was rather cramped. Managed to get  bit of sleep though and woke up at Udaiper station.

I'm sat in an Internet cafe in Udaiper and it's really nice here. I'll write some more another day as I've been sat here for ages now!

No comments:

Post a Comment