Night Train and Mumbai CityFebruary 17, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C
We went from a very uncomfortable 4 people on our bench to an unbearable 5...by 1am we had said goodbye to any possibility that we would get any sleep tonight. The guys who got on at the station had taken it upon themselves to start moving everyone’s luggage around from the racks to make space for people up there...however they hadn’t clocked where the luggage would go instead. They tried to move mine and Toms’ bags but I told them absolutely not and that I wanted eyes on them all night. They tried a couple more times before giving up as they realised that we were serious about them not touching our stuff. To our amazement, they all got out bits of cardboard and plastic sheeting and laid it out on the floor...these were their beds!! One of the group asked me to move my feet, bearing in mind they were in the aisle as there were 10 other pairs of legs and feet where mine could have been I asked him ‘where would you like me to put them?’ Confused, he tapped my legs and feet for me to move them. Again I asked the same question and his mate translated...I’d had enough with them completely. He eventually gave up probably realising that even white peoples’ legs weren’t detachable.
We got absolutely no sleep and he prospect of the next 7 hours on this train in this position was haunting. However, the time did tick by and we just battled on, already saying that we’d never do this again or make the same mistakes with the tickets. We were about an hour from Mumbai when a lot of the passengers got off, it was at this point we saw their suitcases...they were big 10 litre paint tubs filled with clothes and all sorts of things. At the stop before we got off, some cross dressing men got on and started clapping and hassling people for money...it was really weird. It was almost as if they were blessing people and getting money for it, but it was just a money making thing. We eventually got off the train at Mumbai LTT station and were being hounded by the various taxi or tuktuk drivers, all of whom were trying to guess where we were going...a pointless exercise. I went over to the prepaid Tuktuk counter and said where we wanted to go, it was done via google maps so I went round and put it in the computer. The guy then clicked on the longest route possible - I told him to choose the short one as it was way cheaper (6km rather that 10km)! He reluctantly did so and we got to our hostel in the Bandra part of Mumbai for 122 rupees. We were zonked and felt jet-lagged and just passed out on the sofa at the hostel as we couldn’t check in just yet. When we got ourselves sorted and check in we had a little nap before we got into seeing Mumbai.
We walked to Bandra station, stopping off to get noodles for 30 rupees at a very local, busy store. Shocked by litter on the journey. Didn’t want to buy ticket due to the queue, so we just hopped on a train heading south and hoped it went to Churchgate Junction. The train was boiling hot and at each stop it was a massive rush to get either on or off by the locals. Eventually we got to downtown Mumbai and began walking, first the post office, then the main train terminal and then the India Gate and Taj Palace Hotel, all of which had been built whilst India was under British rule and they were all the nicest buildings we’d seen so far in India. After the bad night we’d had and the hot weather in Mumbai, we both mutually decided to dive into a McDonald’s and get an ice cream for just 20rupees each. It felt like being back at home somewhere, being able to be sat down without vendors hassling you whilst you ate and enjoyed some food in air-con!
Soon enough though, we were back on the streets and walking back towards the station to get back to Bandra. After a hectic walk back through the markets, we made it back to the hostel and had a hot shower - our first hot shower since Hatton in Sri Lanka! We cleaned up and went back to the lunch place and grabbed some more street food and just chilled out for the rest of the evening coming up with the plan for tomorrow. We’d been recommended to do the Dharavi Slum tour, so Tom organised this and we got an early night.Read more