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    • Day 18–19

      Travelling to Mumbai

      February 21 in India ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      We checked out of our homestay at 9 and then left our bags and went to breakfast. It was very pleasant killing time drinking masala chai and eves dropping on other travels until our train at 2 pm. As we were paying an old lady who worked there motioned to James asking him to help lift a full basket of papayas with a younger lady, who was going to carry it on her head. James and her struggled to lift it it was so heavy, but as soon as she got it utop her hair she glided past, as if it weighed nothing. It's insane how heavy the stuff women are able to balance on their heads here.

      At the station we got chatting to some local children who are always keen to know where we're from and get selfies.

      Train travel sells out quickly these days and although it was a 15 hour ride to Mumbai all the sleeping bunks were sold out. So we sat in fairly comfy chairs AC class for the journey. A few hours in I got very hungry and went in search of the food trolley. I came across some food boys selling samoas and purchased two.

      Three hours later I was not feeling so good. I'm not sure if it was the food or the rocking of the train, but I had waves of nausea that would not let up. I considered a tactical sick to alleviate the feeling but with one wester toilet completely covered in poo and a decent, but urine smelling squat toilet I just couldn't bear the extra discomfort. I did manage to get some sleep, but James stayed awake the entire trip.

      We arrived in Mumbai at 5 am and after being hassled by the taxi drivers who would not let up, we got into our hostel, used the bathroom (both ends for me) and flooped into bed. Welcome to Mumbai.

      I've decided to not eat train food any more.
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    • Day 19–22


      February 22 in India ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      Well our start in Mumbai was a bit rocky. After getting in at 5 am we spent most of our first day sleeping and recovering. The only thing we did was get an Uber (for £2!) to a fancy mall to buy some stuff we missed in Decathlon. Hilariously we did get passed between 7 different members of staff and two revolutions of the shop, trying to locate the quick drying boxer shorts 😂

      As we're now in a major city we also now have access to some of the same eating establishments that we have in the west. After my stomach troubles it's been a god sent being able to eat some familiar foods. The most surprising one was Pizza Express!?
      Also note that all the Starbucks here are where the rich 1% of India go. They are the fanciest Starbucks I've EVER seen! I saw actual business deals being conducted.

      Our second day was SO much better, beginning with a morning breakfast at the hot spot Leopold Cafe, and then headed to the catchily named Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Historical museum. 🙃 It was excellent, beautiful artifacts that taught me a lot about Hindu and Nepalese religion and craftsmanship and an excellent collection of old photos of Mumbai and what it used to look like. All with a FREE audio head set to boot! AND in a beautiful building too!

      In the afternoon we did a walking tour which focused on the Fort area and walked through the history of Mumbai from before and after the British were here. It was also excellent and we learnt so much! The funniest thing we discovered was the Horniman square here is named after the same guy who created the Horniman museum near our house. The multitude of links this city had to London architecturally was astonishing. Including Ulster Terrace houses by Regents park, Oval cricket ground, and even a Big Ben!

      We finished at the gateway to India where we were constantly being asked to take photos of. If we'd stood there any longer a qué would have started forming to get photos with us, it's like being a celebrity and it's quickly becoming not that nice. Especially when you're stressed and hungry and trying to find somewhere to eat 😩 (and when people don't even ask 😡).

      We finished the evening with some drinks and some more western food and a walk along the promenade which was a beautiful end to a lovely day.
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    • Day 937

      Hello again

      February 11, 2020 in India ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

      Ich melde mich nicht nur nach längerem Heimaturlaub wieder aus der Ferne zurück, ich bin auch zurück in Indien. Das Land der Farben, Gewürze und Vielfältigkeit. Das Land das mir viel abverlangt aber auch eine Menge zum Lernen und Erfahren bereit hält.

      Und hier pflege ich Friendship Over Borders, indem ich erstmal meinen Freund Viggi in Mumbai besuche. Kennengelernt haben wir uns vor über 2 Jahren. Damals war er mein Tauchlehrer auf den Andaman Islands hier in Indien und wir haben den Kontakt nie abreißen lassen. Gut so! Zwar muss er leider tagsüber arbeiten, aber mir gefällt es immer noch am besten privat abzusteigen und mich aus den Touristenströmen heraus zu halten. Navi Mumbai ist eine Planstadt vor den Toren Mumbais. 1,1 Millionen Menschen wohnen hier und alles ist typisch indisch. Weniger sauber, weniger schick, weniger Natur. Morgen fahre ich mit dem Zug zum klassischen Mumbai-Sightseeing, aber nach der langen Anreise reicht mir heute dieser erste Eindruck normales Leben. Perfekt, dass Viggi sich auch noch als hervorragender Koch erweist.
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    • Day 43

      Indien Tag 16

      February 12, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      Start in den Tag:

      Tag in 6 Worten:
      ▪️ Überall hilfsbereite Inder
      ▪️Vintage hotel 😍🏚️ (heritage home)
      ▪️Self made Sightseeingbustour
      ▪️Haji Ali Dargah Moschee von weitem betrachtet🕌
      ▪️Mumbai Street Market

      Was hat uns heute ein Lächeln auf die Lippen gezaubert:
      Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

      🕗McDoof Egg Cheese Sandwich mit Heißer schoki
      🕗Schokomuffin mit chai latte
      🕐Masala Dosa
      🕞Orange Juice, lemon juice, 2x watermelon juice
      🕕Feta Frühlingsrollen
      🕕2 Mocktails

      Besondere Begegnungen:
      Irgendwas stimmt mit unseren Schuhen nicht.. Wir wurden den ganzen Tag gemustert und "angelacht". 😁👟

      Selbst in Großstädten wie Mumbai ist es kein Problem seine Kühe zu halten. 🤗🐄
      Die Öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel in Mumbai zu nutzen macht super viel Spaß und ist echt easy und günstig!
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    • Day 42

      South Goa to Mumbai

      February 16, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      We both enjoyed a lie in this morning, enjoying these really comfortable beds as we knew the following night we would spend on a night train. We were out of bed at 9am, the latest wake up time on our trip so far and made our way over to Palolem beach, a 10 minute walk from our hostel. The beach was huge, but quite crowded so we were both pretty happy that we decided to base ourselves in Patnem instead. We walked half-way along the beach and grabbed some veg noodles at a food vendor in a car park just off the beach for 80 rupees and then grabbed a 5L bottle of water to fuel us for the morning. We continued along Palolem beach reaching the island at the end that you could read at low tide, however the tide had already started to come in when we got there so we gave it a miss and decided to actually just head back to Patnem and enjoy our last beach day for a while there.

      Back at Patnem we enjoyed the water, the sunshine and the peace for a little while (even though it was scorching hot) before I looked at our tickets for the upcoming train. I woke Tom from his doze to tell him the tickets for our trains tonight were actually waiting list tickets not actual tickets for the train. We’d not been told about any of this as we’d paid for the tickets a couple of days earlier. We were in a Pool Quota waiting list, and bottom of the pile for that. We did some googling and discovered we wouldn’t have beds on this 11 hour overnight train to Mumbai. This made us both so frustrated at how the Indian rail system works and how anybody actually gets anywhere! We decided that we’d go to the train station in Cancona early to see what we could do. Of course we still had time to have our favourite Thali from the Nepalese restaurant, so we devoured it for the last time and went to get ready at the hostel. We’d asked the guy earlier in the day if we could grab a quick shower before the train, but it was a different person manning the hostel this afternoon and he didn’t like the idea of it! This day was going from bad to worse! We eventually just decided to get a shower as the hostel was empty, and then set off on the walk to the train station via the ATM for some much needed cash. I only had 30 pence on me and Tom only had about £2...not quite enough to get us to Mumbai.

      When we got to the station, there was a crazy guy there, either drunk or drugged up, causing trouble for everyone. The station master was armed with a big wooden bat if he started to kick off more...luckily the police were called and he was taken away. This left the station master to be barraged with questions by me about what all the different codes on tickets meant. Eventually it made sense (Indian sense) and we’d be refunded for the waiting list ticket but we’d have to buy a general class ticket if we still wanted to get to Mumbai tonight. We took a brave pill and got them , only £2.50 each, and awaited the arrival of the train, getting some snacks in the meantime. It hit 20:30 and we went up the platform where we’d been told the general carriages were and we both jumped on before the train had stopped to try and beat some of the locals on so we’d get a seat. It was immediately uncomfortable. Hard benches with a tiny amount of padding, racks above to store luggage where people were sat and very little air. We went for about an hour or so and stopped at some random station where they were selling chapattis and curry through the window of the train, so we grabbed one to share and it was actually pretty good. Once finished we noticed that other who had the same as us didn’t have the little bag or plate they were given. I went on the hunt for a bin but found none - a fellow passenger then motioned for us to just throw it out the window - something that I couldn’t imagine doing, but obviously normal for these guys...we just held onto it for a bin later.

      About another hour later and we’d both tried to get some sleep with no luck, but at least we had some of our own space to move about and get comfy. This is when the whole night took a turn...we got to a station just before midnight and what felt like half the Indian population got into our carriage....we were in for a long night.
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    • Day 43

      Night Train and Mumbai City

      February 17, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      We went from a very uncomfortable 4 people on our bench to an unbearable 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 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.
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    • Day 44

      Mumbai Dharavi Slum

      February 18, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

      We woke up nice and early and set off to get to Bandra junction train station to catch a train to Mahim junction where we would meet our tour guide for todays tour of Dharavi Slum, one of the largest slums in the world. We got to Bandra and got on any train heading in the direction of Mahim, which we found out as wrong as we sped past Mahim junction without stopping...we got out at a random train station and an Indian commuter decided to take us under his wing and ensure we got on the correct train to Mahim, what a nice guy! He even advised us to wear our backpack on our front to avoid the notorious pickpockets on the Mumbai inner city trains. We eventually got to Mahim and took a seat in Cafe Coffee Day, the exact meeting point for our tour.

      At around 9:45, Yahya arrived outside with three Irish girls, we went out to meet them to start our tour. Yahya worked for a company called ‘The Local Tours’, a company that we had been recommended by Jen, who Tom used to work with. It is a very socially aware company and they recruit university students that live in Dharavi to run the tours as a means of earning money to pay for their tuition fees, so it was a nice company to do it with. Yahya explained to us all that Dharavi was not a sad place to live, in fact a very desirable place to live for people in India. Over 1 million people called Dhiravi home and it has a booming economy, with a GDP of over $1 billion per annum with textiles, leather and recycling industries being its biggest income. Yahya explained how when Dharavi was founded, from dried up marsh land, people from all over India rushed to buy the land due to its central location in Mumbai, and now the land is very expensive at over a quarter of a million rupees per square meter. We walked round the streets and many alleyways of Dharavi and saw first hand each of the major industries at work and also where people were living and it was right what Yahya was saying, people were more than happy living here, in fact they loved living here. We got an awesome lunch in Yahya’s favourite place and then finished the tour near to a barber shop, so ever the opportune, Tom and I decided to get our hair cut, 80 rupees for a haircut!

      The man who would be doing the haircut had bright orange hair with matching beard, so hopefully he was better than whoever does his hair! We played rock, paper, scissors to determine who would go first....for the first time in ages, Tom won, so I was up! I’m not going to lie about 2 minutes in it looked like he had absolutely butchered my hair, but he turned it around eventually and he actually gave me a good cut! After my haircut was finished the man decided to give me a very thorough/violent face wash, involving a pink machine that resembles a polishing was not pleasant and he was pummelling my cheekbones and nose with this vibrating device. It was then Tom’s turn and that is when we found out he could only really do one style, as we both got practically identical haircuts. Tom then endured the same torturous face wash machine, and tried to pay up....however he was trying to double the cost saying that the face wash (that we didn’t ask for) was additional. Paying no more than the agreed price, we left Dharavi after having a great morning.

      We made our way back to Mahim junction and got a train to Charni road where we walked to Chowpatty beach. A little bit of a disappointment if I’m wasn’t exactly the nicest beach but I wasn’t really expecting much in the centre of Mumbai. We continued walking along the beach to find the hanging gardens that Tom had read about...again a little bit of a disappointment too. However, it was the highest point in Mumbai, hence the name “hanging gardens”, due to its location there was a observation deck nearby that we went up to get a view over crazy Mumbai - this was pretty nice, and free too! We then walked back through Mumbai traffic to a nearby train station, stopping off for a bit of air con in H&M and got a train back to Bandra where we got our now standard order of Chinese Bhel, this time with noodles on top for not additional charge...we were becoming locals here.

      After this long hot day, we went back to the hostel for some chill and then back to the same place for more Chinese Bhel, and then we went over the road for an Orea Shake, which was unreal! With the taste of chocolate in our mouths, we then made a desperate trip to the shop for biscuits then back to the hostel for the night.
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    • Day 45

      Mumbai plan day and night bus to Udaipur

      February 19, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

      Today we were in no rush at all. We’d seen what we wanted to see in Mumbai, so we had a big fat lie in and a leisurely get up and warm shower. Today was our last day in Mumbai so we needed to check out by 10:30, so we packed up our stuff and chilled in the common area for a little while. We dedicated some time this morning/afternoon to planning what we would do for the next few weeks as well as book flights into Nepal. We spent a few hours researching and adding things to the plan before we both got hungry and went back to our trusty street food man for Chinese Bhel for the last time.

      Tonight we were getting the bus to Udaipur, as our waiting list tickets for the train hadn’t come through. Rather than suffer a 17 hour journey on a train in general class again, we’d booked a luxury bus with our own TVs, films and all the trimmings. It would take just as long as the train, but hopefully we’d get some decent sleep. We went out to get snacks for the bus, the standard crisps, biscuits and bananas before going back to the hostel to chill out before it was time to grab an Ola (Indian Uber) to the pickup spot. The pickup location on the RedBus app was just at the side of the motorway, so we waited for a little while keeping track of the buses was on its way to us, just very slowly. Eventually the bus pulled up, it was a different model bus to what it said online so we wanted to check that it was going to Udaipur, the man grunted at us and ushered us on. We found our beds and set up camp for the night. I must admit, it was certainly worth spending a little bit more money for a bit of comfort on these long journeys.

      After watching Mission Impossible Fallout (great film!) the bus stopped in a random location to refuel and where we could try and get some proper food as we were only had snack...we had tried to get something a few times before but there was just crisps and junk! This time was equally unsuccessful, however even more so as the bus loudly sounded its horn and began to drive off...without us! Tom was faster than me to react and sprinted to the bus and started banging the door until he stopped to let us on. We were not happy at the driver at all and I had a go at him saying that they need to communicate better with their passengers, in response he just grunted at me... back to bed then.

      A little while later we stopped at a slightly more official looking place that were actually selling proper food. We both got 2 samosas, devoured them and then a friendly Indian guy asked us if we wanted to try his crisps...we both tried a few and they were nice, and then the guy decided that he was going to give the entire packet to us, what a gent! We got back on the bus and I passed out for the night in the extremely comfy beds.
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    • Day 206

      Mumbai: Nichts für schwache Nerven

      March 9, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Per Flugzeug, über Delhi, erreichen wir die Wirtschaftsmetropole Mumbai an der Westküste Indiens.
      Mit dem Taxi fahren wir zu unserem einfachen Hotel in einer Straße mit heruntergekommenen Häusern, in denen dicke Ratten ungeniert herumlaufen. In der 20 Millionen Einwohner Stadt treffen erschütternde Armut und überbordender Luxus aufeinander.
      So schlafen Familien in Verschlägen oder direkt auf der Straße und kleine Kinder, mit den noch kleineren Geschwistern auf dem Arm, betteln mitten im chaotischen Verkehr, während nicht weit entfernt Luxusgeschäfte und protzige Hotels jene Inder anziehen, die es geschafft haben.
      Am nächsten Tag will insbesondere Aliza das Hotel möglichst schnell verlassen, daher bringen wir unsere Sachen zum Bahnhof, um es in der altertümlichen Gepäckaufbewahrung zu deponieren und vor der Weiterreise zu einem Schildkröten Projekt an der Küste die Stadt anzusehen. Dort dient sich uns ein Taxifahrer mit für diese Breiten ungewöhnlich blauen Augen an, der uns den Rest des Tages fährt und hilft einige Dinge zu erledigen.
      Wir schauen uns den Park "Hanging Gardens" (es hängt aber nichts), den Stadtstrand und das "Gate of India" an. Bei letzterem handelt es sich um ein Tor am Wasser, von wo aus die Briten endgültig Indien verlassen haben.
      Insbesondere die Hanging Gardens sind eine wohltuende Oase, in der wir uns von dem Lärm der Stadt und den Menschenmassen erholen können.
      Da der Bus zu unserer nächsten Station bereits ausverkauft ist, vermittelt unser engagierter Helfer einen Fahrer, der uns über Nacht zu unserem nächsten Ziel fährt.
      Wir verlassen die laute, schmutzige und überfüllte Stadt gegen 10 Uhr abends und freuen uns auf das ländliche und naturnahe Indien. Nach ca. sechs Stunden kommen wir übernächtigt im kleinen Dorf Velas an.
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    • Day 2

      Mumbai, la découverte

      September 2, 2022 in India ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Me voilà arrivé à Mumbai/Bombay après un vol de 8h depuis Paris (sans compter le décalage horaire de 3h30). Petite frayeur avant de décoller : le document présenté pour le visa n'était pas le bon. Heureusement, ils ne demandaient qu'un simple mail supplémentaire. L'avion n'était qu'à moitié plein et, comme toujours, la clim était à fond. Résultat : gros choc thermique à l'arrivée, même s'il ne fait que 20 degrés sur le tarmac. L'aéroport est situé en pleine ville ; et quelle ville ! Vingt millions d'habitants au bas mot, des autoroutes tortueuses peuplées de conducteurs fous, des tours qui ne sont rien d'autre que des bidonvilles sur étages, des chats et des chiens errants en pagaille... Mon premier tour en taxis fut une expérience, d'autant plus qu'il n'est pas aisé de se faire comprendre. Finalement, je suis arrivé dans mon auberge de jeunesse, le "Mantra Hostel", vers une heure du matin. Celle-ci m'a l'air légèrement survendue par Booking. On verra demain.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    State of Mahārāshtra, State of Maharashtra, Maharashtra, ماهاراشترا, Махараштра, Махаращра, महाराष्ट्र, মহারাষ্ট্র, Maháráštra, މަހާރާޝްތުރާ, Μαχαράστρα, Maharaŝtro, Maharastra, مهاراشترا, મહારાષ્ટ્ર, מהאראשטרה, Maharaštra, Mahárástra, マハーラーシュトラ州, მაჰარაშტრა, ಮಹಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರ, 마하라슈트라 주, Mahārāštra, മഹാരാഷ്ട്ര, ମହାରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର, ਮਹਾਂਰਾਸ਼ਟਰ, Maharasztra, مہاراشٹر, مهاراشټرا, Maarastra, महाराष्ट्रराज्यम्, Maháraštra, மகாராட்டிரம், మహారాష్ట్ర, Маҳороштра, รัฐมหาราษฏระ, Maharaştra, מאהאראשטרא, 马哈拉施特拉邦

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