I have been traveling with locals whom I have met from my internship that are from India. So it has been pretty easy for me to travel, but this time I made my way back to Mumbai by myself.
I traveled by train there, and the journey was not so bad. I met a couple people who spoke English. All together I was off to a great start. When I got to city the humidity of Mumbai hit me and I was feeling dehydrated. I ran straight to a food stand for water. My provider had a guesthouse in the city so that is where I went first to drop off my bag. Then it was off to downtown Mumbai.
My first impressions of Mumbai were where did all these white people come from. I live in the countryside where all I see is Indians. The last time I saw a foreigner was about my second or third week. The rest of the time I have been staying in the countryside where I have been hanging out with the locals.
As I walked around downtown, I headed towards Colabo Market. The city is so drastically different from the country. For one there is more people. Second, there is a lot more English speakers. Third, there is a lot more people who want you to buy things from them.
My first encounter of the people who want you to buy things from them was a guy who wanted to clean my ears for money. He came out of nowhere with a cotton swab and a metal pick and started to clean my ears. I told the man I was not going to pay him, but he incessantly tried to clean my ears and put medicine in my ears. He kept telling me to give him 50 Rupees. Luckily, I got away from this man and made my way to the Colabo Market.
My second encounter was with some English Speakers who were Indian. They worked for Bollywood and they seemed nice. We had a nice chat, but then the conversation went in another direction. They asked me to be in one of their films because I was white. They would pay me 500 dollars American and give me room and board. I told them I was not interested and left.
Finally, I made my way to the market where I found cafes that sold steak! I know I said in my last blog that you could not find steak, but the two cafes that sold steak were more geared towards foreign tourists and not Indians. The cafes were nice and filled with many pastries.
The market itself is filled with vendors who sell clothes, instruments, and tricates. I only bought one item and the rest of the time I just walked around. As I was walking, there was a man who came up to me and asked me if I wanted some hash. The man sounded like a tweaker, and kept repeating himself saying, “You want some hash, you want some hash, you want some hash.” I told the man I did not want any hash. I finally got away from this man.
All together, I found my trip to downtown Mumbai successful because I got to enjoy the people of the city. I like to observe people and how they interact, and I feel I got some of that in Mumbai with my encounters.
The next morning I made my way to the train to head back home. It was a pleasant ride, but then the train staff asked for my ticket, and they said I was on the wrong train. I ended up on the other side of the state. I had to backtrack, and make my way back home now. I got off the train, and I had to take another train to a city that had a bus stand. After I got to the city with the bus stand I got on the bus.
I felt comfortable in the position that I was in. I realized two things. One is that you have to be calm in a certain situation like this and the second thing is that I feel more comfortable in the country then the city. I felt that I would be ok because I could find my bearings a little bit easier than the city.
As I got on the bus, and I met a person who was going the same way. He was Indian, and he asked if I wanted to travel with him, but as we were traveling our bus broke down. We had to get off and take a new bus to a village that had a bus that would take us in the direction that we needed to go.
We got on that bus and finally made it to the village that we needed to go to, but there were no more connecting buses that we could get to make it to our destination. The Indian told me to take a taxi to the neighboring village and take the bus to my destination. I did as he told me and made my way to the next village on the taxi. I got to the village and finally got on the bus that was going the right way and did not break down! The journey took around 7 hours.
From wandering around the city to getting lost in the state, I realized that I am a tourist who does not know what he is doing. The best thing to do is stay calm and just relax, because all is good when you have a good story to tell afterwards.