Actually Bombay, no one has told the locals yet!
01.03.2012 - 06.03.2012 40 °C
So the metropolitan city of Mumbai! On the train in it already took me by surprise. Looking out the window it was so strange to see these great slums spanning out like seas in front of you, with the new rich looking building like cliffs. I have read about it, talked to people about it but nothing really prepares you for the sight of it. But the thing that was the clearest through all this was that people were happy, you can see children laughing and playing cricket, women still in colourful Saris chatting to their friends and you see a sense of community at you don't see anywhere else in our world. It is something that I have seen before in Africa that people not only survive but can be happy anywhere.
So after a particular expensive journey to Colaba by taxi I arrive at the Salvation Army Hostel. Now the reason I have chosen this place is because it is by far the cheapest place in Mumbai to stay. The problem is that I am not a follower of the Salvation Army and was not sure weather you had to be. Worried that I may get caught out as a imposture I keep my head down low and talk to no one, while I run out the door to see Mumbai. Luckily later talking to other there is no entry requirements and I will not have to be attending any bible study sessions before having to be in bed by 9pm. Still no drink allowed inside though :-(
So most of my knowledge of Mumbai comes from the book Shantaram, a must read I tell you. So my first couple of days are spent wondering around seeing the places that are in the book and wondering if any of the people from it are still around. I would like to say one thing about Mumbai though, it is not the sort of city you want to walk around to much in at it is so HOT. I mean one day it was 40 °C the day before this it was 36 °C and I walked 10 miles. It is a big sprawling city with so much to see and so much to do. But it is also a city where you can be busy doing notihing. One afternoon I spent a couple of hours watching cricket at the Maidens (parks built by the British and have at least a dozen games going on at once).
I meet some fantastic people and some times had to fain interest in football talk. All part of an adventure, but the beer was cheap and the chat was good. I went to the famous Leopold's for a beer and stood under the Gate of India. I have to Admit that I fell in love with Mumbai. I still can't put my finger on way. Because everything I seem to love about it was the stuff that I dislikes about Delhi. Maybe I wasn't ready for Delhi, maybe I was in a travelling mind when I got to Mumbai. I don't know but it was a fantastic city that was hard to leave.
One of my favourite place in Mumbai was the street stole that I ate most days. This little stole where only locals eat became my haunt. It was amazing and I did not understand why tourist walked past it. The food was some of the best I have tried and proved my theory that street Chai is the best and for only 5 rupees the only way to do. I took everyone there and will tell anyone to go.
One thing I would like to say is that even though it is called Mumbai on every map, chart and transport list in the world, no on there calls it Mumbai. It is almost like the world forgot to tell them. They correct you when you call it Mumbai and spit when you ask why, saying a politicians. So what do I call it. Mumbay I tried but didn't feel right so I called it Bombay and hoped not to offend.
But it is not all laugh my time in Bombay and on route to my Bollywood debut as a professional actor I got pick pocketed and lost my card and most of my money (which does not normally live in there). I am not angry I think I know the bloke who did it and he need the money more than I did. But it has meant I am not going to be able to see south India as much as I would have liked. But hey it travelling. So Goa I head with not much money but a friend to meet. Efe the savior of the trip.
One other thing, it seems like everyone in Bombay is a writer. In my time I met no less than four writers, it seems like the writers version of LA. It was highly amusing. And it got me thinking should I start calling myself a writer?... No I'm still an actor and can't wait for LA :-p