Well I'm in Mumbai now, and I have to say, I felt great trepidation before coming here after all the stories we have been told by other travellers, but I have actually loved it here!
It is a city of great contrasts, and the poverty is on such an unimaginable scale its hard to comprehend. I have found that I have been switching off to it, as I get really emotional if I think too much about it. But it has cemented my idea about adoption and I will definately be adopting an Indian child, if there is still a need for it, when I want children. It's also made me want to do more charity work for street children and the people who live in slums. But more on that later.
The trip from Goa to Mumbai was very memorable. We got a sleeper bus, and were very happy to discover on its arrival that it was air conditioned. We hopped on and found we had a double bed at the end of the coach. Unfortuently we also had our bags with us (as we have heard stories of people stealing stuff when they are below) this meant it was pretty much 3 people and consequently I spent all night on my back, as any other way resulted in me almost being thrown out the bed, as it was an extremely bumpy ride.
Our first view of Mumbai was the side of a motorway and the extreme poverty hit you straight away. We then had a tussel with a band of taxi drivers, who were still not sure if they were trying to scam us or not!
Our first day we went to the gateway of India and the Mumbai museum. They were both ok, but the museum wore thin quite quickly. In the evening we saw a bollywood movie "student of the year". It was really good, pretty easy to follow, good music and parts were in English (it switched between Hindi and English words the whole way through). It was interesting because people shout out during the film and wolf-whistle etc. The film dipicts the lives of 3 rich Indians, and the stark contrast between fantasy and reality was apparent as soon as we left the cinima, As we then got chased by a pack of stray dogs.
On the second day we did a slum tour. Now we were abit iffy about the ethics of it. We were scared it would be abit like look at the poor people. But in actual fact it was amazing. We booked with reality tours, and 80% of their profits go back into the slum community. The tour guide had grown up in the slums and had a vast knowledge. We saw the industry side of the slums, how they recycle plastic. It's like a little production plant, one lot of people do one thing and then pass it next door to the next one. In total the slums actually turn over £70 million a year. So a lot of people stay in the slums with their community, even if they make a lot of money. The slums are like a rabbit warren, but also like a city within a city. They have shops, and most children go to school. All the kids we saw were happy and well looked after. We also saw the community center reality tours run, which had English and i.t lessons. It definately makes me want to do more for charity. The highlight was when the women making poppodums asked if we would like to have a go, I of course jumped at the chance. I think I'm officialy the worlds worst poppodum maker, they all laughed at how bad I was :)
Yesterday we went to Elephanta island. You get a boat across to an island and then they have this majestic cut of the stone temples, with intricately caved tableaus. They were mostly of Shiva (a Hindu God). I found it very peaceful and beautiful. There were also loads of monkeys on the Island. In the night it monsooned. It was an amazing amount of rain!
This morning were have had street food called kanji vada, which are abit like savory donuts with a spicy sauce! Now just waiting to go to Ahmedabad, our next stop!