There’s probably no place on earth as unique as Mumbai. A megacity where the British Empire left it’s heritage crumbling in the tropical heat, while years of business, finance, Bollywood movies and chaotic Indian urban life made this place one of the most interesting cities of the Subcontinent.
I used Mumbai as a stopover on my bus journey from Diu to Goa. I only had to wait few hours and i spent the afternoon walking around Victoria terminus. This is a city of dreams, a place where many Indians come to find luck, opportunities and success,and sometimes even foreigners can get a job as extras in the countless film productions of the nearby Studios.
Around the park, the real timeless India is still there: this astrologist was selling his services at reasonable rates and i have to say his marketing strategy was pretty clever…! Solutions to few problems for about 1.5£ and a full life consultancy for a fiver..!
Artwork and graffiti from ethnic minorities are very frequent in such a big city, a place where the major part of labours come from poorer areas of the Subcontinent: Nepalis, Kashmiris, Biharis and people from Andhra Pradesh are often the backbone of the food industrty and constructions, and all those jobs that are considered too “low” from the city people.
While for some it’s nap time, i decide that it’s time for some proper local food and i head down a very local alley to sample a simple vegetarian Thali. Better stay away from fried street food when you have to spend 18 hours on a bus…!
The food was amazing in its simplicity: non touristy restaurants offer the best quality and the most genuine smiles, especially when one can speak the language and order food and drinks in Hindi, plus compliments to the kitchen staff! Still i had few hours to kill, and as Mumbai is famous for its crazy lodging prices, instead to get a room and a shower as i would normally do when waiting for a transfer, i decide to have a chilled beer in a local spot. It’s nice to sit down under a fan, and watch the world go by while Bollywood hits come from the speakers.
And when the evening comes, it’s finally time to get back on the road. A nice sleeper bus will take me to Margao, Goa, where i will meet Paola and Erik, a nice couple i met just in Diu and that i haven’t seen for over 7 years!