25 things you will experience in Mumbai
India is a bit like Marmite. Some travellers can’t get enough of it, whilst others, after having a taste, will never go there again. Taking up around 3.2 million square km my speedy week in Mumbai (also still known as Bombay) was nowhere near enough time to put me in either of the marmite category, but, I did get a gist of Mumbai. So in no particular order, here are a few things that I’ve learnt from my time in Mumbai the concrete jungle.
- There is an immense political history and unhappiness which is still very much present in modern India.
- There was a 70’s campaign slogan called ‘Two Will Do‘ to counteract over-population which is still ongoing.
- Mumbai Roads are NOT crutch friendly.
- There are a total of 120 unrelenting steps on Elefante Island…all of which I crutched up.
- UBER is cheaper than Tuk Tuks.
- Using GPS in UBER taxis are optional.
- Tuk Tuk and taxi drivers will say ‘Yes’ even if they don’t actually know where you’re going.
- Driving is chaotic. And the constant beeping will be etched into your ears.
- McDonalds are beef free and have completely different menus.
- Never question the red meat.
- A Meal for 3 at £6 is considered expensive.
- Indians are shameless at asking for tips. Literally ‘Blank stares in hotel rooms till you tell them to go away’ shameless.
- Selling books, flowers and other nik-naks on the motorways are the norm.
- Homsexuality is still taboo and can be punishable, but two dudes holding hands are the norm.
- Spitting is beyond common.
- Kurtas are awesome.
- Chai Tea. REAL Chai tea is heavenly. (Note: I have been told that Chai means tea, so Chai tea means tea tea. So let’s just call it Chai.)
- Having a curry for breakfast is A-OK.
- Indian & Bollywood dancing is incredible and locals are proud to show you.
- Indian hospitality are so welcoming.
- Henna, on top of being a beauty cosmetic for ladies are commonly used by men to dye their hair and beards.
- Slums may not have running water, sewage system or electricity, but they do have satellite TV. Priorities right?
- Movies have interval breaks.
- Any drug taking or smoking in movies come with teeny tiny warning signs.
- Leopold cafe is where you go to get scouted to be Bollywood extra. They just didn’t pick me…SOB.
- If you are white, have a ginger beard, have tattoos or walk around on crutches you’ll feel like a celebrity. The amount of times we were approached for group photos. Loved it!
All in all there is a huge cultural shift to life in the UK, and it was great to be immersed in wedding celebrations, street foods, and a national holiday, however it did remind me very much of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as an extension of Little India. This might have been due to staying the whole week in the city of Mumbai. Who knows! Next stop will be looking further North to see the divers contrast from the South.
Have you been to India? Were there anything that you found spectacular? Did you get offered to get carried up the 120 steps to the Elefante temples? Were there any noteworthy points that you found during your travels in India? I’d love to hear from you below!
“I found Bombay and opium, the drug and the city, the city of opium and the drug Bombay”
― Jeet Thayil
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