Morton on Swale to Mumbai
11.04.2007 - 11.04.2007 36 °C
After frustrating myself at Manchester Airports automatic information desk which had limitless options of shops and food outlets all closed i boarded NWA 34 to Mumbai.
Map to India
The 14 hr plane journey was broken up by a stop in Amsterdam and a selection of flims, leo's latest 'Blood Diamond' being one of the better ones. The taxi to the hotel was awesome, a break neck speed chase though the city where the laws of the road have been replaced by the law of the horn. Whoever beeps the most wins! My driver was a born natural and by the end had developed a mild horn tourettes, wildly beeping even when there were no cars. As we neared the centre of the city I noticed people on the streets. Thousands and thousands of men, women and mostly children roaming and sleeping the streets. I'd heard of this and seen it first hand in Egypt but the shear number was upsetting.
Ive spent the morning walking to all the tourist spots, Gateway of India and other sites up and down Mahatma Gandhi Road, sheltering from the heat in the Modern Art Gallery. This is when it happened, what i've named the funeral scam. A man approached offering me a unique experience, a 30 minute festival that occured only once a year. My problem was he had something i had wanted all day, the location of a toilet. I played along and im soon begging for its whereabouts, the nearest being 500mts! The site of a Indian public toilet is enough to make the strongest men vomit, but right then to me it was a holy shrine. After my unplesent experience we got chatting and soon we entered a temple wear bodies were burned. I was told a story about the method of burning and handling of the remains, this appeared believable enough but then came the sting. After showing me where the babies were buried i was asked to make a donation, i offered 20 rupees, the man asked for at least $1000, i almost laughed. After much arguing i left making no donation.
On the whole my experience of Mumbai has been a good one although poverty and scams are rife. Tonight i head to Goa by bus