Back into the chaos! After almost two and a half months in the peace and quiet of Thailand, I’m thrown into the madness of Mumbai. I can’t really say it’s a shock since it’s very much like Kathmandu, only far more developed, and far cleaner. However, some aspects are the same – crazy drivers honking like mad, air pollution, little kids following you down the street tugging at your pants and asking for money, and putting your life at risk every time you cross a street. There’s an exciting raw energy here that I haven’t felt since leaving Nepal.
I’m staying at the Hotel New Bengal, which seems to be in a good location in the city. The room is small and expensive, but it’s the cheapest thing I could find online. At about 27 bucks a night, it’s a bit of a shock. I haven’t paid anywhere near that for a room in the last 7 months, with the exception of Hong Kong, but even that was cheaper. I’m not sure how these hotel prices are justified in Mumbai – it’s outrageous!!
I don’t really know anything about the city – don’t know what there is to do, what sort of sights there are to see, how to get around. I did absolutely zero research on Mumbai before coming here. That would have caused me stress in the past, but I did it purposely because I enjoy the feeling of being thrown in the deep end and being forced to swim. I’ve done this everywhere I’ve gone on this trip so far, and it gets easier and easier with every new city.
Yesterday I left my hotel at 10:30am, found the internet café that I’m writing this in now, found a SIM card for my phone, then walked the streets of the city without a map. I found the west coast and watched the water for a while, then wandered East through the packed and bustling streets. I walked and walked and walked – totally lost and loving it. By some incredible stroke of luck I found my hotel at 7:45pm. My feet are still sore today, so I don’t think I’ll be doing much hiking around. I did just buy a city map, so I think I’ll grab a beer, head back to the hotel and study the map for a while.