Every time I meet a fellow traveler, I usually ask where in India they’ve been. Most everyone seems to pass through Mumbai at some point as it is a major travel hub and a great access point to the South. However, EVERYONE told me that Mumbai was their least favorite place. Being both terrified and crunched for time, I decided to spend only 14 hours in Mumbai before taking a plane to meet a good friend in Delhi. Let’s go through those 14 hours, shall we?
6:00 AM – Arrive by “1st class” sleeper train from Goa to Mumbai. I was upgraded, which no one told me, so I ended up fighting with an old Indian woman and her son until the conductor came around 30 minutes later. 1st class is really the same as 2nd class except you have a door, but that made me feel comfortable enough to work on my laptop so that was nice. In Mumbai, I took a taxi to the Salvation Army Red Shield Youth Hostel so they could watch my bags.
7:00 AM – The Salvation Army Youth Hostel wouldn’t let me check my bag in until 9. I slept on the window seat. I didn’t see the cockroaches until after I left.
9:00 AM – After a quick piece of toast I entered the rainy city of Mumbai, only to realize I left my umbrella at Goa! NOOOOO! I loved my 35 HKD 7/11 Umbrella! It will be missed.
10:00 AM – A taxi driver, thought he knew what I meant when I wanted to buy an umbrella and then took me to a shopping mall that only sold electronics. I found a guy selling umbrellas about 5 blocks down the street. 150 Rupees? That’s only 3 dollars! Win!
11:00 AM – The Lonely Planet guidebook made the Banganga tank sound like a serene pool surrounded by beautiful temples. It was basically a wash basin crowded with angry geese. Unfortunately, my memory card broke and I lost only a few pictures, but mostly of my morning in Goa.
12:00 PM – A cab ride back to the “Old Fort” section of Mumbai led me walking through the surprisingly beautiful city. It almost reminded me of London set in India. Stately cabs and gardens, British architecture everywhere. A very cosmopolitan city that felt a little bit cooler and wealthier than many other places. Although that was only downtown.
1:00 PM – Lunch. My favorite part of the day. I think I had Lollypop Chicken, which is basically drumsticks cooked like chicken wings. Delicious.
2:00 PM – I realized my memory card was broken. Great. Fortunately, my days of being a pack rat paid off and I reached into my backpack to pull out the spare. Always be prepared!
3:00 PM – I went to visit the local modern art museum but it was closed on Mondays. Instead I went to the Gate of India. It’s a giant gateway surrounded by lots of security since there was a terrorist attack in Mumbai a couple of years ago. It was also surrounded by lots of pigeons.
4:00 PM – I had already seen everything I wanted to in Mumbai and I still had time left over! I got a foot massage.
5:00 PM – I returned to the Salvation Army, went on their internet, and then left for the airport.
I think I ended up actually enjoying Mumbai, grateful to be left with happy, fleeting memories. I honestly think 24 hours more and I would’ve hated the city. Good planning me!