Gateway of India
Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
98Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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Eventually I found a random guesthouse and my choice was a small box like single room and seeing as I had no sleep, I was straight off to sleep. Annoyingly, I was woken up. Bang Bang Bang! Bang Bang Bang! The noise on my door. If I just ignore the sound, they will go away. But they didn't, repeatedly banging my door till an angry gingerman opened said door and barked at them 'WHAT!'. 'Do you want to be in a Bollywood movie?' and my answer was a very annoyed.....'NO!!!' and I slammed the door.
I guess in hindsight, it would have been fun to be part of a Bollywood movie but firstly, I would have preferred to have gone with good company and secondly, I haven't heard great stories, mainly lots of sitting around or even hiding as you need a proper licence to be part of a production. But it seems the sniff of a white person in and around this guesthouse, then you are pounced on! I'm still happy with my grumpy reaction as I slept through to lunchtime and felt much better to go explore more of Mumbai.
I spent most of that first day in Mumbai sorting out my train ticket for Varanasi. There were zero tickets online, zero tickets with commission charging agents, but luckily a friend told me about the wonderful 'tourist' window at train stations around India. This window has no queue and they save a certain number of seats/beds for 'foreigners' so I picked up a super cheap ticket for a 28 hour journey to the incredible city of Varanasi.
Ticket in hand, I wandered back to my guesthouse via random streets to take in more of the sights from the Colonial-era. With the heat, I was eating very little but still enjoyed a few treats from the road that luckily stayed down.
One of my highlights of Mumbai was seeing the Gateway of India. The arch faces out to Mumbai Harbour from the tip of Apollo Bunder. It was built to commemorate the 1911 royal visit of King George V. IT was completed in 1924. Ironically, the gateway's British architects used it just 24 years later to parade off their last British regiment as India marched towards Independence.
Another highlight was walking around the Oval Maiden park and seeing a couple of cricket matches being played in excess of 40 degrees! It was a crazy hot day, but it was a joy to wander along and see a few cricket shots.
My last meal in Mumbai was a chicken tikka with some nan breads instead of rice. I figure I'd treat myself before my 28 hour journey to Varanasi. My train didn't leave till midnight, so I grabbed a few hours sleep and checked out of my guesthouse early, walked to the train station and sat as my train arrived an hour late.
Soon, I would be laying down on my sleeper bunk, ready for a long long sleepy ride east.
Next stop, Varanasi.