Mumbai: The City of Tolerance?

16 May 2014


Recipe: Masala Dosa: Coming soon!

p.s. This is my favorite Indian breakfast!

It is 6am on the sleeper train from Varanasi to Mumbai (Bombay).  Everyone in Indian goes to bed early and rises early.  I was in my bunk by 8pm last evening and wide-awake at 12, 2, and 6.  I figured that is how it would be if I chose to go to bed so early, but since by that time everyone else in the sleeper train was prepping for bed I didn’t really have a choice.

_MG_1974The Gateway of India  in Mumbai!

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10 cent popcorn and 15 cent pomegranates on the train…I can’t complain about that!

I actually love the sleeping style of the people here.  They can sleep anywhere, inany position, and at any time.  Sometimes I wish I was more like that.  I would have a lot more opportunities to recharge and get more things done later in the day .  That would be great to be able to do that!  Out of us four who are traveling together, I am the only one awake.  All the Indian children and myself are just chatting away, me in English and the children in Hindi.  It is quite entertaining.

Every stop the people run out to the platform to buy snacks, stretch their legs, or chat with a friend.  The train stops for about 5 minutes at each stop giving the people an opportunity to get off for at least a little while.  When I look at a map, it is quite impressive just how far southwest we have gone in the past 16 hours.  Mumbai is a series of seven islands that sits in the central western region of Indian.  While Delhi is the capital, I believe that Mumbai is the largest city in India.

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One of the first things that we did in India was visit Ghandi’s home.  It was an incredible experience.  I bought several books and plan on reading and studying a lot more about his life.  Him and Nelson Mandela (from South Africa) were two people that really had  a strong impact on the world.  There is a lot that we can learn from them.

I do love India, but there are some things that make me miss home.  First of all, the trash and human waste that fills up the streets, hillsides, train tracks, sidewalks, is literally everywhere and it sticks quite bad.  I have never been in a place where so many people just throw their trash wherever they want.  It just sits, cluttering up beautiful market streets, temples, hillsides, etc… It is quite a shame that such a beautiful place can be littered with such trash.  I miss the hygiene of the United States.  I could never bring enough soap, hand sanitizer, and hand wipes to keep myself clean in this country.  There is dirt everywhere and you can’t escape it.  If you try to find toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, clean towels, even clean water, it is hard to find.  Luckily they sell bottled water in most of the public places so we have something clean and cold to drink.  It is quite amazing just how different this place is.

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Mumbai was a lot to digest.  There were many good parts and many not os good parts.  Upon arrival we were scouted by the nicest taxi-driver we could of asked for.  In India, when you are a foreign tourist, you NEVER have to seek out hotel accommodations or transportation; they will always come to you.  I promise.  The people here love foreign tourists, especially Americans,  because that means they will get a good tip in the end.  100 rupees is A LOT of money here, the equivalent to $1.50 USD.  For example for an entire day tour of Mumbai with a personal guide and all of us in our own taxi, each of us would pay 500 rupees.  That is the equivalent of $8 USD.  People here are more than happy to do that, $25 for a 10 hour days work is a lot of money here.  That is crazy in the eyes of an American girl.  My perspective is definitely broadening as I experience this part of the world.  $2.50 an hour for a middle class job, absolutely crazy in my eyes.  Yet everything does cost a lot less here.

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