6th – 9th December – ‘I love it’!

Final days in Mumbai, not much to speak about in terms of attractions etc, as mentioned in my last post Bandra isn’t really the ‘tourist’ hub of the city.

I can’t recommend Mumbai enough though. I don’t think I have been to any other city where the food on offer has been so varied, and tasty. Whether or not you think it’s right to fly 5000 miles to enjoy sliced sourdough for breakfast is your opinion. When the sourdough happens to be one of the best you’ve ever eaten, then who cares?

Saying this, we went on a ‘Mumbai’s Tastiest Snacks’ tour this evening. Three hours of wandering streets trying a wide range of South Indian treats. My personal fave was Khada Pav Bhaji, a local staple. The dish is a variety of vegetables, onions, peppers, peas in a slightly spicy tomato base, eaten with a bread roll soaked in butter. Seriously, food heaven. All in all, we had 8 different dishes (and didn’t get ill – stomachs of steel!) We trusted a local who knew the right places to go to have the best and cleanest food. I think it’s worth paying for this knowledge. We ended up going out with Vish, our guide, and his mates for the evening too! Interesting characters to say the least. After our drinks they even took us to a kebab place… like a home from home!

Still learning how India works. Finally set up our own Indian sim card; the data here is super cheap, 5GB costing us around £3-4 quid. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t easy to apply and set up, but now we have a local number we can use free WiFi in restaurants/cafes, have our own Uber Indian account (needed), and we can start to use online e-wallets like PayTM. The cash crisis hasn’t got any better but we’re getting by. If the locals can cope, we’ll have to as well I guess 🙂

Our final day in crazy Bombay was spent watching England get thrashed in the first day of a five-day cricket Test. Finished the evening in a fine five-star hotel, I thought I saw Aggers from Test Match Special, but after five hours of drinking beer and cocktails it could have been a lookalike to be honest…!

Muchas Gracias to the guys we met in a pub (Irish pub obvz) who flew all the way from England for the cricket thinking they could buy tickets on the day, but when they arrived they were told otherwise. Luckily for them (and us) we gave them our tickets for the remaining four days. Good karma 🙂

So Mumbai – done. Now we move to Pune for a week.

We’ve spent well over our modest budget, had more booze than intended, almost pulled our hair out in frustration, but we’ve got by.  India ain’t easy, don’t let any guide book tell you it is. We have to hide away in your room for a portion of the day, either because of the heat or just to calm our nerves and chill. Saying that, there is a strange beauty in how humans have evolved to live in ‘mega cities’ like Mumbai and adapt to these intense surroundings. This city could drive the calmest of people insane (just ask Steve). Could I live here permanently? No. Will I be back to visit? Absolutely.

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