Mumbai and Aurangabad

Jan 13 2009

I arrived in Mumbai (or Bombay, depends who you talk to), last Thursday after missing a transfer in London. British Airways was nice enough to give me a hotel room, where I promptly passed out for six hours. Bad idea – sleeping in the middle of the day is good way to make jet lag worse. But it felt so nice after not sleeping on the overnight flight.

My first couple days in Mumbai where great – I met a few different locals who I paid to take me around. It was very helpful. Few people speak English that I can understand and it makes getting around the huge city quite hard. At least the taxis aren’t too expensive. I met a fellow traveller on Saturday, and we saw some museums and Elepanta Island, and finished the day with a beer at the famous Leopold Cafe, where you can still see bullet holes in the windows.

There are just so many people. Everywhere. When I order food in a restaurant, there are four people waiting for my order. There are lines of taxis and auto-rickshaws waiting for anyone to need them, but mostly just waiting. I bought a pair of jeans in Aurangabad today and there where three people working in this small shop all hovering trying to help me to buy something.

But the Indians are very friendly. Visiting Buddhist caves yesterday and a hilltop fort today, people come up to me and the others in my group and ask for photos with us and they practice their english. And all the school children stare and run up to us to say hello and shake our hands, only to shy away halfway through and run away again, laughing.

I’ve made it to Aurangabad, the first stop on my tour after spending four days in Mumbai. It seems much smaller than Mumbai, but it is still a city of two million people. It’s kind of in a valley surrounded by steep rocky hills. Tomorrow we travel to Jalgaon to check out the town and some nearby temples carved into the hills.

Very fun.

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