Back to Mumbai by Train


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Asia » India
December 16th 2009
Published: January 8th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

TrainTrainTrain

They are the longest trains we have ever seen
Jaipur to Mumbai by Train... and last night in India
16th and 17th December

We took a sleeper train, 2AC, from Jaipur to Mumbai. The journey was to take 17 hours so we prepared by packing snacks, books, i-pods and the deck of cards; we we were not sure how we would manage being confined for so long after moving around so much. We departed at 2pm and settled into our cabin we were sharing with an Indian couple, they ignored us the entire journey which was a shame as we could have taught them ‘shit head’ - their loss!

The journey went amazingly quickly; we read and played cards or watched the scenery rock past whilst enjoying a cup of chai which was offered regularly. We purchased dinner on board which was vegetarian thali, delicious but quite difficult to eat on your lap with the train rocking. We settled into our bunks at 10.30 and slept through the night until our arrival at Mumbai at 7.30am.

Mumbai

We had a very different experience of Mumbai second time round, the weather was hot and sticky and we saw numerous western tourists. We had a whole day to see the sights we missed out on the first time round due to the cyclone and felt much savvier with all of our Indian experiences behind us.

We crossed the water to Elephanta Island on one of the ferries to see the rock carvings and rock temples. When we arrived at the entry booth to pay for the tickets we were offered two tickets for 300 instead of 500 Rs, an obvious scam where they were pocketing our cash but after feeling like we had been constantly scammed out of our own cash we didn’t argue!

There are five rock temples in total which are an amazing feet of human engineering, very little is known of who and why they were built but unfortunately the Portuguese destroyed some of the carvings during their occupation; the Indian government is currently restoring the damage but not with our cash; now we feel bad!

We visited Leopolds for some cooling refreshments after the rock temples; Leopolds is a popular bar/restaurant which was targeted during the Mumbai terror attacks. Many people both Indians and Westerners died but it has been restored and re-opened and is as popular as ever. We enjoyed a pitcher of beer and some snacks whilst people watching and thinking what horrors must have happened within the walls during the attacks.

We reflected on our time in India and despite the shock of seeing the poverty, dirt and feeling harassed we feel we have seen a beautiful side to India both environmentally and historically. The best part of India we feel has been the history and the passion the people display towards their heritage. The other passion Daniel enjoyed was the Indians love of cricket. Many conversations were started with locals huddled around an old TV showing the cricket or with taxi drivers or bar workers and cricket was on the TV 24 hours a day it seemed to Natalie!

We have definitely enjoyed the cuisine but didn’t manage to succeed in successfully eating an entire meal with just our right hand. We’re glad we ate from the street vendors as well as restaurants and the most delicious meals often came from the cheapest eateries in the most surprising locations.

We’re not going to miss feeling like we are being scammed or the guilty feeling after saying “no” to a begging mother or child. India for all its good points has a huge social problem which we as individuals had no influence over. We hope by staying in local accommodation, eating locally, using public transport and visiting tourist attractions we have some way helped the economy in the right way.

There is so much of India still to see but our time was up. We caught our flight to Melbourne to start our Christmas celebrations............

P.S. the spices got through customs!



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Elephanta IslandElephanta Island
Elephanta Island

All the carvings are massive!
Elephanta IslandElephanta Island
Elephanta Island

Restoration
Leopold'sLeopold's
Leopold's

Cool beer!


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