Edit Blog Post
Published: October 1st 2013
Once we had finished our tour of the caves in the Aurangabad area, it was time to head back to Mumbai. We don’t normally like to head back to somewhere we have already been, however the trains heading into and out of Mumbai were more frequent and therefore it just made more logistical sense to do it this way.
Our train into Mumbai would take us back to good old CST where we first entered Mumbai on the previous journey, so at least we knew our way round and where to get ourselves in a Pre-paid Taxi. Last time we did this we got charged well over the odds to drive us round the corner, so we were prepared for a hefty fare as this time we were heading north close to Mumbai Central train station where our train would depart from the following evening heading North to Jaipur.
We agreed what seemed a fair price and were suddenly thrust back into the streets of Mumbai heading towards our slightly over budget digs for the night. Being a Sunday, Mumbai was again fairly quiet in regards to traffic, so we were zipping through narrow streets, unfinished highways and
poorly paved roads with a real sense of speed as we left the area of Fort in the South of Mumbai.
It was around an hour later when we started to wonder why this journey was taking so long. We knew Mumbai was a large place, however on the map, it seemed Central was only 10km or so from CST, and even on these roads, an hour without any real traffic seemed excessive? So, that was when I started to look for landmarks out of the window. The first thing that caught my eye was a train station named Kurla….. Knowing I had seen this station on the map before, I riffled through the Lonely Planet to see where this was on the map…….Oh dear.
It was at least 10km – 15km North of Central, where we needed to be. This was not good.
My first thought I’m ashamed to say was that the taxi driver knew exactly what he was doing and was purposely taking us way out of our way so that once we arrived at our unwanted destination, he would ask us for more money to take us to the correct
destination…..this is something we have experienced before so it wasn’t completely out of the question. The second possibility was that the map on the internet site we booked the hotel with was wrong, and therefore the address we was heading to was correct, but nowhere near where we needed to be. There was a final possibility where the driver was going to take us to some caged den and torture us for giggles, however this seemed the most unlikely of the three to be honest.
After around an hour and 15 mins, the driver started to ask around the locals as to where the hotel was as he was having difficulty finding it….. to me, this was all a ruse and part of the act before he asked for more money, however the locals all seemed to be pointing further North like they knew the place. This could be seen as a good sign, however experience has proven that the people of India would rather tell you a direction, any direction, even if they don’t know where something is. It seems saying, ‘I really don’t know I’m afraid’ isn’t in their vocabulary, and therefore for all we knew,
they had less of an idea to the whereabouts of this hotel than us!
Then, all of a sudden, there it was, our hotel. The taxi driver had finally found it, and my first feeling was of guilt that I had doubted him in the first place.
After further examination, when we checked into our room, it was indeed the internet’s map that was bogus, and rather than show us the correct location, we were thrown an hour in the wrong direction with nothing around us but residential homes and a few closed shops. Brilliant!
It turned out that the hotel itself was actually very nice and the staff were fantastic. When we tried to do something simple like order a take-away Domino’s pizza (not very authentic Indian I know) it was like something out of a comedy sketch! It never ceases to amaze me how something so simple can be such a challenge here!
So, after a nice stay albeit in the completely wrong area, the next day we hailed a cab to take us all the way back to Mumbai Central station…on a Monday, in traffic. Another hour and 20 mins later,
we arrived in time for our train, and put the whole episode down to another random experience in India.
Boarding out train to Jaipur, we sat down and both sighed in relief. We were on our way now, and back in the game. When the ticket inspector asked for our tickets however, he had a look of confusion on his face….this is never good. Flicking between one page and another it seemed he couldn’t find us on his list…just what we needed. It was then he spoke for the first time and said ‘these are not your seats’ confused and worried, we double checked that we were in the right seats, and everything seemed to be fine? He then spoke for a second time and said ‘you have been upgraded, you need to go to carriage A1……’
Finally, in all the years of travel, a free upgrade, and we didn’t even have to ask. The hotel fiasco was quickly behind us, as we took to our comfy upgraded beds and fell into a deep uninterrupted sleep…..
Tot: 0.134s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 26; qc: 118; dbt: 0.0373s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb