The ‘hostel’ I checked in to was definitely the strangest place I’d ever booked. It definitely made me glad that I didn’t have to stay the night. Don’t get me wrong, the staff were friendly enough but the whole place had a very strange feel to it. I was already sceptical since one of the reviews online had said it was an illegal home stay that I should avoid but since I needed a reference for my e-visa I figured I’d just book somewhere cheap. It was also close by the airport.
When I checked in, the guy took me into a room with another man in and showed me a double bed, he said I could have that one and he showed a French girl who had just checked in to her bed. All the rooms were open, hard to describe but as if the whole place was like open plan. Again, very glad I wasn’t staying there… If I had to I think I’d have gone and moved to a hotel. I quickly moved rooms anyway after I requested a lock. I told him I wouldn’t be sleeping over anyway.
So I locked my stuff away ready to venture out into the unknown. I managed to meet 2 girls who told me where I should visit and how I could get there. I didn’t catch where they were from but one girl was eating a whole curry and rice with her bare hands so I found that quite an interesting cultural thing to witness. The other girl was at the end of her round the world trip and she had wandered Mumbai alone so she told me where I needed to go to get the train later.
I also met an English guy who was out in Mumbai for 2 months writing a book about the city.. How interesting! He invited me to go on a safari but I had to refuse as I figured it wouldn’t give me any chance to see what Mumbai is really about otherwise I’d have been all over that.
I got myself the directions I needed and started walking the streets of Mumbai. After a few photos, dogs, goats, beggars and staring I hopped in a Tuk Tuk to head to – train station. I’m really glad I chose to travel by train because I really got to see what India is like by doing this. Firstly, I learnt that the men are rude. If you’re in a queue, you have no chance.. They will push in front of you like you’re invisible even though you’re blatantly the only person with bright white hair probably in the whole city at that moment.. Hard to miss! Haha I eventually got to the window where the man was trying to sell me a first class ticket when an Indian woman stepped in and ordered my ticket for me. Women seem to look after each other out here.
I finally got to the right train platform and it was a new one for me. First time I’ve seen people jump onto trains with my own eyes… Other than watching it on Top Gear India Special obviously!
So very thankful for women-only carriages on the train! So much quieter and finally no staring! It took me about 30 mins before I realised I was in the first class cabin as it looks exactly the same only has less people in but then I moved along and it was still very quiet at that point so no fine for me!
It was really interesting on the train just watching how many people live in shacks on the side of the railway and all of the children playing on the tracks..scary.