Reactions when I told my friends that I was visiting India were mixed. From an absolute NO! to yeah amazing, you’re going to love it. Going to India wasn’t really on my to do list but after getting invited to a wedding ceremony we just couldn’t say no. We got our ticket at a really good price traveling from Ljubljana to Mumbai.
We flew from Ljubljana on 21st of May to Istanbul. In Istanbul we had a 4 hour layover but it was already quite fascinating because the airport is a huge melting pot. The flight from Istanbul to Mumbai lasts almost 6 hours and we landed in Mumbai early in the morning at 5am.
After a long visa and custom wait we took a prepaid cab to our hotel. It’s the easiest option and maybe is a bit more expensive (still cheap tough) than regular taxi but for first time in India also safer. Driving to our hotel, we already saw a lot of Mumbai streets. Yes it is a shock, the air, the humid, the heat and all the people, seeing slums on one side and tall buildings on the other side leaves a weird feeling.
We are staying at Hotel Residency Fort – perfect choice in a safe area and a really friendly and clean hotel.
In the morning we took a walk to Marine drive as we had to wait for our room to be prepared. It was quite calm but already a lot of people walking on the drive. They try to get up early in the morning because the heat in the afternoon is unbearable.
A friend of mine arranged a taxi driver for us, to take us around the city for a few hours. We got a really good deal and we said that it is the best option for the first day in India as we were tired and didn’t have a clue how to go around the city. It was a great experience as we saw most of the city. We drove by the Chowpatty beach to the Malabar hill where we took a stroll in Hanging gardens. There is a really nice view on the beach from that point.
We went on to the Mani Bhavan- where Mahatma Ghandi residency was when he visited Mumbai in 1917 to 1934. A really old house where you can even see the room he stayed in and worked.
Driving through Mumbai streets is really an experience. First of all AC is a must especially in the afternoon. You get used to being hot, sweaty and not feeling really clean after a few hours. Cars in the steets are driving by their own rules. Honking is a sign of communication. At first I didn’t really know what’s the reason but eventually you get the picture – it’a way of saying watch out, get of my way, I am going first.
One of our stops was also Mahalaxmi Dhobi Gat – the biggest open air laundry you can see. It really strikes where and how do people live here in Mumbai.
After sightseeing and more en 24 hours of non sleep (3 hours of almost sleeping on the airplane doesn’t really count!) we headed back to our hotel and took a nap.
In the evenig we went to at a nearby seafood bar Mashara and it was really good! Fresh fish and spicy sauces! Lovely end of the day!
First day impressions:
- People are really nice and friendly
- You feel a bit uncomfortable because you can see people are fascinated by you because you are white
- Eventough you feel like an ousider so far so good and no bad experiences
- People are sleeping at all corners and sidewalks
- The differences between the cultures are just tremendous
- Saw a first cow on the streets – didn’t stop the traffic tough
- Sometimes you feel like in a movie with different scenes around you
- Humidity and heatness are just unthinkable
- To much info but my metabolism is just holding on for now!