I landed at Mumbai international airport at around 8 am very exhausted and excited. I am doing this! I really am doing this! That is all that kept running through my mind. As I walked to the immigration desks, I mumbled a word of prayer to all the travel gods to perfectly align themselves at that exact moment. Thank you travel gods, because everything went okay. I could easily have spoiled my chances right there because of a sudden impulse to hug the immigration officer. LOL. Good thing I didn’t.
At the airport they have prepaid taxis, which I thought was a good idea as most people online seemed to recommend them. At one of the prepaid taxi stands they had a price list, which well i assumed was fixed and paid without bargaining. That right there is a mistake, when in India bargain for everything bruh! BARGAIN!. If you have to look really tough while asking for prices ha ha it works. Also make sure you get a driver that speaks English, it really sucked getting one who could barely speak English and to make it even worse he also did not know how to get to the hotel.
Mumbai is also known as Bombay, it is found in the state of Maharashtra. Mumbai is very big and has an estimated population of 20 plus million people. It is the city of dreams, glamorous lifestyles, fame, the worlds biggest movie industry Bollywood, home to many billionaires and millionaires, streets full of beggars and stray dogs e.t.c. Do not be surprised to see fancy international designer stores all over, and our very own BATA!!!.. Oh I was so happy. Honking is serious business here that I suspect there is a course on it in driving schools in India. The Mumbai traffic is mainly made up of black and yellow taxi cabs, motorcycles and scooters that I could swear are over a million! LOL
Colaba is one of the touristy parts of Mumbai and there you will find accommodation and depending on your budget there is a lot to choose from, it is also relatively safe. I stayed at the YWCA hotel, which was very clean, strong WiFi(BTW getting good WiFi generally in India is like a plus, usually most places it really sucks), good friendly staff and they also serve delicious meals. A good thing about staying there was the fact that the Gateway of India is like 5 minutes away.
The gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George and his wife to Mumbai and construction was completed over 80 years ago. Its really beautiful and has combined both Muslim and Hindu Architectural design. The Gateway of India faces the Arabian sea and from there you can be able to go to Elephanta Island. Here you will find very many people and as a tourist you will be a subject to a million photo requests. Take a few pictures here and there and if you must lift babies,kiss their chubby Indian cheeks, rub their heads, let them touch your hair and wave at the people staring at you. Basically as a tourist you have a very huge responsibility to the society LOL. Join a queue to be able to take a boat to Elephanta island, tickets cost 180 rupees , and if you want to go to the breezy upper deck of the boat you have to pay an extra 10 rupees. People will often scramble in the boat to go to the upper deck, just wait until they are done before going up yourself, don’t worry there is always space. The boat ride usually takes approximately 45 minutes, you will notice how polluted the waters are and don’t be shocked to see people throw trash overboard SMH.
Elephanta island is a major tourist attraction and a UNESCO world heritage site which is mostly known for its Elephanta caves that are carved into rocks. The island is basically very small and has three villages. Other sites you can enjoy on the island include; The Cannon Hill, The Cannon Wall and the Lily Lake Garden.At this point I was very excited as this was going to be my first UNESCO World Heritage site to visit in India. I have this thing where I hope to see all UNESCO Sites *crosses my fingers*
Anyway, once I got off the boat, this guy tried to hassle me into hiring him as a guide for 500 rupees! SMH. !!! There is this tiny train thing that you can take and for only 10 rupees! Lol. I got my fashion blogger pose on and took so many pictures next to it.!!!
There is an entrance at the end of the train ride where you pay another 10 rupees. Then you have to take 120(so they claim) steps to get up to the sites. Those steps are no joke my friend, you will need water, a handkerchief to wipe your sweaty face, avoid your stuff getting snatched by monkeys and most of all just ignore all the traders trying to sell things to you.
I tried the Elephanta caves first but there was like a huge queue. Also for indian citizens they pay 30 Rupees to get in, but as a tourist well am supposed to pay 500 rupees. SMH. So to plan B which involved walking up The Cannon Hill. My Maasai Sandals at this point refused to cooperate and just started to fall apart ;(. From the top of The Cannon Hill the view of the entire Elephanta Island and Mumbai is breathtaking.
I also did not get a chance to see the Lily Lake Garden as they were closing already and I had to rush down the steps to catch the last boat that leaves the island at 6.00 pm.
Honestly the Gateway of India is even more beautiful at night with the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the front lighting up everywhere. There are horse drawn chariots on the streets at night which I thought were so romantic.
I went out later to check out the night life and ended up in a small bar called Cannon bar. I still cant explain what was happening there but am halfway certain it was a ` gentleman’s club.Girls were dancing, money was thrown in the air, fat guys were singing, you get the picture? I certainly didn’t. LOL. India’s local beer is called Kingfisher which I decided to give a try. I am not a beer Pro and so in this case i cannot say much about it but most foreigners seem to like it.
I woke up with an insane ache, almost missed my flight to Goa and had to run around the airport like a crazy person !!!. All in all I made it and sat next to a nice person who gave me his mango juice probably because i looked like shit and i had a massive hangover He he.