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Friday, January 23, 2009

Mumbai - second part

We spent two more days in Mumbai. Walking was our favourite means of transportion. The auto rickshaws and taxis are not expensive, but skipping them gives us an extra meal every day. And although we were surrounded by beggers all the time, poor people and walking around in places I wouldn't dare to place a foot on back home, I never felt unsafe at any time!

We went to Bandra a really nice coastal area of the city, walked almost until the Arabic sea in Chowpatty beach, walked up Malabar Hill and visited a Jain temple and the relaxing Hanging Gardens. These are really worth a visit if one wishes to get a quiet moment away from all the traffic, pollution, dust and chaos of Mumbai. The next day we met my friend Prassad who was visiting his family. We went together to the Elephanta Caves , a UNESCU World Heritage site, located in an island about an hour away from Mumbai by boat. It was our first glimpse of caves carved in the rock by humans to build temples. Buddists started the construction of the caves, but later Indus continued it and built temples in the honnor of Shiva. It took us around 1h30 min to walk around. The monkeys are a permanent threat. If they run after you it means whether you did something that disturbed them or you have food that they want. In one of those situations, one monkey ran after Prassad and he just had time to drop the bottle of juice he was holding in his hand. One might think the monkey would start playing with the bottle, but as you can see in the pictures the bastard opened the bottle in front of us and happily poured it on the wall and drank it. Smart little bastards these guys.

We finished the Mumbai sightseing after this. It was then time to plan things to go to Aurangabad. Luckily we had Prassad with us. He not only took us through the complicated reservation center at Victoria terminal (a beautiful building where one of the terrorist attacks occured), but he also had a cousin in Aurangabad, that was able to fix us an hotel at quite a reasanoble price, and a car with driver to visit the caves, at a fantastic price!

The visit to Mumbai was over, we just had to get back to Nidhi's place to pick up the backpacks and get back to the train station. We located our berths in the train and met two Frech guys that were going to visit the Ajanta caves as well the next day. Unfortunatelly one of them forgot his passport in Mumbai and had to leave the train in a rush. We continued the trip with Georges.

Sleeping in the train was another adventure. The berth was too small for me, specially when I was sleeping with the company of my backpack... Tiago had to fight for his berth, because in 2nd class people can enter the train without a reservation and so there are more people than berths avilable. In the end they left and he got his berth and slept.

Overall I liked Mumbai. It was good to start the trip around India here. We got a little bit of everything in the right dose. Not too much, not too little. Our CS experience was great and I am whilling to repeat it again in the future. Now it's time to do some cultural things before moving on to Goa and do some western style tourism, before continuing the Indian pilgrimage.


Gonçalo said...

Really cool! Great writing, you should publish a travel book in the end! If you wanna talk some portuguese in Pangim, go to Fontainhas. And eat some bebinca and dodol, great sweets! Goncalo & Anna

pedro said...

Loved it! Waiting anxiously for reading your next post!

CP said...

Just great!  I feel like i am travelling when i read your posts!


CHV said...

Keep it up!

lulubolero said...

Babilónia fora, aí segue o sósia do mister... ainda não te pediram nenhum autógrafo? ;)
Grande aventura amigo, ver o sol nascer e a lua subir nos quatro cantos do mundo, perder o tino com os fusos horários...coragem para agarrar o mundo como poucos.
Estou a confiar nos teus dotes para a fotografia (embora não me lembre de ter visto uma câmara na lista de material a levar...), sabes como é, um guia ilustrado vende sempre melhor. Tou fã. Beijo grande e excelentes pôr-do sol!

RC said...

Procura na seccao Luggage.

Esta la listada - compact camera :p

Boa sorte na tua viagem. Qual e o teu itinerario?


Filha do Vento said...

Pois, em relação aos comboios há uma maneira de fazer as coisas... e depois, há a maneira indiana.

É necessário confirmar alguns bilhetes mesmo depois de comprá-los. De outro modo pode dar-se o caso de chegarem à plataforma de embarque e verem outra pessoa no vosso lugar!

Não vale a pena chatearem-se com isso, os indianos não vão entender... só vão olhar para vocês e abanar a cabeça "daquela" maneira :-)