Mumbai is like nothing I have experienced. The roads are crazier than Paris (I guess I still have Rome and Cairo to experience). With no lanes, the cars, motorbikes, colourful trucks, push bikes and people all sharing the roads travelling as fast as the vehicles will travel. 1000s of taxis, more than any other vehicle.
The whole environment in Mumbai is not only dirty but pure grotty. Nothing neat or tidy and everything looking old or incomplete. You can see the beggars on the streets; you can see everyone on the streets. Heaps of people sitting out the front of shops talking. Most people appear to be poor; you also see the rich – I saw a new 7 series BMW – won’t be long before its first dent.
The people all seem friendly especially trying to sell you something. Most seem clean and tidy – it’s just the environment, nothing is maintained.
I caught a taxi that night for a tour of the area starting with a stop at an Internet café to covert $50 to local currency (R1750). The driver couldn’t get the car going so it was out the back of the taxi to push start it! The tour included into Central Station (aka Victoria Terminus / Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) – so busy; crossing about 10 lanes of traffic on foot (and living to tell the tail – was close); Chowpatty Beach – the locals having fun and enjoying life; Gateway of India – the most famous landmark of Mumbai and the Taj Mahal Hotel – a spectacular 1903 hotel (and recently hit by the terrorists). At the hotel, one girl tried to sell me hash and another guy tried to sell me large balloons – neither a real problem, just pesky.