RTW Trip Mumbai, India Day 71: Arrival in Amazing India!
Oh, India! How I have missed you! The last time we were in India was in 2010. We spent 3 weeks doing the Golden Triangle during the hottest time of the year. I got sick within the first week, and couldn’t eat Indian food for a year. We had odd coolers that would spray water behind a fan (think a very primitive air conditioner), we almost got attacked by monkeys on the roof of our hotel in Agra, there was poop and the smell of hot, hot, hot urine everywhere. It was a very hard country to travel, but was ultimately a very visually rewarding experience. Believe it or not, I was VERY excited to be back in India again. I knew what to expect, and was visiting India at a cooler time, this time visiting Southern India only. What can I say? India was SUPER easy this time around. South India did not have the same feeling of sensory overload, and did not give you the feeling of traveling on speed as in the north, but it still satisfied me, especially my taste buds. We spent a whole 2 months eating our way around Southern India, meeting lots of wonderful people, seeing a couple elephants on the road, and not getting sick once.(OK, maybe I did at the very end of my trip). I was so glad to be back in India.
We landed in Mumbai in late afternoon, hopped into a prepaid taxi from the airport, and were on our way to our hotel. It was already quite late, and we were tired from travel so we literally just went to our hotel.
I experienced that sensory high in that taxi ride, that I have been craving for years. There was a lot of traffic, people riding in trunks, shanty shops and neighborhood slums, the constant sounds of horns, vendors of all kinds walking through the traffic, and plenty of curious stares.
If you are on a budget, Mumbai hotel prices may shock you. They are the highest in the country, and don’t offer a whole bunch. When we did a search online for hotels, I was asking Greg if he wanted to stay in a “bad” or a “really bad” place. Somehow, we found Elphinstone Annexe Hotel, which is walking distance from Crawford Market. While it may be hard to explain where it is to the taxi driver, just tell them it is very close to Yellow Gate. It was affordable for Mumbai, seemed a bit modern, was decently clean, with free breakfast and wifi, and extremely friendly staff. We had air con, TV with English movie channels, and a clean bathroom. If I were to ever stay in Mumbai again as a budget traveler, I would definitely stay here. It really was a diamond in the rough.
We retired by drinking a couple of beers and eating some chips before heading to bed. Yup… chips and beer for dinner.
Taxi to Elphinstone Annexe Hotel 650 rupees
Beer chips water 335 rupees
Elphinstone Annexe Hotel $34
Total cost: 985 rupees + $34 = $24.96 per person
What I learned: Mumbai is a huge city, and we had read that a lot of taxi drivers do not know every nook and cranny in the city. Unless you are headed to a main city site, have a map of where you are going so you can give the driver of an idea of where you are headed.
Actual date of travel: Nov. 13, 2014