Alive in Mumbai

'I love Mumbai' sign.

Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Ellen

We’ve now been in Mumbai, India for four days. I don’t quite know what to say. Me. Lost for words.

Actually, I feel overloaded, battered by the intensity that is India. Imagine Mexico City, Bangkok, and NYC all mixed together and amplified. 

It’s an unrelenting crush of people, sounds, traffic, colors, customs, confusion, languages, odors, heat, horns, filth, food, dilapidation, tradition, desperation — and beauty.

A collage of Mumbai pictures from the Bandra West and East areas.

I don’t know if I will ever ‘get used’ to the chaos we are experiencing. Begging mothers holding infants grab us as we pass. Complete strangers line up for selfies like we are movie stars because we are Caucasian. Loose goats wander the insanely busy city streets. Religious celebrations are continuous and confounding.

We have months and months more to witness. And as slow travelers we will acclimate, adjust, adapt. I may feel battered, but also acutely ALIVE! This is why we travel!

Before leaving Malaysia, we received great advice from Indian friends. And we’ve booked a rare ‘homestay’ as our first Airbnb stay in Mumbai (seen below). We’re thankful for the resources and ‘coaching’ as we get our real vagabonding started again in this extraordinary place.

An Airbnb homestay in Mumbai and various pictures from around the city.

Of course, the trip from Malaysia was not without incident. But I’ll save my latest airline rant for another blog post. Now, for under $30 per night, we have a safe, comfy, quiet, air conditioned room near the sea shore to use as a base.

Every day we venture out into the mayhem and count our blessings amidst the teeming humanity. As the rains begin each evening, we return with full bellies, eye-popping photos, and indelible memories. We are among the very few who wear COVID masks, practice hand sanitizing, or attempt distancing.

Prices run the gamut. A $100 per plate restaurant can be found next to a $1 food cart. Rents are high in this megalopolis; grocery and snack costs appear moderate, similar to Malaysia or Thailand. Anything you can dream of is available in Mumbai. We have yet to meet anyone who wasn’t friendly to us.

A Hare Krishna chant ceremony and slums give Theo a sense of being 'alive in Mumbai'.

A few other things we already greatly appreciate about Mumbai, India:

  • English is commonly understood
  • Air quality is decent (taxis, buses, and tuktuks are required to use CNG)
  • Unlimited local cellular/data plans are under $5 per month
  • 660ml Kingfisher Beers are $2.20

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Thanks for reading, “Alive in Mumbai.”

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