Even though 13 hours is a long time, the time passed by very pleasantly as we flew with the awarded flight company Emirates from Cape Town through Dubai to Mumbai. They had great service, excellent food and a huge selection of movies and entertainment, which made the time go by quickly.
When we first had come through the strict customs, we were met with a humid and hot climate in Mumbai. Our concerns for malaria were quite big, as we quickly collected bites from the mosquitos that were swarming around us outside the airport.
Even though the time was close to midnight, the streets were crowded with playing kids, pushy sellers, dogs, goats and cows. As we seemed to be the only western people among hundreds of mostly really poor Indians, we were met with staring gazes and the kids were running up to us in excitement to greet us with the few English words that they knew: “hello mister, what’s your name, mister?” The new impressions we had gotten from walking around for nearly an hour was enough to make us really exhausted, and we were relieved once we got to our hotel VITS, which finally could make us more relaxed and prepared for the next days in the worlds third biggest city: Mumbai.
After two days of isolation in a luxurious hotelroom, we were once again prepared to face the busy streets of Mumbai. We had decided to go on a boat cruise to see the famous Elephant Island, the temple caves and the Gateway of India, before we found a new, much cheaper hotel in downtown Mumbai, Colaba. The hotel we decided to go for was called “The Indian Guest House”, and was the same hotel where Australias most wanted, Robert Langdon had been staying in the beginning of his book “Shantaram” (which is an increadiby good book of 900 pages describing life in Mumbai by an Australian prison refugee). The restaurant Leopolds, where a lot of the book also takes place, also had to be visited, and had good food and drinks, even though it was very overpriced. The waiter also showed us bulletmarks in the walls, from the terrorist attack where 10 shooters had killed 164 people in wild shooting sprees. The famous hotel cost no more than or 30 NOK a night, but was a horrible place to stay with fungus on the walls, short separation walls (which kind of made it like sharing a room with the rest of the hotel) and no air-condition (which made us hardly sleep at night), but it was cheap and it was the most central place we could find in the overcrowded city of Mumbai.