India: Bombay

After a delightful sixteen-hour journey in a large, private sleeper compartment on the nicest bus I have ever had the pleasure of riding, I arrived in Bombay this morning around 9:00 am. I took a taxi to the Colaba area, where I reunited with Chris at the dismal Salvation Army Red Shield Guesthouse. He flew in last night from Bangkok and scored us a dingy 600 Rupee room…the most expensive room I have ever stayed in since traveling, but also the cheapest room, outside of a dorm, in Bombay.

Streets of Mumbai. Posted by Picasa

We headed off to breakfast at a yummy bakery, then proceeded to the train station to try to reserve tickets to our next destination, Nasik. Unfortunately, the advance reservation counter was closed. We then wandered around the Colaba district, and I was immediately impressed by the cleanliness and cosmopolitan feel of this city, particularly compared to Delhi. At one point, I turned around and said, “Hey, Chris! What’s missing?” He immediately responded with the correct answer: Cows. I have yet to see a cow in this city. Thus, no cows, no cow poo, no cow poo flies, and most importantly, no cow poo on shoes. Excellent! There are also no exhaust-coughing tuk-tuks…only beat up English taxicabs circa 1960.

The tide wall in Colaba. Posted by Picasa

We eventually made our way to the Gateway of India, a large, Arc de Triomphe-like structure at the end of Colaba Causeway and opening up to the Indian Ocean. We snapped a few photos before a light rain began to fall, so we found dry comfort in Leopold’s, a famous traveler haunt, for lunch.

The Gateway to India. Posted by Picasa

As I was walking back into the Salvation Army, I was approached by a Talent Scout for a casting agency. He was looking for Westerners to work as extras for the last day of shooting for a Bollywood film. Of course, Chris and I were not going to come to Bombay without trying our luck in the movies, so tomorrow morning at 8:00 am we have to report for a bus that will take us to the set, have our hair and makeup done, and then we will be part of a party scene. I can’t wait! It should be a riot!

Tonight is the World Cup Final….Go France!

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