Mumbai - So, how do you like it here?

“Well, the traffic drives me crazy!”
That’s the first thing I told this cute Indian guy who tried to pick me up in the hotel’s nightclub yesterday... Why did he laugh? :-)

So really, after 2 weeks, how do I like it?

I am definitely very glad I came here and that I took enough time for it.

Just like Oriental dancers make their pilgrimage to Cairo or Istanbul, I think everybody seriously into Bollywood dance (or just Hindi films in general) MUST come to Mumbai to get a deeper understanding of the culture and how the films are a part of it.

I am also glad I moved away from the typical tourist area in the South. It’s definitely also something one must have seen - and there are some cinemas one should have gone to :-)

But away from the typical tourist places, you just get more of the “real” India - whatever that means (see my last blog entry).

Here in the suburbs I can spend a whole day and not meet another Westerner, except maybe in my hotel.
I also try to fit in, which is easy since I was shopping, right? So I can wear a different Salwar Kameez every day.

Interestingly, I mostly walk around in high heels.
“Arrey, to abhi yeh larki bilkul pagal hai?” you will ask (hey, is this girl crazy now?” )

Oh no! 
  1. I bought those high heels in Bombay - and if I have new shoes, I want to wear them, right?
  2. You don’t walk so much here. It’s too hot outside and the distances are too long. So from one taxi to the next shopping mall, you don’t need sensible shoes.
  3. Most pants just are too long! And I have long legs for sure! You see many Indian women stepping on the hems of their pants... I will definitely have to shorten many of them once I get home.
So, what’s good about Mumbai?

Definitely the shopping!!! Superb! Even if you are not into Indian clothing, you get a lot of Indian/Western fusion clothes, like tops and skirts.

Chinese food. Nobody does Shanghai noodles like the Indians! I doubt if a person from Shanghai would recognize them as Chinese, but who cares? (Chinese food is very much the fashion here in general!)

The cinemas. Yeah, I do miss subtitles, but hey, those “recliner seats” are great! If only the intermissions were longer... I always have to pee very quickly not to miss the beginning of the 2nd part.

Getting a newspaper with the latest gossip about Bollywood stars every morning. Yeah people, I am really up-to-date now!

The nightlife. Well... it DOES start late, especially when you go to a club that belongs to a hotel. The “normal” clubs have to close at 1 AM (a law that was established for security after the riots, I think) but in the hotels the party goes until 3 AM.

And yes, you get chattet up a lot if you are a reasonably cute woman ;-) But if you don’t like the guy and he won’t leave you alone, just call security. There are always quite a lot of security people in all the nightclubs. I guess there must me a good reason why... But this ensures that things never get out of hand and you can feel completely safe there as a woman.

My riksha driver today. He was such a nice man, driving me through half of north Mumbai to help me find some textile borders I need for a costume. When we finally found the right shop and I made him wait, he got me a doughnut-like thingy because he was hungry and thought I might be too.

And despite the heavy traffic, and the crazy driving I never saw an accident. Actually, this morning I read in the newspaper that in the last years there have been LESS accidents and deaths in the street because of the increased traffic which slows everything down... Hahaha!

Anyway, I will soon be on my flight home and crave some fresh air!

And the next time I get stuck in a traffic jam in Zurich I will just smile.... :-)

You know you are leaving India when....