Saturday, May 29, 2010


The train ride to Mumbai, although about 28 hours, was actually quite comfortable as I had my own bunk, and it flew by in no time whatsoever. I arrived at abut 4AM, and killed a couple hours just sitting in Colaba, waiting for the city to wake up so I could find a place to stay. Colaba is a really trendy neighbourhood- Western style bars and retail stores line the quaint streets. It's actually quite boring. I decided to use the day to see Dharvadi, the massive slum made famous by that movie; Slumdog Millionaire. I failed in my first attempt to find it, but I happened to meet a local who does unnoficial tours of the town, and we headed out there. It's pretty amazing to see the way these people live- several million folks like in these narrow alleyways, with a few thousand sharing every toilet. The remarkable thing about this neighbourhood is that it generates 700 million dollars of revenue annually- virtually all from the recycling industry. People reuse cloth and fabric, rework leather, and collect tonnes and tonnes of all sorts of garbage and plastic to earn their living. It was an impressive sight for sure- I wish I had more time to understand their way of life a little more. After the slums I took the metro to marine drive and just watched life go by on the cities' scenic drive. It would have been really nice if the sea didn't have such a wretched smell, but all that sewage has to go somewhere. After returning to the hotel, I met some folks going out to a local bar, Leopold's (sight of a bomb blast in 2008). The bar was really expensive, so a few people went to find another one while me and a couple guys got a road beer and headed home. The rest of the night, a few hours actually, were spent in a bull session. I'm staying in the dorm, and somehow was on the wrong end of a deal that I had no say in really (being the last one in), which left me on a bunk with no matress. Steel bars and some plastic mesh were my only comfort. In summary, all I really did yesterday was take it easy and try to get a taste for what life is like in this city. I think I succeeded in this, but it really is a big city, so I don't even know. I had a good time at least. I really wasn't feeling writing today because of my lack of good sleep, but I felt compelled to try. Train tonight to Bangalore...ashort 24 hour jaunt. Now, I have to find some chai. I promise my next post will be better, please forgive my ineptitude this time around.



  1. Nick - nothing to forgive. Every time we hear from you is enjoyable. You have seen quite some sights in Mumbai and their way of life. I am amazed at how you are finding your way around in such a foreign land. Good to hear you are finally heading to Bangelore and soon home to 'beautiful B.C.'. The weather will be an adjustment here. Cold and rainy.
    Looking forward to hearing from you again
    Grama R.

  2. Nick, even your posts when you are tired are great. Mumbai has 20,000,000 people, how you are finding your way to these places you are visiting is really something. That is so interesting about how the people who live in the slum area survive by recycling. If only the rest of the world was as keen to recycle as much. They are doing it to survive, that must have been really something to see. THank you for this posting. Love Mom

  3. I've never been able to get those scenes from "Slumdog Millionaire" out of my mind. Seeing it in person must have been rather mind blowing.
    This whole trip will undoubtedly give you and Dylan a different perspective on life, where we live and what we have. I hope you have a safe trip home Nick.


  4. Hey Nick, I know I am late commenting, but I missed some posts while i was in the hospital.
    I was at leopolds! i couldn't stand it, so touristy and packed and stupid, but I did like Colaba, I liked the mix of port town and real folk and kids and i loved the architecture. and I met a guy in Colaba who took me up to Dharvadi, which I thought was amazing. The mumbai slums are really their own towns and generations have lived in them, I hope they have good lives. Mumbai is just so freakishly huge, but i loved it. and I stayed in CRAP-HOLES there. and one really nice place after i learned my lesson. : ]