My wonderful roomate Julie is half Pakistani and half Indian. This weekend she went to visit her mother's side of the family (all Parsee and followers of the Zoroastrian faith) in Bombay (a.k.a. Mumbai) and she invited us along with her! Mumbai is known for its western image and bollywood actors. Located right by the Arabian sea it has a great costal view and was in a strange way reminiscent of Boston.
We decided to be frugal travelers and tackle the first part of the long journey on an overnight train and return via a short airplane trip. As you can see it's quite a distance and ended taking us 18 hours! (I like drawing on maps) The Delhi Train Station. In accordance with Indian Standard Time "IST", the train arrived 10 minutes after it was supposed to depart and it took an extra 45 minutes for it to get moving. It was an incredibly humid day and the train station is an incredibly hectic place. When our train arrived we couldn't find our boogi (train compartment) number and were frantically running up and down the platform. At last we were told that our number didn't exist and that the last boogi was where we should go to. So continues our frustration with Indian transportation!
We were seated in Tier 3, the lowest class of the nicest train. So we had real AC sat about 8 to a compartment (still pretty crowded!) and later hanging beds were pulled down so we could sleep. We were well fed with plenty of curries and chipatis. I got to glimpse some of the Indian countryside crossing between compartments and the lush farm fields were gorgeous in the dawn mist. Since it's been raining hard with the start of monsoon season (Mumbai had experienced awful floods and many deaths the week before) most fields were filled with muddy water.
Sitting on my bunk bed before bed time. I was on the highest bunk (3 tiers of bunk beds), about 8 feet above the floor! Luckily I don't roll too much in my sleep.
We arrived to beautiful Mumbai around 11AM (we left Delhi around 5PM!). It was foggy and cloudy but no monsoon rains! Here is the bay called the "Queen's Necklace" a huge circular skyline. Julie's huge extended family has been amazing and arranged for us a personal driver while also having taken care of our hotel reservations.