The Start of my Bombay Adventure

In about 2 hours, I will have been here in Mumbai for a week.  It has been an interesting week to say the least, filled with house hunting, rickshaws, cows in the street and hour-long taxi rides.  The primary goal of the week was to find housing.  I haven’t seen much of the city, but I have found a place to live.  I am currently staying with a fantastic family, but my main concern is that it is VERY far north in the city, whereas I am working in Central Mumbai.  It isn’t so much a problem for getting to work (I don’t think; tomorrow will be my first rickshaw ride to the train station and first rush-hour train ride), but I am quite concerned about the effect it will have on my social life.

For now, I am staying put.  In a few weeks I will reevaluate and see if I need to try and find something closer, not necessarily an easy task.  I devoted a week to finding a suitable room that would give me access to a kitchen, was reasonably clean, and was with sane people.  I had hoped to be living in Bandra, a neighborhood known for its restaurants, cafes, and its expats.  I spent most of the week in that neighborhood, and was incredibly surprised to see so few expats.  While there are certainly more there than any other part of the city I’d been in, it is nowhere near the numbers you would see in  hip expat neighborhoods in other cities.  This may have to do with the low tourism numbers.  Face it, monsoon season isn’t really the best time to visit Mumbai.

I am currently living in Andheri West, two neighborhoods to the north of Bandra, and about 4 or 5 train stops.  I took what I could find as far as housing in some senses, and ended up in a good situation in the actual flat, room and family I am staying with, but not so good when it comes to everything else I was hoping to do.  Anyway, I’ll keep you updated on what I end up doing with housing.

So I’m sure the question will arise: what is Mumbai like? For starters, most locals still call it Bombay.  Expats waver, but almost every Indian I’ve talked to talks about Bombay.  The traffic is REALLY bad, but I’m not sure I would say that the city itself is as crazy as say, Hanoi.  I’m not sure what makes it that way, but I think the combination of denser, taller buildings and massive number of people on every street in Hanoi makes it seem crazier.  Mumbai is certainly dirtier, but there seems to be a lot hidden behind shop walls.  I haven’t explored shops too much, but I am starting to realize that life here certainly doesn’t take place on the street.  Hopefully I can find some of that life over the next three months and begin to understand how this city works.

This entry was published on July 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm and is filed under India, Mumbai. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Start of my Bombay Adventure

  1. hour long taxi’s are long indeed. And I am surprised you say you saw little of the city. I found that it was during my rushed search for housing in New Zealand that I took in most of the city, created a mental image of the geographic place.

    I really like the opening shots. also the laundry in 78. nice crisp images, I might straighten a few, but nice crisp images, and I look forward to more cityscapes.

    I image not so much sunshine, but some of the lighting looks quite bright so maybe yes some blue skies?

    • The difference in Mumbai is that you have to be pretty specific about where you look for housing. The city is so big, and the quality so varying that pinpointing is important. I’m starting to see a bit more now, and getting a feel for it.

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