Monday, December 27, 2010

Mumbai - Melting pot of Asia

Thus far I found Mumbai the city of my choosing if I were to stay in India. There are probably many reasons why I feel comfortable in this place. Firstly, I am getting used to India. Secondly, it is probably more western than any place I have visited and therefore more in my comfort zone.

I do not get completely stared at by every single person here. I understand that in the States I may look alternative at moments and get a curious look here and there, but in Nepal and everywhere else in India they gawk in amazement, take pictures of me, snicker, point and chatter about how strange I look. Sometime they laugh outrageously and quite often they want their pictures taken with me. I know I bring this on and I don't take it personally. Yet, in Mumbai this has been decreased ten fold and I feel relieved of the weird pressure that I realize that comes with it.

There are sidewalks here and traffic is, in a very relative sense, less chaotic. I would still never try to drive here, but there is much less congestion and a rule or two seem to be followed. The stress factor of walking around the city is so much lower, the honking less frequent, and I don't feel like I am continuously vehicle dodging. The lack of animals all over the place also means I don't have to play tricky games of hopscotch around shit everywhere.

This place is a mixture of everything. There are fancy skyscrapers, intricate old European Victorian buildings, scattered temples, and slums packed in between. Litter is abundant, but nothing like it has been elsewhere in India.

Hindu is the primary religion here and Islam comes in second. If you wanted to get a taste of Christmas in India then Mumbai is the place to be. There are X-mas signs and decorations in many storefront windows and inside the restaurants. We passed a Methadist church singing out "Silent Night", with some rocking drums I might add.

Mumbai is the first place I've had conversations with locals that would be more like the banter I would have with my friends at home. The international feel of Mumbai's people resonates with me. Most importantly, this city has showed me that India is different everywhere. It took a place that I understood better to show me that. Every place I've stopped has had major differences, yet it is hard to recognize sometimes when it all feels so foreign. I see that there is no way to compare the places I've been. They all have amazing things to offer and just because I'm not used to it does not make one place better than the other. I just think Bombay is pretty cool... that's all.

Location:Mumbai India

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