Chak De Andrea!

Follow the exciting and not so exciting adventures of Andrea in Mumbai...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mumbai is... wet

Hmm did I do that one already? I don't think I did. When it rains really hard, all of the entrances to Almeida Park flood. You see the park is in the middle with a ring road around it, and then about four roads leading out to the main roads. So if I want to go out at this point (which sometimes I need to) I have to wade through quite deep water in order to do so!! Rain has been off and on, but we had a huge lot earlier today and I could see all the rickshaws splashing through the very deep water from my window. I'm not at work today as I woke up with a very bad cold, but am here in a cafe updating as I needed to go out and get some lunch anyway.

So today I shall answer the question you've all been asking yourselves (You know that you have!) What does Andrea do on a typical day in Mumbai?

Well here is a short sum up in a typical day in the life of Andrea McLeod.

I have two types of days during the week, one is when I'm heading into the office and the other is when I'm heading out to a site.

Both of them will start pretty much the same. I wake up, shower, choose my clothes for the day (I usually have to iron them because I've stuffed them in the cupboard and they're all wrinkly), then have my breakfast of bread with peanut butter. I would like to mention here that peanut butter is very expensive. It cost me 120 rupees for a bottle!!! That's like $4!!! And there were even more expensive types there! Cheese is expensive too, and not that great quality. I have sworn never to buy cheese again after being very disappointed with the one I got at the big supermarket I went to.

So, ahem, back to the story.

This done, I walk done the road to Bandra Station, and then comes the difficult bit, actually getting on a train.

This doesn't take technique so much as it takes stubbornness, force, and the ability to push other women out of the way or to resist being pushed out of the way yourself. There are always three ladies carriages for each train, one at the front, one in the middle and one at the end. So you must position yourself correctlly (just look for where all the other women are) and then wait, preferably as close to the front as possible.

The real trick to getting on a train, is to not actually wait for anybody to get off it. That's right, just push straight on because otherwise you won't get a seat. Unfortunately I think that growing up in Australia has made me far too polite, so I don't tend to follow this advice. As a result I sometimes have to wait for the next train. Or travel in the baggage compartment with the women who are carrying the veges and fish they plan to sell somewhere.

So if I'm going to the office I take the train down to Churchgate which is the furthest station to the south. I'll buy myself a little take away chai and then walk to the office, which takes over 20 minutes, but I just can't be bothered working out which bus to get on and it's a nice walk. The only difficulty is avoiding the tourist touts.

Unfortunately as a white person, I am automatically classed as a tourist. Therefore I am fair game for anyone wanting to see scarves, drums, sandles, kashmiri shawls and HUGE balloons, which quite frankly I'm not sure why anybody would ever have a use for them. Usually I just ignore everybody, which is much easier when you have an ipod, but if somebody is particularly persistant, I will tell them to bugger off (in hindi of course).

Then I will spend the rest of the day at the office before doing the whole thing in reverse.

Well this blog has been quite long enough so next one will be describing how a typical day at a construction site creche is!




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