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Mumbai, Murud and to Palolem from Roha


Mumbai railway station from across busy streetHaving said goodbye to our families and had our siblings make sure we actually get on our flight (thanks Cass, Ben and Clara!) we arrived safe and well in Mumbai and made it to our hotel on the edge of sleep. Somehow we managed to motivate ourselves to go straight out again and explore the city a bit to try and fight the dreaded jetlag. We went to the famous train station which was right next to our hotel and nothing like as busy as we were expecting. That said it still made Waterloo at rush hour look like Ledbury station on a Saturday afternoon. Then we wondered to the coast and found a random little beach where we had our first Indian food - dinner for 2 on the beach for 70p isn't something you can get in every large city.

photo of murud beach, miles of sandNext day we headed to a place described by the Lonely Planet as "suitable for the intrepid explorer looking to get off the backpacker route", Murud (just on the coast, south of Mumbai if you want to find it on the atlas...). It sounded nice and was (in a basic way), and it was certainly a good way to see Indian villages and life not just the tourist track. It is used by a lot of Mumbai locals for weekends apparently (we were only there mid week) so there were plenty of hotels but less in the way of places to eat. It was a lovely relaxing few days although I manage to get a touch of the famous bad tummy (I'll spare you the details but we think I must have swallowed a bit of sea water) so that kept me quiet for a day or two (much to Seth's relief as he could enjoy his book in peace).

We left there and got a bus up to Roha which was another interesting way to experience life as the locals do. This time it was the locals who make their living selling their produce - including a big basket of fish that Seth ended up having under his feet for 2 hours. There was also a hairy moment as we thought that a lady was going to ask Seth to help her get a basket onto her head and neither of us were sure a) how you did that or b) if we could lift up the basket in the first place! Luckily someone else came to our rescue at the critical moment. From Roha (after a wonder around a market, a haircut for 25p for Seth and 4 hours in a train station - Roha offers little to do to those who don't want to eat fish that is crawling in flies) we eventually got a train south to Goa and arrived late in the night into a slightly obscure place called Madgoa where we were lucky to find a hotel where the security guard hadn't fallen asleep and was able to find someone to get a room sorted for us - unfortunately this marked Seth's turn for the tummy bug - it had to happen sooner or later I guess. Today we got the bus to a true backpackers beach resort type place called Palolem.

photo of palolem beach at nightPalolem seems very relaxed and hopefully social. We finally feel like we are on the backpacker trail now which is a mixed blessing. The bus here was the first time we have travelled in the same vehicle as other travellers this week but even then there was also a significant majority of locals using the bus. The plus side of the traveller types is people we can talk to about where is good to go, how to get there etc - but the down side is the slightly false environment. Although it is the weekend and therefore there are a lot of Indian people here today enjoying the beach and staying in the same beachhuts as we are, you still get the impression this is not normal life for the vast majority of this country. We are both glad that within the first week we have already been able to see both these environments and can now decide how and where to go next with a little more information...

That said I think we will be here a few days to enjoy a bit of internet, sun, sand and sea...

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