Overnight Train to Mumbai / Street Food Crawl

Mumbai Travel Blog

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Waking up, I bought a chai from a chaiwalla walking down the corridor, and then immediately dropped it from the top bunk and it spilled all over the nice man below - I felt awful. He was very gracious about it, “It happens!” - but I felt terrible and embarrassed! It was scalding hot, but I was so embarrassed, I didn’t even ask if the guy got burned, just apologized profusely!

I was hungry, so I asked one of the guys if the food being sold was okay to eat...the sellers seemed to be coming from these poor, rural areas next to the train tracks...they ran up to the train, jumped on as it slowed down, and walked down the aisles hawking their wares. Then they would hop off as the train started up again and was starting to pick up speed. It was amazing. I decided to try one of the pre-packaged dishes that the couples was like a mushy cereal with a bit of salt and a bit of tiny beans right lentils, but not much flavor. I didn’t finish it. I scavenged my bag and finished off the last of the granola bars I brought, some of the chips and cookies, a banana, and I had polished off the fuck nuts in the middle of the night.

Most folks were still sleeping, so I chatted with Elisa at her seat in a little tete-a-tete and then returned for conversation with the two couples who told us they all had sons and daughters studying or working at various places in the U.S., and we had long conversations about India, and travel. They had all traveled extensively and they suggested Bhutan as our next destination!

The train was actually not very late, but when we arrived at Mumbai, the vans weren’t there to meet us, so we had to wait by the trains (which was covered from the sun), watching all the poor dogs and puppies trying to get some food. A vendor gave them some cookies, which they begrudgingly ate—even they got sick of their snacks.

Our hotel looked like a businesspersons’ hotel - not a lot of Indian style, but clean and all amenities...including shitty Wi-Fi. I sent out some laundry to get done, although I doubt the colors will ever come out of my bra.

Pancham took us to Chowpatty Beach for our chaat crawl. Rachel gave me some sticky bug spray with 100% DEET which ate through the colors of my leather sandals! Pancham got us all kinds of things...he started by getting one of each thing for everyone, and we kept yelling that it was waaay too much food. He wound up eating some (we called him the garbage disposal), but even he couldn’t finish it so he gave the extra food to families who were hanging out on the beach.

We finally got to try a bunch of exotic flavors of kulfi (like ice cream) and falooda noodles...the kulfi was yummy, the falooda is not what I expected...when I’ve had it in Persian ice cream they are rice noodles, I think, and have more texture...and is inside the ice cream. These falooda were flaccid, sweet noodles, with an even sweeter rose syrup on them. Too sweet for me. Garrick and Laura tried the betel nut/anise/rock sugar breath freshener wrapped in leaves—I guess you stick it in your cheek like chewing tobacco. They said it wasn’t bad. But I just took their word for it!
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photo by: vvicy1