6:45am: my plane landed in Mumbai a red-eye flight straight from the city of London.
Stepping out from the plane felt like diving into a spa, 34 degree and close to 100% humidity. This is end of October just after the monsoon season. My body is melting into the humid air, a feeling the last time I experienced when I visited Rudas, my favourite Turkish bath in Budapest. The only difference is that you get it here for free, just need to go out to the steers leaving your aircon hotels.
Water becomes your favourite drink, usually you will get a cold bottle from the cab driver. What a nice service.
On the way to the hotel I learn that the driver does not like Mumbai too much, too big and the traffic is crazy. He prefers the village in which he was born. Beyond being busy and loud of the constant honking there is poverty on a massive scale. The slums of Mumbai are one of the largest in the world. And there is so much potential, looking at all the development in progress, huge skyscrapers are forming the skyline, there is a sandy beach although nobody is allowed to swim except fishermen and it covered by rubbish.
The conversation turns in to talking about the sunrises, the driver tells me that it is so beautiful for the first 10min you can look at the beautiful red circle rising over the city … not like in England or the continental Europe where the sky might turn into red before the sun rises and once it comes up you need to look away, here due to the humidity and as a bigger factor due to the pollution the sun comes up as a red circle and turns the sky red for 5-10min.
I only had one day in Mumbai and tried to see as much as I can. I visited Gandhi’s house, the Gateway of India, beautiful temples, street shops, British colonial and Unesco world heritage sites
On the less so attractive side many cities in India are amongst the top cities in the world when it comes to air pollution … and Mumbai is one of them
Second day another city, greener, much less pollution … but a lot more bikers, this is Pune an oasis for technology engineers. Better milder climate, it "only" reaches high 30s sometime 40, but not 45 like Mumbai. Because of that and the large presence of tech and banking development campuses many people are relocating to here. Palm trees, colourful sarees and constant honking …
I walked out of my hotel and explored the neighbourhood, visited temples walked the streets random, talked to people … tried to capture the colourful atmosphere of the city in its preparation for Diwali, the festival of lights.
… and Pune is really green
and the unbelievable magnificent creatures the banyan trees, native in India and there are plenty in the city especially around the University of Pune.
… on the way back to the airport I stopped by at a petrol station just because I love the sunrises …
good-bye India … I will be back :)