I'm freaking out a bit. I've ventured outside my flat for the first time since arriving in Mumbai and first impressions are tough. An assault of smells and sounds. Excrement on the pavement. Rancid smells. The grey coastal line is rough and grey, pounding the shoreline in rhythm to my heart. So much blue... ratty blue tarpaulins attached to everything. So much dirt and grime. Four months this will be my home. I've made it to a coffee shop which held so much promise... but I sit here with the stench of shit, car fumes and faint salt air. Food has come... a paneer masala sandwich. I eat quickly, ravenously aware that I am devouring this food with complete disregard for manners. Two hands grasp eagerly at this first meal in twenty four hours. The smell of dog shit drifts across again. Horns from the yellow and black tuk-tuks sound aggressively in the background, navigating these roads like different coloured pieces on a checker board. Crowds of people, stray dogs, tuk-tuk's, overcrowded buses, all jostling for a space on the road in front of me. And again a rancid smell drifts across my table.
I didn't have a chance.
Mumbai has delivered it's first blow... a bout of food poisoning. Fever, vomiting, and curled up in the fetal position. Taken out in the first twenty four hours.
Sitting in a cafe watching the rains come in. Inexperienced with the unpredictability of monsoonal rains, I continued to eat my lunch; chatting calmly with my colleague about the need to start thinking about making our way back home before the rains got much heavier. Blissfully ignorant as the bustling metropolis of Mumbai was about to come to a halt as the relentless rain flooded the streets