Then there are of course the 40.000 yellow and black taxis. Sort of Fiat’s of the 50’s; small, old and worn with outdated meters.
|This is the taxi of Ali, ‘our’ guy. The car is 20 years old, tiny and falling apart. During one of our rides we got a flat, but he managed to fix it quite quickly.|
The rules in traffic are quite simple: when there is an opening, you go in there. There are no lanes and you just hunk your horn continuously to let others know you are coming.
A tiny, old car like Ali’s means: 1. you can squeeze in the tiniest spaces between other cars, 2. you can take priority over newer cars, cause they care for their car and you don’t, 3. you can take priority over pedestrians, scooters and handcarts, cause you still drive a ‘car’ and they don’t. Usually there are no accidents or collisions. Miraculous!
In Colaba, the tourist area there are horse drawn gilded carriages. They look gorgeous with all the decorations and at nite they look like xmas with all the lights. They are called Victoria’s.
I can not really enjoy looking at them, cause I feel for the poor horses:-(.
People use bikes and handcarts for all sorts of transportation.
Then there is the train. Every day 2.5 million people pass through Victoria Terminus; the main station. I stood there for an hour or so and the stream of people knows no end. Amazing!
The building is a beautiful Gothic building.
During rush hour there are 7.000 people in a train that is meant for 1.800 persons. Not much chance to get a seat then.
In the lower class wagons the benches have no cushioning. Some of the staff of the hotel travel daily 1 or 1,5 hours (one way) by train to work!
Although Mumbai is considered to be relatively safe for women (Delhi is called ‘rape city number 1’, not Mumbai), there are special trains/wagons for ‘women only’. The painted female portraits tell you which ones. Between 8.30 in the evenings and 6 in the mornings there is security staff present in those trains to guarantee the safety of the women.