I'm in India! I had always wanted to come here and when I realised it was much cheaper going from Laos than from Australia I decided to go.
I stayed with my friends' relatives in Mumbai for a couple of days. They looked after me really well, cooking me some delicious Indian foods. They seem to schedule their meals so they're served on the dot! Their family have nap time too which I appreciate. I'm glad they could give me some information about India otherwise I would have tried to bargain for taxis and auto- rickshaws before I get in. Auto- rickshaws are exactly like the tuk-tuks in Thailand and Laos but in much better condition.
Mumbai isn't actually as crowded as I expected. Maybe I'm didn't visit the most crowded areas. The city is absolutely huge so maybe it's not as dense as some of the busy areas in cities with smaller areas. I think it's fine to travel as a woman alone. Many people eat alone in restaurants so it's not so weird being alone. The people are generally friendly and helpful. Most people I've met speak perfect English. It's easy to get around- taxis are cheap and you can pre pay for them. You pay your hotel and give a slip to the driver once you've arrived at your destination so the driver can collect their fare from the hotel. The traffic is not really scary at all, I never felt like I was going to die in a taxi.
I haven't found it as overwhelming as I expected- it was probably easier coming from Laos than from Australia. I think I've just been in the tourist areas so I haven't come across much poverty. Though I've seen some of the housing where I'm sure the living conditions are crowded and uncomfortable and it smells from the outside. They look like some of the housing in Laos, but much more dense.
The weather here is nearly exactly the same as it is in Vientiane at the moment. The temperature is about the same, as is the frequency of rain. Mumbai is virtually the same latitude as Vientiane. I'm glad I havesome inner bo bpen nyang (no worries) from Lao to help me get around India okay. I get approached by many salespeople on the streets but they really bother me- I'm actually happy to see enterprising behaviour! I already learnt in Laos to do without toilet paper so I have that challenge covered too!
I have just been wandering around town. I visited some very old caves with stone carvings on Elephanta Island. The food here is as good as I imagine. I've been here 3 days and haven't been sick yet. Though Lao food is virtually fat free so even if there's a bit of butter or other fat in food I feel really full quickly.
I'm off to Goa!