Mumbai and the Food Train
Mumbai was underwhelming. You have no idea what a great relief this was. We were expecting a city on crack, as in all of the crazy aspects of a city (people, traffic, rubbish, noise, nonsense, pollution) but amplified to unbearable degrees. In reality, Mumbai (or Bombay as old habits die hard) was much milder than our nightmare vision. It was fine. No need to linger, just fine.
The crumbly old British architecture is nice enough, but not in good enough condition to be stunning. The waterside promenade is wide and pleasant, but the air quality is too poor to make it refreshing. The street food is plentiful, but nothing knocked our socks off. The best thing in Mumbai, as a contast to the rest of India, is the existence of traffic laws. We even saw a ticket being issued. Bravo!
Now in all this underwhelment of unexpected fineness the real standout bit on this leg of the trip was a little bit of rolling goodness known as The Food Train. For reasons unknown, the train departing Mumbai at 6:55am to Goa has a plentiful, varied and excellent Pantry Car. We lounged in our seats like Maharajas as chipper fellows passed back and forth calling out "Samosa" "Chai" "Fruit Salad" and mysteriously "Chicken Lollipop." The food was great, the prices were right and the scenery was stunning. Excellent journey all around.