Day out in south Mumbai

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February 20th 2018
Published: March 1st 2018
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One full day left and reserved for sightseeing in Mumbai.

After our indecisive sightseeing in Delhi, this time we were prepared with a list, written down, as to exactly where were going.

Plan A was a taxi to point 1, then another taxi to point 2 etc.

Plan B soon came into play as we realised that point 1, The Gateway To India, was a good hour's taxi ride away and the taxi driver was quite reasonable in suggesting he might as well bring us back as well as it would be 1000 rupees there and another 1000 back. (We had sensibly checked the approximate fare at the hotel before leaving).

Quick discussion in the back of the taxi and noting our taxi driver spoke good, understandable English we suggested he could indeed bring us back as well if he could also take us to the other places on the way according to my written list. Excellent. Agreed for 3000 all in and it did prove to work out very well.

The Gateway to India is to the south of our hotel and the airport, at the end of a peninsula of land. We drove there by way of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, a spectacular new bridge curving out into the sea and then returning to the coast line for a drive along Marine Bay (on my list to see).

Very slow traffic in places but all the more time for us to look around. The commercial centre of Mumbai was to the left and all we saw of it were high rise buildingsforever shrouded in mist, pollution, heat haze who knows !

We spent a good hour wandering around the Gateway of India area. This was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, first monarchs of England to visit India and the point where they landed. It is also the site of the Taj Mahal hotel, which was attacked by terrorists in 2008.

The entire area was heaving with tourists and most of the tourists were Indian. The ladies mainly dressed in their colourful and lovely saris. This is also the place where the boats leave for Elephanta Island and the caves. Would have liked to visit those too but not enough time.

Bob and I were selfie photographed at least 20 times while there, with families, children, couples, ladies, men. I got them to reciprocate on several occasions and took their photos with my camera. They all posed very willingly for me it was such a pleasure.

Next stop, once we'd found our taxi again (and waved away the many who offered us lifts) was the Station. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), also site of the 2008 attack. One of the busiest railway stations in India and a World Heritage site. The booking office was expecially ornate. We stayed to watch a couple of trains coming in and going out. Most trains have a ladies only compartment, this so they can travel on their own and undisturbed.

Next stop was the Crawford Market, another historical building. We accidentally picked up a guide on the way in but he assured us he was a porter, provided by the market and didn't want money. Hmmph. Super market (not a supermarket) bulging with stalls full of every sort of thing you could imagine and more besides. The goods are carried round in baskets balanced on the head and it was a busy place in the afternoon, though in the morning it is a wholesale market and absolutely non-stop. Loved the fruit and veggie stalls and had to have several things identified.

Our porter then did what Indians in this situation always seem to do, headed out of the market and straight for one of the clothing shops where he gets commission. No I did not want anything making for me and neither did Bob. He was most dis-chuffed when I refused to enter but as to get there we had gone down a street selling saris and artificial flowers I did stop to buy a sari for £2.50 for the fabric alone. Gave porter my last few rupees as we had struggled all day with small change and he went off, rather crossly, while we regained our taxi.

One last stop, a Hindu temple. Mahalakshmi Templle. Lots of stalls on the lane down to it and I paid all of 10 rupees for a lotus flower. No photos inside the temple and not much to see except people handing over their offerings and strangely, some people coming back out still carrying theirs. I handed over my flower and left. Back down the steps to collect my shoes from the shoe-minder with apologies as I hadn't any change left at all. I handed over a bright shiny £1 piece and my minder seemed very happy. Hope he managed to change it with someone.

This is a very traditional and popular Hindu temple but we really have no idea what the ritual is supposed to be but interesting to take part anyway.

Then back to the hotel and an agreement with our driver to collect us 7.30 am sharp outside the hotel in the morning to take us to the airport.

An excellent and most enjoyable day. Lovely dinner with superb service in the Indian restaurant after I'd had a swim in the outdoor pool just before it went dark.

Popped to the business centre on the way to the pool in an attempt to sort out the room wifi. Worked this time. Man visited our room and borrowed my cable to plug into the individual room router (flat battery) under the desk and voila I was back on the internet. Shame the two men who visited the day before to "help" didn't think of that !

Bags carefully packed for morning flight tomorrow. There will be no time for breakfast. Shame, the breakfast in this hotel is the best yet.

Additional photos below
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2nd March 2018
Have to love the saris of India. Wonder if there will be as many one generation on ?

The colors of India

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