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Published: March 14th 2005
We arrived in Mumbai with only two full days left in India. After the standard process of bargaining with a cab driver and having to force him to take us to the hotel we requested, we stepped out onto the amazingly clean streets of Mumbai. We had heard horror stories about the extreme amount of people in the city, but we were quite suprised to find that it wasn't very crowded. The traffic almost seemed to have some sense of order to it. I think one reason it was like this is because the city has laws that prevent rickshaws within the main city area. This left only cars and taxis on the streets, and it left us with an uncanny feeling that we were back in the US of A. Mumbai is definitely the wealthiest city that we have been to. Large sky scraping buildings are in every direction as far as you can see. Our hotel room was only a short walk from two of Mumbai's main attractions, the India Gate and the Taj Mahal Hotel. The hotel was definitely the most grand place to stay in India, with rooms starting at about $400. We opted for the $10
room a few blocks down the street. We spent the first afternoon in the Malabar Hills area. The Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's Mumbai home, is at the foot of the hills and has been converted into a very nice museum with a lot of information on Gandhi's life. We stood on the same balcony that he stood on when addressing the people outside. At the top of the hills there were two parks, one of which gave a very nice veiw of Chowpatty beach, the harbor and the cityscape. We visited a nearby Jain temple on the way down and it was packed full of people celebrating some type of religious event. The sun began to set so we headed to Chowpatty beach where all the fun stuff was rumored to be. The rumors were correct. The beach was full of people, probably several thousand. Their were vendors roaming around trying to sell everything imaginable. It was just like a carnival back in the states, and the great thing was that it happened every night, not just once or twice a year. We spent most of the evening there indulging on the many treats that were being sold at the food
stands. Kulfi had to be our favorite. It was similar to a combination of cheesecake and ice cream and came in an assortment of flavors. After the beach died down we decided to check out the Bombaby night life. We ended up watching a band play English songs at a pizza parlor and then went for a few drinks at a karaoke bar. Bean gave the rich Indian's a little taste of Double Helix and did his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. The crowd loved it, but the bar tenders didn't like when he tried to stand on the tables. After our last nights rest in India, we woke up at 6:30 this morning and rushed out to the India gate to catch the early morning laughter yoga club. Everyone morning in several locations around Mumbai groups of people gather around in parks to practice their laughter therapy. They claim that they have much happier and relxed days by laughing everyday. They don't really tell jokes or anything, but just sorta laugh at nothing in particular. Later today, we took a ferry ride out to Elephanta Isle this afternoon to see the caves, but they weren't even open. The
ferry ticket men kept that secret when we bought the tickets from them. So we just spent a few hours climbing around the hills in the hot Maharashtran sun. Once we got back we only had a few more hours until we had to make our way to the airport so we ate our last meal in India and did a little gift shopping at the various street vendors. We ended the trip with a few glasses of fresh fruit juice at the juice stall near our hotel and then gathered our bags and got in the taxi for the one and a half hour taxi ride to the airport. It seemed like we were just getting on the plane to come to India a few days ago and now we were already on the way back home. Bean and I spent the plane ride mentally planning our next trip back to our new favorite country, India.
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