Mumbai madness

Trip Start Jan 19, 2013
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27
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Trip End Nov 27, 2013


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Flag of India  , Maharashtra,
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just had a full of day of sightseeing in Mumbai with my tour guide Gulshan, a really cool little lady who seemed to know everything about everything! Shelley couldn't come in the end cos she's got a bad case of Delhi belly so that was a shame.

We started off by going to the Gateway of India which is really impressive and looks over Mumbai harbour. From there we got a boat to Elephanta Island which took about an hour and was actually pretty chilly cos there's quite a breeze here. Not that I'm complaining cos I know it's bloody freezing at home!

Once we got there we got a little train closer to the island and walked up the steps to the caves. I've not seen anything like them before; they are cave-temples carved out of one huge rock and I can't imagine how they did it back in 450AD or whenever it was. It's dedicated to one of the (many) Hindu gods, Shiva. The religion seems really complicated to an outsider like me but Gulshan explained it in a way that I could relate to and I think it's starting to sink in! Anyway, it was really interesting and I'm glad I've seen them.

After getting back I popped into Starbucks (yes they have one here and I feel bad going in but it has free wifi!) to do some emails and whatnot. I then met up with my guide again and we went to the main train station called Victoria Terminus which I really wanted to see. The building is huge and like lots of the others around here it looks very British. It was ridiculously busy in there, apparently 4 million people use it everyday which I can't really get my head around. I think the population of Mumbai is something like 18 million which is pretty crazy!

From there we went to Dhobi Ghat which is where the people of Mumbai get their washing done. Basically it's just a massive laundry but instead of machines they have about a thousand troughs where the clothes get washed and then hung to dry and the Dhobi guys return the clothes once they're done. It was a funny sight seeing loads of clothes hanging up but it actually looks like a really efficient service for the locals and the whites did look really white!

After that we drove along Marine Drive and stopped to take some pics along Girguam Chowpatty also known as Chowpatty beach. I saw some peeps running along the seafront this morning so am thinking I might do that tomorrow. I need to do something to work off all the curry I've been eating!

We also passed the University of Mumbai, Prince of Wales museum, and High Court buildings which again wouldn't look out of place in London.

I'd heard the street food along the beach was really good unlike the water which is apparently toxic! I asked if I could try this dish called bhelpuri which is a combo of puffed rice, shredded chick peas, lentils, chilli and tamarind chutney and god knows what else. They give you some flat dough crisps to pile it up on and you're supposed to shove it in your mouth in one go which I obviously had no trouble doing! I think the guy was surprised when I asked him to make it more spicy and Gulshan was pretty impressed! I like to put my stomach to the test!

We had a walk round the Hanging Garden which is a little oasis in the middle of the city then stopped by the nearby Jain Temple to take some pics. There was some kind of event going on and lots of women were in the attached hall eating thali which looked pretty tasty. God I'm always talking about food!

Last stop was Gandhi's residence when he was in Mumbai so that was really interesting. It was very modest as you'd expect, virtually no furniture or possessions. It was good to learn more about him.

I got dropped off at the local arts and crafts festival which happens to be on his week so had a mooch around there, it was pretty hectic.

My bro told me I had to go see the posh toilets in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel so obviously I went in to check them out. They were pretty good and a world away from the toilets I've been used to recently! The security in all the hotels seems pretty rigid, they scan your bags like at an airport, I even had to do the same when I went to Starbucks! Still it's probably not a bad thing after the various attacks they've had here in the past.

After that I did some exploring, found a cool shop called Bombay Electric which was like Urban Outfitters but a little less grunge and a little more glam. They had some really cool stuff in there.

Anyway this is a seriously long post so if you're still awake, well done! If not I'll let you off I suppose. Needless to say I had a fab day and am looking forward to tomorrow.

I leave Mumbai tomorrow afternoon to fly to Aurangabad for a couple of days. Flying with Air India who are meant to be shit so can't wait for that!
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