Mumbai Travel Blog› entry 1 of 41 › view all entries
Hello from Mumbai (Bombay)!
After a 17+ hour plane ride (with an unexpected (by us, everyone else seemed to know it was coming) stop in Frankfurt- Gutentag!!), we arrived in Mumbai. The flight was a foggy mix of neck cricks, leg cramps, and dreamless sleep interrupted every so often with a flight attendant offering our latest curry dish. Apparently eating wasn’t optional. Since our initial roller coaster of a taxi ride (did you know they drive on the left side of the road here?) we’ve been wandering all over this hazy city by the sea by bus, train and converse. The weather has been near perfect, with warm morning breezes carrying the varying scents of insence, strong tea, and yesterday’s food scraps. Most people pass by with a bright smile on their faces, say Hello! or Good Morning! and continue on their way. The style of dress varies from decadent, matching head-to-toe saris to business suits and ties to old t-shirts, with the occasional religious garb worn by men that usually consists of a simple ankle length white collared tunic with matching cap. There is also baggy, Gandhi style sheet-pants and feet are bare more often than not, including in the kitchens of pretty much all of the eateries we have been frequenting. Speaking of food I think I may have found my own personal culinary heaven in the endless bounty of vegetarian foods, most of which contain ingredients that remain a mystery even after examined and consumed.
As for the sites, we have been very dutiful little visitors, hardly resting a bit except when our jet lagged bodies crash around 8 or 9 pm. We have ventured near and far (the far being an accidental journey waaaayy out of town by bus, in which we were redirected train-wise with the help of three or four doting locals) and our eyes have gazed upon the wondrous, collosal, palatial Victoria Terminus train station. A picture, if I had a second to upload one, could never do it justice. Almost every governmental edifice appears as if it could house a Royal Court, the Post Office and Police stations, most notably. We also took a bus to Marine Drive and explored the Taj Mahal Palace and Resort and the Gateway to India, where we became quite the pair of celebs; appearing in a few family photos and answering questions from some local youths who were “eager to practice their English with a lovely pair of madams.” Everything I read about Indians being fascinated and friendly with western tourists has proved absolutely true.
Tomorrow we head to the beaches of Goa to wash off the grime and sweat that has been accumulating on our bodies since we arrived. The pollution here is very thick causing low visibility and a very distinct odor. My throat feels as though I have been sitting in a smoky room for a few days so while I do enjoy the city I am ready to move onto what I hope will be greener pastures.
*Since we have been in Mumbai we have visited many of the sites that were involved in the tragic terrorist attacks that took place in November. Signs have been posted all over the city (similar to the “If You See Something, Say Something” signs that adorn NYC Subway walls) and a photo ID is required to use internet by order of the government. Metal Detectors are all over the train station and armed (and friendly!) guards stand by each entrance. The Taj Hotel was by far the most protected, with all but one entrance closed, metal detectors and x ray machines aplenty, and numerous guards searching everyone’s bags who neared the doors. A small monument to the tragedy was placed inside listing everyone’s names who perished next to a Tree of Life. They are referring to the events as 26/11.