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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mumbai 2

Incredible !ndia is certainly very apt....

How many Indians does it take to drag in the lines?  !ncredibly 8 where most ports it has only taken 2....  This was made harder when the line was shot.... missed all 8 Indians and ended up caught in a crane just next to the wharf... after a few  different manoeuvrers someone decided to get a long stick to hooked it closer so they could reach it....

!ncredibly it takes a lot of officials to come on board to perform a face to face stamping in order to disembark.

Today I had organised a tour for 14 of us with Mumbai Magic.  Even after a visit to the purser’s desk just after Singapore we were all given staggered interview times. I was given advice to just gather the group and join the queue as soon as processing started... When the security guard wanted to see our time allocation sheet,  the power of numbers and pleading eyes got us through along with the very first group...

Meherukh was in the terminal to meet us and soon we were all on the bus smiling and laughing that we made it through the system....

India is seen to believed.... so many people, so much rubbish , so many cars and constant horn blowing.  It was an understatement when it was said that Cochin was best described at Mumbai Light...

When you look at the beautiful old buildings all looking so run down it breaks your heart to think they were once so grand. Buildings so derelict looking that you are sure that they are abandoned until you see someone walk past a window. One building had a tree growing out the side of it...... 3 floors up LOL

And the children,  stand in one spot for too long and a small child will start tapping you begging for money. Even when the bus stops for just a moment there are children outside the window smiling waving, then asking for money.... Much to all our delight we had one little girl perform all these cartwheels alongside our bus .... we all laughed, smiled and took pictures. Then  we realised it was all done in the hope that we will give her money .

The Indians are also !ncredibly enterprising.... If there is buck to be made they will do it... Men sitting in the middle of the square at the Gateway to India with bathroom scales just in case you want to weigh yourself as you walk past.  Put a mirror on a wall on the footpath and you suddenly an outdoor barber. Meherukh said that they are quite popular as for some reason men don’t like to shave at home, but also it can be a social thing as they gather there.  They walk around with thermoses and sell you tea or even sit road side and repair your umbrella..... in big demand during the monsoon season which as we have found has started early.

Crowds, crowds everywhere no matter what time of day.... and slums... can’t drive down a street with our one popping up somewhere... whether they be a make shift building or a tarp tied to a wall.  We drove through a part of town where Meherukh said was upmarket, but still next door was another slum.  Though she says that one probably can’t survive without the other.  The poor are employed cheaply by the rich and the rich help the poor to survive.

The rubbish and stench is the hardest to take... Meherukh assures us that Indians are not dirty people.  Their homes and personal hygiene is impeccable. But as far as public area’s go, they really don’t care... She says no matter age or education you will still see people just throw away their rubbish.  Street bins are scarce mainly because if they are installed they are soon stolen and sold for scrap metal.

We visited the Gateway to India and managed to get a couple of pictures before the heavens open up on us, so the Taj Hotel was also only seen at a distance...

Then visited ... a fishing village or more like a fishing slum... lots of little boats around but it is a quiet time for them at the moment because of the monsoon... We did stop to watch a young fellow jump on his raft and paddle out to his boat... what made this interesting was his raft seemed to made of a hessian bag full of Styrofoam bits.... there was a bit of concern for Cam Boy (Garry) as we all saw the wave coming and we all ran up the beach to avoid getting wet... Garry focused on his filming ended up with wet socks and runners.... let’s hope that those tetanus shots have kicked in.

We then drove around the bay to an area called marine parade that is a popular promenade for the locals and interesting enough looks back onto the slums that we had just visited.

Did I mention bookshops... take a look at the picture, that was just one section... Meherukh assured us that they know their stock and if you ask for a book they will be able to find it.

Another interesting stop was the railway station, !ncredibly  beautiful and ornate on the outside... a dirty dingy hovel inside....... people everywhere rushing in all directions ... even walked through metal detectors but not sure who was manning them.

Another stop was Ghandi’s Museum and luckily we managed to visit in between princess buses... the best was on the top floor not just because it air conditioned but because of the series dioramas that depicted Ghandi’s life..

Every city needs a beach.....chow patty beach in fact... comes complete with make shift slum and pigeon feeding enclosure.

Next stop was the Jain temple .. So beautiful and ornate. Lots of vivid colours. There was a group of women in there gathered just to sing and chant to the gods... Bit like a bible study as oppose to an official ceremony.

We had another brief stop at the Hanging Gardens... it is always so funny to see something so beautiful in a city that looks so run down. They are called the hanging gardens because they are planted above water tanks which I gather is to keep them irrigated..

Then it was onto the famous Dhobi Ghat.... Dhobi meaning the washerman. This is an oversize outdoor can’t believe how anything can stay clean laundrette.  Though a little bit of modern is working it’s into the Ghat as it seems they have an industrial washing machine and clothes dryer to help them out in the wet....

Finally it was lunchtime and we were taken to try a real Indian experience..... No we didn’t eat from the roadside but instead  ate at much cleaner Thali restaurant.... Hey it must be good cause the Indians eat there.... and it was.... we were all given a silver tray with little bowls on it..... they filled each bowl with a different type of Curry vegetable .  Then they gave us a variety of breads to eat it with.... The staff took pity on us and gave us cutlery to help us eat our meal.  All washed down with a cold King fisher beer.  They keep topping up your plate until you tell them to stop... I am not sure if it was the excitement of trying something new or  the fact we were so hungry, we all ate so fast that it was not long before we all thought we would burst.

Us girls decided we needed some retail therapy.... we wanted  to dress Indian so Meherukh took us to a couple of stores where we could pick up some  Indian outfits with a modern touch... it was fun.... well the boys disappeared at this time....... wait till you see the formal night pictures...

Then it was back on the ship and a well deserved swim to wash the sweat and dirt of india away...

What another wonderful day........Mumbai Magic did a great job to ensure that we got a taster of real india.... we loved it !

2012 world cruisers don’t be worried about banding together to do a private tour Mumbai or even cochin.......  Today we had 14 and cost us around $40 each for a full day and that included lunch.

We tried to stay awake for sail away but I believe we were 2 hours late.....

The reason i am not too sure.....  yes the taj people were a little late, the pilot kept us waiting..... but hmm what about that late night princess delivery that did not turn up till just before we left.


Garry’s world cruise Bread Roll Count so far - 60

Joanne’s  Lobster count – 2



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