A Sunday in Mumbai…

What an interesting day taking in the sights of Mumbai and trying to give Angie a flavour of the place – as she has never been to India before. And what a place to start her Indian education!

We went to Churchgate in a Cool Cab (with air-conditioning) and walked a bit to the Victoria Terminus (now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, but still more commonly known as VT) – a huge gothic train station built during the days of the British Raj. The cab driver was trying his best to get us into a souvenir shop – the oldest trick in the book, but clearly a lot of tourists still fall for it thinking that the driver is getting them a discount.

From there, it was a short walk further south to see the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Gateway to India, the huge monument erected to commemorate the visit of George V to India – and often recalled by tourists as the place where James Bond entered Mumbai in Octopussy.

We walked around the corner  – behind the Taj Mahal hotel – to the famous Leopold café. The Taj Mahal, VT, and the Leopold were all attacked by terrorist gunmen in November last year. It was only after I had sat down in the Leopold that I noticed the window nearest to my table still had a bullet-hole.

We walked around the street markets in Colaba (avoiding the rats) for a while before taking a regular cab further north to Bandra, and then went on to Juhu beach. The beach was a lot dirtier than I remember from the last time I visited, but still packed full of people enjoying the good weather. It wasn’t really all that nice on the beach because we were so obviously foreign – and that meant that begging kids were tugging on my trouser leg at least twice a minute. It’s a shame to see kids reduced to begging on a beach, but it’s also a shame that we could not walk around without being harassed – to the point at which we just bailed out and walked down the road to the JW Marriott hotel for some drinks and really nice Indian food…

We took an auto-rickshaw from there over to the Intercontinental, where we are staying, so we could both enjoy the roller-coaster ride of being stuck in the middle of honking Indian traffic in a tiny rickshaw… Indian traffic is amazing for it’s noise and the ability to just ignore every rule of the road! It was a fun trip around Mumbai on a nice Sunday, and a good start to this trip as we are working the rest of this week…

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