During my trip to Kerala, I stopped off in Mumbai for a couple of days on my way back to the states – I have family there. Of all places I have been in my life, my trip to Mumbai was the most interesting, eye-opening and fun!
I’m sure many of you have seen Slumdog Millionaire as I have. The actual living conditions of everyday people did not hit me in the movie until I actually saw it for myself. And, it then hit me like a ton of bricks. Just my first day there I saw people living in ‘homes’ made of branches and the shirt off their back. I saw people eat OFF the street while traffic is going in full volume – and there is some mayjah traffic issues there. There are slums galore.
But, the moment of truth only came when we were driving down a busy intersection and I saw a 2-year-old kid walking through the intersection between the lanes in his diapers. This baby was covered in dust and seemed like he was not bothered in the least.
Mind you I had every opportunity to take his picture to show you but for some reason I felt it not right. So, I don’t know if you will feel what I felt, but all I know is that I won’t ever forget.
Lesson No. 1: I am really lucky and blessed to have everything I have. Lesson No. 2: You make it work.
So, without further ado, here are the highlights from my trip to Mumbai:
Binks insisted on getting a samosa at the airport before arriving in Mumbai.
Then we arrived.
We were immediately greeted by a street vendor attempting to sell us re-printed/copied books.
He stayed for a long time because again he knew we were Americans.
I must say the traffic was the worst I’ve seen in any city. There are so many people living in Mumbai that it’s unbelievable just how they live. For instance, for a 750 sq ft. apartment, there may be 5-7 families living in one apartment so that they can afford a space. Or, you have situations where someone has a three bedroom home and 3-4 families live in one room while renting the other space out to make income.
And did I mention they have corruption issues with the government?
I think the sign is problem No. 1. Did you “sspot” it? 🙂
We started the day with a tour of the areas that were hit by the 2008 terrorist attacks, including the Gateway of India, Taj Hotel and Leopold Cafe (for lunch).
Then came Leopold Cafe. Let me preface this by saying that Binks is not a foodie. At all. How we get along is beyond me! 🙂 But, to this day – he cannot stop talking about Leopold Cafe. You again have to take my word on it – it was THAT good!
Leopold Cafe was another site of the terrorist attacks. The attackers actually had lunch in the cafe before they began their tirade on restaurant, killing at least 10 people. The windows where the bullets went through still remain.
The menu was thorough and had plenty of cuisines.
The drinks were offered in volumes. I think this was the pitcher – of Kingfisher, nonetheless.
I swear it was full prior to this picture. *burp* *hiccup*
The service – awesome and attentive without being pushy!
The food? There are no words.
And, obviously there is no food – thanks a bunches Binks!
Then we took time to go to Juhu beach, the most famous beach in Mumbai. Now, Juhu is a suburb of Bombay – and let me tell ya – rich to say the least. The movie stars live here, but unfortunately I didn’t see any.
And no, it isn’t the cleanest beach. But it is crowded – as are most things in Mumbai. We of course made sure to hit up the vendors at the beach.
Enter the recent favorite – the gola! Gola is the Indian version of a slush/sno-cone. It’s ice that’s slushed and smushed on a stick, which pretty much looks like a Popsicle. Then, the Gola wala pours any flavor of syrup (pictured above) onto the ice and you slurp on the flavored ice. I got the chocolate flavor. I still dream about this.
Then the classic lemon soda. Simple lemon juice, soda water, and chaat masala. Yum!
My cousins ordered more but I could only handle so much.
Binks and I was really fortunate to have family here to stay with and show us the lay of the land. After the snacks, we were on our way home.
So, goodbye Mumbai with your gritty exterior and soulful interior. One thing I know for a fact is that I’m coming back – even if it’s just to eat at the Leopold Cafe and try the chocolate gola at Juhu Beach.
If you want to get the real feel of India with tons to do, go to Mumbai. I heart it.