Mumbai Day 3 Part 1

Continued from Mumbai Day 2.

I had a nightmare last night. Can’t remember what it was about, but I am sure the whole discovery of terrorist bombing in my hotel had something to do with it. Otherwise, I slept well since I was so physically exhausted from the hot and humid hike at Elephanta Island.

It took a lot of self talk to get myself out of the door today. I just felt lazy. It was nearly noon by the time I left my hotel room.

Continuing with the colorful, and not always in good taste, interior decorations of Mumbai taxis.

Marine Dr.

There she is! Victoria Terminus.

Mumbai Municipal Building sits right next to Victoria Terminus.

It’s so big I can’t fit it into one frame.

This is my best shot. There is no more room to back up for a wider shot. The building is magnificent and imposing today. Imagine looking at this behemoth back in 1888 when it was completed. It must have seem out of this world. The building looks fuzzy because the smog, fog, dust, whatnot is so heavy here today in Mumbai that everything looks fuzzy from this distance.

I had asked my taxi driver to wait for me while I snapped photos of Victoria Terminus. When I got back in the car, I told him of my next destination. First I told him to go to Dhobi Ghat, but then quickly changed my mind and asked him to drop me off at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum first, because it was closer.

Here he is reading my map. Let me rephrase. Here he is pretending to read my map because I have yet to meet a driver who knows how to read a map.

Flora Fountain….wait a minute….this looks familiar! I was here two days ago, and this means we are headed the wrong way! I told the driver that we are going the wrong way and that we need to head North and not South. He can’t read the map, so he just assumed that I wanted to go to Prince of Wales Museum…sigh. He apologized and turned the car around. I told him to just drop me off at Dhobi Ghat because he seems to know its location without looking at a map.

Remember the big field with all the cricket players from two days ago? Well, there were about 10 times more people there playing cricket today. I think a tournament is going on because I saw many cricket players staying at my hotel.

Back on Marine Drive heading in the right direction this time.

McDonald’s delivers.

There is one stretch of the bay that has a sandy beach.

I stuck my camera out to take a random photo of traffic and caught this disfigured man begging for money. This happens at red lights about as often as a homeless person begging for money in Austin. I am always approached first because I am the foreigner.

Dhobi Ghat. Open air human powered laundromat. Many hotels get their laundry done here. I wonder if my sheets from my hotel are washed here? Somehow, I doubt it. I bet there’s an industrial sized washer/dryer in the basement somewhere.

When my driver dropped me off at Dhobi ghat, the meter read 146 rupees. I gave him 150, and he gave me 50 back. He said that the 50 is not needed because he had gone the wrong way earlier. I am floored! He’s only not trying to cheat me, but instead is going the other way around!!! Nice people still exist, just in small quantities. I gave him the 50 anyway as a tip, and was happy to do so.

You can see here the matching color towels of some hotel. And that was that. I had to come see it, but it was not life changing or anything. I would say it’s a little underwhelming.

I decided to walk to my next destination, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. It’ll give me a chance to see more of the city on foot.

Now what…Oh, I see a little gap in the fence, I’ll just crawl through that. Can you imagine this happening in the US where the only way to keep on walking is to go through a gap in the fence?

Does it mean they are doing their best, so don’t complain? Does it mean they are doing their best, so they are the best? Does it mean they are doing their best, so they are getting there?

I kept on walking and it led me to an area that’s more closely resembles what the rest of India is like.

I’ve seen these water stations all over India. They usually say drinking water, but is it actually safe?

I haven’t had breakfast or lunch yet. I was hoping that I would walk by some restaurant, but there was nothing to eat around my walk.

Breakfast of champions.

No trashcan, so on the ground it goes. At least its biodegradable.

The only book I brought with me on this trip is Maximum City by Suketu Mehta. It is a book about Mumbai and in it these red gas cylinders are mentioned. I believe the state monopoly sets up a quota system for these, and not everyone can get them easily. The author of the book had to go through a loophole by getting a gas cylinder for commercial uses just to be able to get gas for his kitchen.

Barber shop stall.

I suck at holding the camera still today.

Coconuts and kid’s toys go perfectly together in the same shop.

I kept on walking and I couldn’t find my way to the museum. There was always a fence or building of some sort preventing me from getting to where I wanted to go. Then I saw this in the photo above, and it made sense to me. This is a train station, and where I want to go is on the other side of the railroad. I had no choice but to walk parallel to the railroad until there’s a crossing…somewhere.

At first, when I saw these from across the street, I thought they were small shop stalls.

These are slums right by the railroad and these are homes. Each stall has a lower section and a upper section that’s only reached by exterior stairs. The downstairs is maybe standing height if you are short, and upstairs it’s probably barely higher than sitting height. I think upstairs is for sleeping and downstairs for living area.

This man saw me taking photos, and he was really excited. He asked me to take a photo of him and this woman who was playing with their pet goat. Maybe it’s a pet until they get hungry one day.

What’s up, dawg?

This is how a city get separates the ghetto side of town and the wealthy side of town.

The boundary line.

Bike pedal powered sharpening wheel.

Wait, I was trying to be romantic and talk about the railroad being the natural boundary separating the haves and have nots. I forgot that it’s dirty and noisy on both sides of the railroad, so it’s not exactly Beverly Hills on this side either.

I’ve never seen so many onions before in my life. All small round red onions. All the fruits and vegetables in India are typically much smaller in size than what we are used to seeing in the US. Poor farming practices? Weather? Lack of genetic engineering? All the above?

On this short street, there must have been close to 20 of these shops that have bags onions.

I don’t think I”ll be eating chicken today. Flies swarming everywhere, no refrigeration in sight. Again, I suck at keeping the camera still today.

More flies.

It smells like decay.

I love the colors.

Back to decay.

Now, I am stuck against another barrier, the highway. Now I am walking parallel to the highway, hoping for a pass through.


Small and a little past their prime. This is very typical of a street side stand here in India. As much as people argue for keeping it local, and saving the mom and pop shops, the reality isn’t as heartwarming. Because mom and pop shops aren’t coordinated, and because they are not as efficient, a much higher percentage of food spoils before it reaches the consumers. India suffers from this problem acutely because they’ve been fighting tooth and nail against letting in supermarkets into the city centers. So instead, all this food just spoils due to the inefficiencies.

This one is only blurry because I had to take a quick photo. I laughed.

Barber row.

Wedding? Religious ceremony?

That’s where I want to go, the promised land.

Finally, a pass through! Will it be paradise on the other side?

To be continued at Mumbai Day 3 Part 2.

1 thought on “Mumbai Day 3 Part 1

  1. I like Mumbai the best so far – still intimidating, but you finally met someone who wasn’t trying to cheat you!
    I marvel at the skill of the masons who built the spectacular buildings. It kind of puts Green Square in perspective. We spent a couple of years with a vision of architectural simplicity and efficiency, but some of these Indian buildings probably took decades to construct and the craftsmen and artisans who planned and built them probably learned their trades from their fathers and grandfathers. Have you seen any mystics or heard any Indian musical performances?

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