I LOVE Mumbai!

Yes, I LOVE Mumbai! What a beautiful city. It is surrounded by water. On one side is the Arabian Sea with a long boardwalk where folks walk in the mornings and evenings.

But, of course, one cannot speak of Mumbai without talking about the slums. There are 22 million people and real estate is at a premium. The people in the slums don’t want to leave as this is where the jobs are.

Thanks to John and Tawny Farmer who were here 5 years ago, we visited Akanksha, an after school program for the children in the slums. Speaking English is the key to success. The children join the program at age 5 and attend each day after normal school from 3-6 pm. Hard to imagine they are from the slums, sleep on the floor, live in crowded dirty surroundings with only a public toilet and bucket showers. They are clean, well groomed, bright eyed and attentive.

Tony and I hopped over to the Taj for a quick lunch and gorgeous views of the Mumbai Harbor and the Gateway of India.

On the long walk home (because we got lost), we resisted the sidewalk vendors with fruit 🙂

The next day, we took a boat into the Mumbai Harbor to Elephanta Island where the 7th Century Cave Temples dedicated to Shiva are located. Gorgeous views of the harbor and the Taj Hotel.

Of course, on the boat, there were wonderful jewels to be consumed. We all HAD to buy something!

How did they carve the Cave Temple from one large rock. It is huge and intricate. I love the Hindu religion…so personal, so simple. We have the divine within us and we get closer to it  by meditation, yoga, good thoughts, good words and good deeds. They also value education and our minds. Makes so much sense to me. Do we really need all those priests and ministers to interpret for us?

The only time so far that I have wished to cover my nose due to the scent was walking along the wharf. Look at these women carrying baskets on their heads. We see many women carrying heavy sacks and baskets on their heads, but very few men…

Lunch at the Leopold Cafe. I believe this was also a terrorist target in the 2008 attacks on Mumbai.

Good thing they did not get all of the beer “towers!” How cool are these? They have ice going down the center in a cylinder. We do love our Kingfisher! Many of us wished we had room in our suitcases for one of these. How much would our children love us!

Off to the market where we found gorgeous vegetables, fruits and live animals and many men sleeping as they had arrived so early in the morning. I will never complain about an uncomfortable bed again.

 

Then to the Public Laundry, the Dhobi Ghat. The people who do the laundry also live there. Our guide said the clothes are amazingly clean and ironed. Wow!

And how could you resist buying a purse from this little girl?

5.5 Million people pass through this Train Station every morning and evening commuting to work. There is an amazing system of lunch box delivery to over 300,000 people a day. The couriers pick up the lunch box from the workers home around 10 am, deliver to the office before noon, pick up the lunch box after lunch and redeliver to the home in the afternoon. This is an incredible system based completely on time management and a numerical system that identifies the home location and the office location. The couriers wait for no one as the whole system is based on time. 

I found myself saying as I left Mumbai, “I want to return, I want to feel more of this vibrant city. Two days was not long enough. I said I could see Stoney and Laura living here for a while. Careful for what you wish for. We are now in Udaipur, a gorgeous drier, more mountainous area with much less population. More on that later. And YES, the shopping is quite fun.

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