A Travellerspoint blog

India

Life in Mumbai

rich & poor together

Mumbai is a metropolitan city. I was captured by the culture in India with it's places where the poor and rich co-exist next to each other even down a random street. Flying into Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport is truely a sight to behold. The large area of slums populated the whole vicinity surrounding the airport. Dharavi, that is where the recently made famous movie Slumdog Millionaire was filmed.

We had a fun time taking the ride from Airport to our budget hotel. We opted to take a ride on their "Auto" which is a motored 3 wheel taxi that is available at a cheaper rate from the airport compared to the regular car taxis. The weather was hot and humid during this time of the year and we had a tough time locating our hotel as there are too many budget hotels around in East Bandra.

Our first stop after checking into the hotel was the Bandra Train Station. Many poor people make their homes around the train station and their livelihood of collecting rubbish seems to be a norm to the locals as people walk pass them daily to take the train. We lined up for a first class ticket but yet the sign written on the ticketing counter mentioned no queue for first class ticket purchase. We took the first class train to Victoria Terminus (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) just to check out the difference betweena first class ticket and a second class ticket. We were shocked to find that there's actually no difference between them except you get to be separated from the second class travellers. Everything else is the same but you are paying 600% more or the second class ticket price.

We took a walk from Victoria Terminus to the Mumbai Museum which was very far but we enjoyed the walk surrounded by British Colonial Buildings. The Museum captivated us with rich history on display. We paid a deposit for the audio guide and it made our trip in the museum more meaningful. In the evening and night, we went around the Gate of India for a spectacular seaview of the city and walked passed the Taj Mahal Hotel to Colaba streets for shopping and Leopold for food. As we walked down the road, many street peddlers asked if we were Japanese because not many Asians come by to India. Bargains were good at Colaba area, you can easily shop for a wallet for USD5 or costume jewellery between USD3-15. Shawls selling for USD3-5. Bargain at least for half the price if you dare. Not to worry, you can just walk away if the price is not good. Even though they might say no but when you start to walk away, they'll pull you back and sell it to you at your desired price if they manage to make a profit at your price. So don't be tricked easily to back down.

The next best place to visit is the Haji Ali Mosque. I remembered we were on a taxi and i saw this narrow stretch of land extension around 500meters from the coast, many people were walking towards the mosque in the hot sun. We went to visit the mosque the next morning which is cooler compared to mid day, along the walk there we were greeted with waves of water splashing on the walkway and beggars begging for money. Nothing much to see in the mosque but I do adore the walk and the scenary.

Food is easily found in Mumbai. if you are concious about hygiene, you may want to opt to eat at restaurants in a hotel. But if you plan to be more adventurous, you can try at restaurants alond the streets as you go on your adventure. Must try the Pani Puri, Bhelpuri, Briyani with long grain Basmathi rice at Elco Restaurant. Do try drinking "Chai" their usually milk tea and thumbs-up (India version of Coca Cola), mango juice at Leopold.

You can try taking a train from Victoria Terminus to Goa if you have a few days to spare.

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Auto Ride. You'll pay according to the meter.

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The usual sight along railway stations

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Children playing along the water supplies

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Colonial Buildings

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The busy train station

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Taj Mahal Hotel

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Gate of India

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Haji Ali Mosque

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Elco's Puri

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Briyani

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Mango juice at Leopold Cafe

Posted by jokermiss 00:48 Archived in India Tagged people culture mumbai dharavi Comments (0)

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