Friday, 27 March 2009


Before we reached Mumbai (formerly Bombay), we had it in our minds that it was going to be a city full of modern looking skyscrapers butchering the beautiful Indian landscape that once existed there. How wrong were we??? In fact we were very impressed with the leafy avenues that lined the hustle and bustle of street beggars and traffic, particularly taxis. It seemed that everywhere we went there would always be somebody trying to sell us a taxi ride or a tour of the city in their "air conditioned" taxi: by "air conditioned" this generally meant that the taxi had windows that opened to let a breeze in. We walked.
A friend of ours, Fran Sandham, joined us on our Mumbai adventure and we walked for miles. We found ourselves walking among all kinds of people from rich businessmen to poor vagrants, as well as market traders trying constantly to impress us with their handicrafts, clothes, trinkets and... well... you name it.
As a taster of Indian creative skill, we saw a poor looking man sitting on a bike that had its back wheel raised off the ground, pedalling like mad as a way of sharpening knives. He had created a kind of pulley system between the back wheel and a circular piece of metal, which he had placed on his handlebars. When the metal rotated as a result of his pedal-power he pushed the blade of one of his many knives into the spinning metal. Sparks were flying everywhere, and it was great to see the satisfaction written on his face as he held each knife high for closer inspection.
We also got a feel for the national sport, cricket. We walked through a ginormous maidan where there were an uncountable number of cricket matches taking place. It was great to leave the streets where the poor seemed to scrape by and to see people having fun and time for themselves. We stopped and watched for a few minutes but then decided to continue exploring the city. We were later following a main road called Marine Drive, which curves around the bay and we saw a few people playing cricket in the street. We got invited to play and we couldn't say no. So Jon started off by bowling, followed by Fran, and then Simon tried his hand at batting. I think they were impressed, but we decided to leave it to the professionals.
We found the Gateway to India, a famous landmark on the coast of Mumbai, and we were being asked to have our photos taken with other Indian tourists. We stumbled across a famous nearby restaurant called Leopold's and stopped for a naan bread and a lassi (a fruity smoothie-like drink made from milk, yoghurt and mango). We found out that this restaurant had an attack of terrorism in November, 2008 and this was evident from the bullet holes in the wall.
After a late lunch we wandered to the CST station, which was used as part of the film set in the newly released film, Slumdog Millionaire. The architecture of the station and many of the important buildings around Mumbai were fairly gothic. There were even stone gargoyles stretching out from a small tower on the roof of the station.
As we continued walking into the evening, we saw traders packing up their stalls and some people sleeping in the streets, but the roads remained busy and loud.


  1. Beautifully written and described. Can't wait for the next installment.

  2. Mumbai….. So they haven’t ruined it !.... I just new it wouldn’t be long b4 u got yr 1st Lassy… lol ud think they’d have cemented the bullet holes.