Monday, November 21, 2011

{ Mumbai or Bombay...whatever you call it! }

Chowpatty beach at sunset.

The gateway to India.

Marine Drive and the "Queen's necklace."
Ancient, yet Modern.
Rich, yet achingly poor. 

During the 19th century, it acted as the center for the British East India Company and you can see the heavy British influence all over the city! A few times, I had to remind myself that I was not in London - so similar in so many ways!
Mumbai is the most populous state in India with approximately 20.5 million people.
Mumbai is also the richest city in India...and it shows. 
Mumbai generates over 6% of India's GDP.
This is where India's Congress party, or Indian National Congress was born in the 20th century and much of the Indian Independence Movement was generated here. 
The english name was officially changed to Mumbai in November 1995. 
In 1869, when the Suez canal was opened, Mumbai become one of the largest seaports on the Arabian Sea. 

Mumbai was incredible - I would recommend it to anyone, even if only for a day.
Our dear friend, Ameen, highly recommended we spend at least a day there and...
"You can't go to India without seeing Mumbai!" Katie and I exclaim.
So, we made a quick stop on our way to Goa.
It was so worth it!
Unfortunately when we chose to go, they were having their hottest November in years and the sun was pounding into our skin...but it was still magnificent.

And I swear we saw a couple of Bollywood stars! ;)

The Mumbai airport is so new and so modern! "The City of Dreams awaits you..." a sign read.

Bridge into Mumbai.

Our first stop, the Gateway to India. It was a mess...we got out of the car only to find ourselves swarmed with balloon sellers - gallons of all colors, shapes, and sizes! And you would think that after 3 months, we know better, but we don't...we try to look at one balloon and bam...they're all selling to us! Swapping our money and packages of balloons left and right. Unfortunatley, I lost Rs. 500 ($10) and ended up with one small package of balloons and then there was too much confusion to try to fix the I gave up. It was awful. 

The Taj Palace Hotel.

I love living in the Jungle! The trees in Mumbai were extra striking!
A much greener city - I loved the massive lots of bikes we would see all over town!

We ate at a fancy little restaurant called yummy! But, my small bagel with cream cheese cost me $8...I wouldn't recommend it. 
But it was so nice and modern inside - refreshing!
A huge line of motorbikes on the street - it looks artsy! 
Look how adorable that little girl is! 
Headed down the famous Marine Drive on the coast!

We had to stop at get some ice cream at a place called "Natural" - because it was SO dang hot and humid!
Doesn't this look like Big Ben? This is the Rajabai Clock tower (modeled after Big Ben) in Venetian and Gothic style!

This is the Victoria Terminus Train Station, it's a world heritage site. Beautiful! This picture reminds me of London!!

We went to the well-known Crawford Market in Mumbai...we weren't sure what to expect! It was crazy! They had everything in there...but not that I wanted it...

Fruits and Veggies.

Candy and every different bottle of shampoo and other hygiene products...

I love this photo! This is India..but not my general impression of Mumbai.

Lots of pineapples!

And they had a spice market, meat market...and even a pet market! With the cutest dogs! Unfortunately, it's not at all very humane...

Too cute!
Look at all the birds!
Lots of labs!

And we even saw this poor ram...
There was a thick, musky smell that surrounded the market. We were anxious to get out. It was almost kind of eerie...even though we didn't feel threatened in any way. That's Crawford market for you!

Next stop, the world heritage site we were all looking forward to, even in the hot sun, the hanging gardens!

Not much to look at.
That's all that needs to be said.
Too simple.

These little girls wanted their photo with me. Apparently I look like Ms. India?

The Hanging Gardens...pretty enough, I suppose! But sorely disappointing...

Hugging a trimmed giraffe!
Hati! (Elephant!)
Then we walked across the street to Nehru look out over Marine drive...gorgeous! I love the Mumbai skyline!

And we found this gem...

A statue for the Old Woman who lived in a shoe :) Thanks for helping me to stand up there, sweet little Indian boy!

Then, we headed to Ghandi-ji's Mumbai home...Mandi Bhavan. Incredible! It told his story and told more of the cause that he fought for. I have an even deeper respect for this man. My favorite: 

"A man is but the product of his thoughts - what he thinks, he becomes." Mahatma Ghandi

He knows what he is talking about! One of the most humble men I believe to have walked the planet. 

His home.

Famous letters to Hitler and President Roosevelt.
In reverence for Ghandi.
Marine drive. 
The famous city beach...chowpatty beach at sunset!
I love all the colorful balloons and other silly toys! 

I bought this orange balloon with someone special in mind!
Look at that super adorable little boy!
Picnics on the beach.
Mumbai traffic is awful.
Although we had planned to go to the top of the hill to see the Queen's necklace, it was too late...but this is the closest we got :) It was actually quite cool! It's called this because it looks like a string of pearls at night in a c-shape.

Mumbai, I love you. I have a feeling we'll chance to meet again :)

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