To try to describe Mumbai is a difficult task , i would say it has to be seen to be believed .
A vibrant , busy city , full of people trying to make their lives in a big city , rich and poor side by side , people on every corner looking for something more . i found myself yet again in a strange city for the first time.
Met by another friendly face to take me to my hotel . amongst more questions , i was taken back by all the traffic and the smells of this amazing cosmopolitan .
The tour company had organised a few days trips for me to be able to experience all that is Mumbai .
I immediately felt a love for this city , not knowing what to look at first , but it was sinking in that i had arrived here to find all these things that i had seen in books .
The hotel was a small but comfortable place and it was just around the corner from the Gateway of India , it was here that i would use as my landmark. I could tell from the first 5 minutes that i was wanting to go and explore ..but I waited patiently for the walking tour to be able to get my bearings.
The walking tour was well worth it , we walked many kilometres that morning , and a very informative local guide was just a wealth of knowledge. we were also shown city sites by car , which was amazing .
Jain Temples , Hindu Temples , Islamic Mosques all in close vicinity to each other .
Hanging gardens , the home of Gandhi , Marine drive and of course the magnificent Taj Palace Hotel were all so memorable.
The Taj Palace Hotel
Such a melting pot of life with happy faces always wanting to be of help.
Mumbai also is known to be home to the Largest outdoor laundry , where the dhobi wallah (as they are known ) , it means laundry worker ,they hand wash thousands and thousands of garments everyday , and hang them to air dry.
it is one of the most organised things i have ever learned about .
My guide said that many of the hotels use this service as well as workers and families alike . it is very hard work , and should be seen to be believed.
There are many stories out there about this very old practice and the most
amazing thing is that it is said that nothing ever gets lost or misplaced as they all
have a specific system that they use to keep track of all the garments , ( i used this
service myself whilst i was there) and i was fascinated to see small bits of material
pinned to my clothing .
( this was the code for where it had come from and who owned it )
i was in awe of the workmanship , how hard this work was , manually
washing and cleaning clothes and linen and all being hung out above the wash bays .
The Outdoor Laundry .
Another whole day out onto the Harbour and across to Elephanta Island.…..where there are ancient carvings in caves and lots of monkeys looking for treats . These caves have also been listed as a historical site , and they see hundreds of tourists go there every day .
Markets and bazaars all over the place , and such a wonderful place for shopping , and haggling for a bargain (it was such fun )
i didn’t get to see all of this city as it is just to large to even get to see half of it in a few days , so this was another place i knew i would return to .
My tour guide had asked was there something else that i wanted to do……….???
well there was one last thing i wanted to do on this trip ………
to be able to find where my father had grown up ……..
all i could do was ask ???