After a very late (early?) arrival in Mumbai, we all took a short nap, and then started our first full day in Mumbai! While sleeping until noon or later is exactly what we all wanted to do upon arrival, trying to adapt to the local time zone as soon as possible helps with the jetlag – even if a 2 hour nap is painful to wake up from. We met up for breakfast, with all the coffee, and then started our day!
Our driver, Karim, skillfully navigated through the Mumbai traffic as we did a quick tour of the highlights of the city, including stops at:
- Dhobi Ghat (the laundry facility of the city)
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Train Station (formerly known as Victoria Station)
- The Gateway to India
- The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
- And we even ran into Katrina’s old friend, Ravi the Jeweler!
- Lunch at a street food cafe to try local flavors
- Haji Ali
- Shree Ghanteshwar Hanuman Mandir
- A bell temple dedicated to Hanuman (the monkey god)
Though we didn’t have much time to visit each location, both Noreen and Dana were fascinated by the glimpse of the India that is hard to put into words. Dana commented “You can see pictures online, and hear the stories, but until you see it yourself it’s hard to comprehend the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty. Or the people everywhere, or the traffic flow. You really do have to experience it to even begin to understand.” Noreen agreed and appreciated the driving tour as it allowed us to be immersed, but also see as much as possible.
Noreen’s highlights of the day included a surprise visit to the Continental Jewelers of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel to say hello to an old friend of Katrina’s, and the visit to the Hanuman temple. While we weren’t technically allowed to take photos, the peaceful energy of the temple in the midst of the bustle of the city spoke to her. Dana loved the color and the texture of the Dhobi Ghat. She could have spent all day watching the men wash the laundry and watching the people as we drove through the city.
For lunch we stopped at a street food cafe which was recommended by Ravi’s daughter, Rhea. It was Dana’s first experience with Indian food. And while she did not like a few of the items, she was surprised by how much she liked some of the things, including Dosa, pani puri, and even the local pizza had an Indian twist! Noreen had not had the Mumbai street food, and so she added another region to her love of Indian foods and flavors. She’s looking forward to trying the food in each place we go to see the regional differences.
Overall, everyone is loving India and Mumbai, and cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings! Photos will be uploaded to the Facebook page at the end of day two, so be sure to check it out here to follow along! You can also follow Urban Utopia Photography to see India through Dana’s eyes!