Mumbai–Mar 11, 2013

Day two and we have another list. This list is shorter because they are farther from the ship. And of course it is Monday so the famous Mumbai traffic is back in play.

Our first goal is the tiffin-wallahs at Churchgate Rail station. This is a weekday event at 1130 where food deliveries arrive en-masse and get sent out for delivery to offices. To ensure that we get there in time we start at The Tea Room. This is a wonderful oasis in the sea of live outside. We order tea (you get to choose from first or second pour!) and scones. Raj ordered a typical breakfast dish called Pawa. It consists of rice, potato and some flakes that add a wonderful flavour. Yummy all round and we are now fortified forIMGP8444

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a short walk to the rail station. On the way we of course buy some Pawa flakes. While waiting for the tiffin-wallahs to arrive we spot some HAL tour busses. They hover for a while and then drive off. Later we heard that there was a bit of a staged event inside the rail station with one batch of lunches after which the tour moved on. The real event is considerably more impressive. The food is picked up from restaurants and homes. Each container is identified by colour and numbers to uniquely identify approx. 200,000 daily deliveries. The error rate is something like 1 in 2 Million.  Now how’s that for organization by people who generally can’t read.  It is extremely impressive. 

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IMGP8479Our second goal is the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, the oldest and largest in the city. Getting there however was a test of driving and detour skill for Raj and patience for us. When we arrive there is already a crowd on the bridge across the tracks. A bit of pushing gets us to the railing where you get the best overall views. While larger, we think the smaller ones give a better feel of what the dhobi ghat’s are really like.  The men traditionally do the washing of clothes and put them on the line; it is the woman’s or mans job to iron and then the men fold.  It is predominately a man’s job at the Dhobi Ghats 

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IMGP8564IMGP8538Seeing the (lack of) traffic movement to our other sites (Haj Ali Mosque and Mahalaxmi Temple) we decide to go elsewhere. Guess what, we end up at Dia Smile This year it is Pat’s turn so Gerrit doesn’t even venture upstairs to the men’s section!IMGP8597

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After some successful shopping we slowly head to lunch at National again. And once again it is incredibly tasty. We end up back at the dock so that we can refresh.IMGP8617

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At 1800 we meet up with Raj again for a early evening visit to Chowpatty Beach and also a view of the Queens Necklace. While the traffic hasn’t abated, the change at Chowpatty beach is dramatic. It is now busy! Vendors of all types selling snacks, rides on noisy ‘cars’, soap bubbles etc. Kids are everywhere as are couples and whole families.

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We then drove to the southern end of Marine Dr. where there were already crowds waiting of the last daylight to fade away. An incredible view. But we are not done yet!

IMGP8729On the way back to the ship we drop by, yes you guessed it, National again. Pat ordered mixed veg takeout with na’an. Raj drops us off at the Green Gate where we say sad goodbyes. We do know however that next time we are in Mumbai we are headed to his house for dinner and an intro to life in India.

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When you visit Mumbai, by ship or land, please consider contacting Raj for your tour guide needs. He is a wonderful person, speaks good English and knows the city extremely well. He can take you to touristy places to eat, or to authentic places. It is your choice. rajtravel786 at gmail dot com.

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