Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another day in Mumbai

Note: I'm now back in the United States but I still have numerous posts to make including this one from Mumbai and then some from Meerut and Delhi. Additional posts will be coming as I get back to my normal routine here. Many of these posts are actual emails that I sent to family members.

I had yet another outstanding day in Bombay. I bought a day pass on the extensive rail system and traveled here and there, getting off when I wanted just to explore. Then I met up with Rohan in south Bombay and had some great street food. Then we hopped a double decker bus for a mile and got off before we got caught not having a ticket. Walked through the area where all the museums and art galleries are, saw some really nice art that I would have liked to have bought. Then we went and saw the Bombay Stock Exchange. Finally we took the train to another station and walked back into the slums (really not the right word). Got some really good photos today, met three families, each giving us chai and sodas. I joked about having too much to drink and maybe having a to go to the bathroom and they all laughed, knowing it would be an adventure of it's own here in the slums. We also went back and visited the two families I met a few days ago. In all my travels in the past seven and a half years these are by far the most hospitable people I have ever met.

Had dinner with Rajiv and the family. The boys are sad to see me leave. They've enjoyed all my stories from the navy, from sailing and everything else that we could talk about. It was nice to see them take a genuine interest in who I am and what I've experienced. I think they probably know more about me than most people ever will. It'll be sad to leave them behind but I hope they take me up on my offer to come out to where ever I am for a visit. I'm already thinking of my next trip in which I'll have to spend at least a month in Bombay.

I'm headed to the airport at 5:30 in the morning, now only a few hours away. I'm taking a flight to Delhi and then a taxi for three hours to Meerut. When I booked my ticket I bought a first class ticket. I was given the option for a vegetarian or non-veg meal, I chose vegetarian. Then I was given a choice of one meal or two. So I chose two. Why not? I just wanted to see if they will actually serve me two meals on a two hour flight. Of course I'll be embarassed if they do!

The line to eat here went around the corner so we had to try it out
Outstanding food, located just outside the Mumbai train station

Men redoing the cotton stuffing in mattresses and pillows

Not all streets in Mumbai are busy and crowded

My cousin Rohan, the best tour guide I've ever had.
(email me if you need a good guide in Mumbai and I'll put you in contact with him!!)

Chai and butter bread, yum!

Bread slicing machine

The following photos are from my second visit to the slums in Mumbia. I really hate that word too, it has such a negative feel  and these warm, friendly and giving people deserve much better that that.

One of many narrow paths

This neighborhood is next to a coal distribution plant thus the black
coal dust on the boy's face

bathing a child
The boys that followed me all afternoon

A makeshift gambling table similar to roulette, I lost 4 cents but got a good photo

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