Monday, 29 September 2014
24 Hours in Mumbai
If you follow me on instagram or twitter you will have seen that I just got back from a week in India. I travelled for work (I realise how lucky I am to be able to say that!) and spent a few days in Bangalore working, then two of my colleagues and I decided to go to Mumbai for the weekend. Afdter all you aren't on the other side of the world very often.
Spending less than two days in a city is not necessarily something I'd recommend, but I couldn't have come home and said I'd only seen the inside of my hotel room and an office building after flying all that way.
We arrived in Mumbai on Friday night and decided to get a taste of local flavour by visiting a market near our hotel. Well being total westerners we pretty soon realised that was a terrible idea! We had no idea quite now bad the relentless pressure of the sellers and beggars would be and if we hadn't dived into a nearby shop would probably have come back all owning multiple drums, a range of local handicrafts and having adopted several children! As someone who just isn't used to that it was quite a tough experience. In the evening we went to an amazing restaurant called Indigo, just round the back of the Taj hotel, but we were so exhausted from the market, and the week's work we barely spoke and probably didn't appreciate the food as much as we should have.
After a good night's sleep though we were in much better shape the next day. Banglore was hot, but dry, whereas Mumbai was just coming out of the monsoon season, and being by the sea it was hot and muggy all day, and it just sapped your energy. We had a blissfully air conditioned car take us on a tour of as many of the sights we could see in half a day. We made it to the Gate of India (where we got cornered by priests attempting to give us good luck in exchange for money... By this point I was sensing a theme somewhat!), the Dhobi Ghat - an amazing open air laundry, the Haji Ali mosque - which is a fantastic white building on a peninsula in the bay, and Ghandi's house, now a museum. We had lunch at Leopolds - a very western style bar-restaurant which made amazing milkshakes, and is famous for still having the bullet holes in the wall from the terror attacks in 2008.
In the evening we went to Aer bar, at the top of the Four Seasons hotel, which was just stunning. Amazing for people watching, and looking down at the lights of the city you could have been in any country in the world. I really loved my experience of India. It's certainly a culture shock - I have never been anywhere quite like it, and from the moment you touch down in Mumbai airport surrounded by the slums you are acutely aware of the terrible poverty which exists there. However everyone I spoke to was so welcoming, and so proud of their country and keen for us to see how amazing it was. It was a really great trip and i would love to visit again and see a bit more of the country.