A Travellerspoint blog

Mumbai - part 2

Contrast

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It's not original to say that Mumbai is a city of great contrasts but it is definitely the first thing you notice.

Brand new skyscrapers nestle next to crumbling colonial mansions and slum areas are just metres away, women in saris walk next to girls in jeans and t-shirts, fishermen carry their huge catch in baskets on their heads while computer programmers walk by while emailing from their blackberries. I think this is what makes Mumbai such an interesting city as you never know what's around the next corner. I know it's also where many of its problems lie as the gap between the rich and the penniless is huge and blatant to see. But it also feels like a city of opportunity and change and this makes it an energising place to be as anything really can happen.

Posted by carlala 23:57 Comments (0)

Mumbai - part 1

Commuter City

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I think I'm a city girl...in fact I know I am. My fate was sealed the second I chose South East London over sleepy Sussex for university and every attempt to move away I've always gone back. Ok - enough of my biography - the point is I had a fantastic time in Mumbai and really felt at home there!

I was based in Colaba, which is the old part of town and only part of the story of Mumbai, but there was plenty to see and really gave a feel for the commercial capital of India. I hit town at rush hour and it was surreal to see the daily commute so far away from home. Hundreds of men and women with their briefcases and laptops in hand, heading to the Chhatripati Shivaji Terminus (previously Victoria Terminus or VT) to catch the ram packed trains home to surburbia. These trains are the arteries of Mumbai and ferry thousands of commuters a day in the separate male and female carriages. VT station, a Unesco heritage site, has a chequered history from its beginnings as a monument to Queen Victoria's golden jubilee to its starring role in 'Slumdog Millionaire', with a name change and major terrorist attact along the way. It's the busiest station in India and it's design was based on St. Pancreas - probably why it felt so familiar.

At this time of evening, with the sun just starting to think about going down and everyone fleeing from work, the city felt vibrant, alive and full of potential. I knew I was going to like it!

Posted by carlala 06:35 Comments (0)

Chapatis

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I'm in a bit of a rush today as I'm off to Mumbai tomorrow so just a quick post and that will be my last until I get back next week with tales of my adventures!

A I think i've already mentioned our lovely cook has gone to pastures new. I miss her a lot for lots of different reasons including her lighter than light chapatis. She tried to teach me how to make them - very simple ingredients of chapati flour, hot water and salt to taste - but however hard I tried I could never get them just like hers. I think the secret is in the arm. Ulmakoolsa could roll the dough out into perfect circles in 30 seconds flat when it would take me 5 minutes and a lot of effort. I think there Is a lot of strength in that little lady.

Posted by carlala 22:51 Comments (0)

Somewhere To Lay My Head

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We went up to TK Colony again last week, which is forest on the outskirts of the national park Silent Valley. We had three forest officers take us in who were extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subject. We always learn so much from them and this time was no exception, as they took us to a temporary rest stop and fishing hole of the tribal people.

Tucked away underneath a huge boulder, like something from Tolkein, was a bed made from leaves, make shift washing lines with spare sets of clothes, and ground rock for sharpening knives. The most impressive 'technology' was the bamboo pipe leading from the rock to funnel incredibly fresh spring water to the camp. Again we felt so privileged to have a glimpse on this almost totally self enclosed world.

Posted by carlala 04:43 Comments (0)

Bouldering

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Ok - so not actual bouldering as you could walk up most of this huge rock and where you couldn't there was a chain to hold on to, but probably the nearest I'm going to get!

We haven't been able to find out the name of this rock but it's on the edges of the Western Ghats and from the top you have the most fantastic view of them and the surrounding area. We huffed and puffed to the top (I have to admit that apart from yoga there has been minimal exercise lately!) and felt very proud to reach the top, only to find on the way down a whole family, barefoot and babe in arms, effortlessly stolling up!

Posted by carlala 20:43 Comments (0)

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