Photo above: Gateway of India in Mumbai at night.
A trip that was planned last minute, literally on Friday before we would leave Saturday morning the four of us, along with Connor by our side, made a 3 day trip to Mumbai.
At the butt-crack of dawn, with only about 3 hours of sleep, we all arose at 5am in order to make our train at 7:45. This may have been a bit of a precaution considering that we arrived at the train station with an hour to spare. When the train finally arrived, we were more than happy to enjoy our double decker train that brought through many tempting cups of tea and coffee, and the most memorable “tomattooooo soupppp”. Katherine and Brittney were more than happy to enjoy the cutest little kid ever whom at first was terrified of the foreign white people, but by the end was continuously playing and peeking at them through the seats. After 5 long hours of train riding we all had arrived at the Central Mumbai Station. Full of confusion and squinty eyes we made it outside the heavenly gates to be greeted and bombarded with taxi drivers all trying to drive us to our hotel. After some arguing and bargaining, we all 5 climbed into one taxi.
Once we arrived at the hotel, it was time to explore the city. We walked for about 30 minutes
in search of the famous Café Leopold, this café had been one of the spots under attack during the 2008 terrorist attack. As soon as we walked in, we knew it had to be good. The restaurant’s dishes covered anything from a hamburger, Singapore noodles, to Eugene and Connor’s personal favorite Tandoori Chicken. After our bellies were full and happy we headed over to Starbucks, like the Seattleites we are, and grabbed some warm coffee. At last we made our way to the Gateway of India which was created for King George V and Queen Mary’s arrival. It was here that Brittney was able to get mehndi done by the cutest little girl, whom also gave advice to Laurie to watch her bag. We all ended the night by meeting with Megha’s friend Anagha whom showed us around and took us to an amazing bar that not only served beer, but also served delicious chicken (much different from our home in Vadodora which is both dry and vegetarian) and later showed us the Queens Necklace in the pouring monsoon rains!
Sunday morning we all woke up and met Anagha again, who would spend the day showing us around the city. The day was filled with lots of shopping and bargaining at the flea market, FabIndia, and an art museum. Katherine, Brittney, and Laurie found all kinds of goodies and blew most of the cash in their wallets while Eugene and Connor got majestically matching Indian shirts. Laurie whipped out her inner Asian (basically channeling her mom) and bargained with the vendors like it was nobody’s business. Brittney and Katherine lacked a little on their bargaining skills and stuck close to Anegha for bargaining guidance. FabIndia still haunts all of the girls’ dreams, as they are constantly thinking about going to a nearby FabIndia that will live up to the amazing store in Mumbai. After a full packed day and Anagha’s fabulous guidance we were able to catch a public train to her area of the city and visit her home. It was here that for the first time we had our first Indian street food.
We tried vegetable sandwiches, buns filled with fried potatoes, and panipuri. During this time, Eugene and Connor found it necessary to get a head massage by a street barber. This consisted of a bit of head banging which seemed utterly terrifying, followed by some light head massaging, a neck crack, and a little back massage. The boys finished their adventure feeling somewhat satisfied, but mostly terrified.
With a restful night of sleep we all arose on Monday morning sad to leave. Mumbai is large and great and every single one of us would love to go back soon. Until next time Mumbai, Aavjo!
The GROW Team