We are sitting at The Mark Cafe, a 2 minute walk from the River Ganges, and it’s Valentine’s day. Dave and I have a habit of spending the most romantic day of the year in foreign countries, and although this Valentines day has probably been the furthest thing from Romance that we’ve seen, it’s been interesting in its own right. I’ll be writing about Varanasi, or Banares, next time though. For now, I’ll be writing about the mayhem that is Mumbai.
Mumbai, formerly called Bombay (during the Brittish rule of India), is a port city on India’s west coast. It’s the home of Bollywood, the world’s largest open-air street food market and is also India’s most populous city. There isn’t a whole lot to do in Mumbai, so we didn’t stay very long, but a day and a half was ample time to see the sights that deserve to be seen.
What makes Mumbai so remarkable, as far as I’m concerned anyway, is its architecture. Because the city has been under both Portuguese and British rule in addition to its Hindu and Muslim history, there are so many interesting buildings to see!
One of the difficulties of being in Bombay though, is the security…
There’s some ugly history here. Some fundamentalist Hindu groups have caused problems for the Muslim population (killing over 1000 Muslims in 1992 and 1993 during riots) and in return, Muslim fundamentalist groups have bombed popular tourist sights and other places of interest in Mumbai. There has been peace in the city now since 2011, but as precaution, there are metal detectors going into every shopping mall and every tourist sight. Even going to Starbucks, means having your bag searched, being patted down and walking through a metal detector. Scary stuff…
But not all of Mumbai was scary…like every city in India, they have an abundance of farm animals running through the streets….Also, the taxis here all have funny designs on their ceilings. They’re quite nice actually, as far as taxis go. And everyone uses their meters so HAZZAA!!! No arguing required!!
My next post will be about the most insane city I have ever visited…stay tuned for my post on Varanasi – Home of the River Ganges.