On one of the days during my stay in India, some of my family and I rented a car that seated eight people and took a drive through the city of Mumbai. It was a completely spontaneous thing, literally having been planned the night before at around ten o’clock. Well, not even planned; the idea was simply thrown out onto the table for consideration.
It took about forty-five minutes to get to Mumbai from the house in Thane. I’ve never really minded moderately long drives in India, though. There’s always something new to see out the window, always something for me to try and capture on my camera roll before it slips past.
The first major thing I remember was driving through this ridiculously smelly fish market. The fact that it was rather cramped and we were trapped in a line of traffic for a good fifteen minutes did not help very much.
We finally escaped The Place Of Terrible Smells and drove through a few more (non-smelly) street markets. I’d say that I’ve never seen so many people cramped into one place before, but later that week I passed through a local train station (I’ll get to that part eventually).
Our first official stop was at the Gateway of India. There were a lot of pigeons (my sister got pooped on, poor kid). The view over the water was gorgeous, and right on the shores resided the famous Taj hotel in its full glory- it was practically begging me to take a photo in black and white.
Post-birds-and-hotel, we headed towards Marine Drive, where we could clearly see the skyline of the city. On the way we passed the Asiatic Library (which was huge and had about a billion steps in the front).
Marine Drive was this long stretch of land from where you could see all the way across the pale blue waters to the looming buildings on the other side.
After Marine Drive, we headed over to a local coffee shop to end our little tour with a good cappuccino. On the way there we passed through the Sea Link (which I saw to be essentially a funky-shaped bridge) and the Hanging Gardens (I sneezed a lot there because there were flowers). I met a dog and saw some more pigeons (the latter of which I avoided like the plague because I do not enjoy being pooped on by birds).
That was the first day I spent in Mumbai being a tourist. The second time was when my cousin took me to this place called Colaba, which is a neighborhood that is well known for having a really large street market. The roadside stores went on for maybe six blocks- I’m honestly not even sure, since after walking for some time I lost count of the number of streets we crossed. Everything there was being sold for amazing prices, and I managed to find great gifts for friends and family.
Unfortunately, I don’t have very many more photos of the street shopping experience because I was so absorbed in buying and watching my cousin bargain for even lower prices that I completely forgot about taking photos. Oops. At least we know I enjoyed the experience.
And now we have come full circle, because as I mentioned earlier, I got to experience the crowdedness of a local station firsthand. To get back to Thane, my cousin and I took a taxi from the market to the train station, hopped on a train, and then finally took an auto-rickshaw from the Thane train station back home.
Overall, my Mumbai experiences were all very positive, and it was great to see so many new places in just a couple trips into the city. It was quite nice to spend those few days being a tourist and exploring, and I look forward to the next adventure like this one.