We were woken at 0500, noisy traffic, then at 0600, noisy traffic. We fell in and out of sleep until 0900 and then was finally woken by Mr Mulani ringing us from reception. I was still a bit dusty from the night before. I don’t recall arranging this but he had come to pick us up and take us on a walking tour. He had to wait 10 minutes while we got ready and then we were off. No breakfast no coffee just a bottle of water. Walked the back streets and he explained to us that tour guide drivers go all the way around to see this place, when you can walk 10 minutes up the hill. He was quite a fit old guy so I complimented him, he said he does this walk every day and then does gym. Then he said feel me, I looked at him a little weird and then he flexed his bicep, he had some good guns and so I told Summer, she had a feel and was equally impressed, he is 70.
Started the accent and I was leaking fluid quite badly as we walked up the hill, to the point I thought I was going to spew. I couldn’t show my new Indian friend I was soft so kept going. He gave us a good tour of the hanging garden and the temples along the way. Reached the top and there was some properties, he said ‘this is the most expensive real estate in Mumbai up here‘ and I believe him the views of the city and bay are amazing. We then walked over to the other side of a road and we had views over the ocean. He showed us a site that had crows and vultures flying around. The Tower of silence, this is where the dead people that do not want to be buried or cremated go. It is not a temple for the public, but a morgue of sorts for family members to leave the body at the foot of a long staircase. The people who work at the tower will collect the body and place it on the top for nature to take care of it. The tower staff are not allowed to leave and live at the top of the mountain. Pretty freaky stuff. We then split from my friend so he could head to the gym. We walked back and then went straight for some lunch.
Right on 1200 had an iced coffee, sprite, water and then an egg roll. I felt heaps better and then we returned to the room for the girls to do some school work during the middle of the day heat. At around 1700 we ventured out via taxi to the Gateway of India. It was really nice and we learnt a bit about the history of the British rule in the 1900’s. It was also very funny here as the girls became celebrities for half an hour. The local families wanted a photo with Summer, Autumn and Spring. It was crazy how many photos with Indian families the girls posed in. I started taking photos of the girls having there photo taken. Very funny.
We also visited the Taj Palace Hotel for a look around. Very opulent 5 star plus, and the biggest gathering of westerners we have seen for a while. A lot of history in there and again the influence of the British rule is still present. Walked out and around the area found an awesome street stall to get dinner at and then walked along the Colaba causeway markets. Could get a really good bargain here and we will more than likely return to this area during our stay. Caught a taxi back to our hotel 2100 ready for some IPL to drown out the street noise.
This morning we walked around the local area looking for something to eat. Couldn’t really find a place that took our fancy so just went into an American style diner place. It was OK and then we decided to see what was around our local alley ways. Stumbled across the Radha Gopinath Temple, it is the home base for the Hare Krishna faith. Was a very nice building and spent at least an hour just looking around sitting down in the cool just watching the people pray. We then visited the old building across from the hotel and realised it is actually a Theatre. Returned to the room and the girls got a solid 2 hour’s worth of school work.
We then ventured out for some lunch, then taxi onto the Mahalaxma Dhobi Ghat. This is the place where all of the dirty laundry in Mumbai seems to go and gets hand washed by rows of men in their little concrete tubs. Pretty amazing as we walked down from the bridge over pass. When we got to the entrance a young guy tried to haggle us $200IR entrance fee. It wasn’t that it was a lot of money $4Aust, but it was his approach that got up our nose so we said no. He started to get a little fiery and he said he would get his boss and I said no problem. Then his boss just lets us in on one condition, no photos! This was our first run in with local gangs and they followed us in and then out.
We could see that it is a rough existence in there and some of the workers are just teenage boys and they eat, sleep, and wash all within the laundry complex. One of them said they start at 0500 everyday and try to get all the laundry hung up by 1030-1100 to dry. One young guy recommended we go around the back of the old boiler were they heat up all the water (it’s nice around there he said). That old chest nut, I thought straight away it was a plan to get more than $200 from us, so we just got out of dodge. Went back up to the overpass took a couple of photos from there.
We then got another cab to the Haji Ali Mosque. You can only get out to the Mosque at low tide so it was packed full of Muslim people walking out paying their respects to the entombed body of a rich Muslim. Mind you the walk out is on a low dodgy concrete bridge/break wall lucky to be 5 metres wide and about 700 metres long. Took about 10-15 minutes to walk out, quite a surprise as they allowed westerners access to see the tomb and even lent the girls scarf to put on their heads. We then witnessed some old school parenting out here with kids being smacked quite hard and then a woman being dragged by her hair back inside to pay her respects again. It was a very eye opening for the kids as we got our thongs back on and left.
Returned to Colaba causeway via taxi for a few drinks at Leopold Café, apparently if you hang out here you may get asked to be Bollywood extra. It didn’t happen for us. We left and did some shopping at the markets, had a feed and then got haggled by some taxi come tour operators to go to Bollywood for a tour. They pushed hard and we listened to what they had to say but declined there kind offer to take us in their taxi to their office where we would pay them $50US each in cash that night to guarantee a spot tomorrow at Bollywood. We just shook our heads and walked away to return to our ridiculously noisy hotel for bed approx. 2100.