Wednesday, December 26, 2012

big city livin' at its finest in mumbai

We somehow finished our first semester at the beginning of December—it was a mad dash to the finish—and then, like most all Woodstockers—promptly ditched the chilly mountain climes for warmer digs.

We kicked things off in Mumbai, the world’s fourth-largest city that has been rated the world’s least-livable city. (Seriously, here’s the link.) 

Most of the time we got around by riding the Mumbai Commuter Railway. It’s a far leap from Delhi’s easy, clean, efficient metro system. Instead, it reflects the city in general—insanely crowded, dirty, chaotic, pushy. 

Stuffed to the gills, indeed.
But it’s only 14 rupees a ride and an interesting way to tour the city’s many neighborhoods.

And there was an elephant at our home station, Sanpada.  

Elephant at a train station? Heck yes! This is India, bitches.

Speaking of transportation, one thing Mel and I love about India is auto rickshaws. As Mel said, “They’re cheap and you don’t have to mess around with doors.”

For whatever reason, every Indian city has a different rickshaw style. Delhi has green and yellow rickshaws. 

And yes, they usually have about this many people riding...
Mumbai’s are black and yellow. 

Jodhpur’s are a bit bigger and have a lot of ornamentation. Regardless of where you are, these tiny vehicles dart around every narrow street and wide boulevard for a very negotiable price. 

Blingtastic Jodhpur.
One of the best decisions we made was to go on the Bombay Heritage Walk tour. Our guide told us a bit about the city’s history and a lot about its architecture. Originally, Mumbai was seven separate islands; the British filled in the space between them to create the city. In comparison with other Indian cities, Mumbai has a distinctly colonial feel. The streets of Colaba and the area around the train station reflect Victorian and Gothic architecture, though often mixed with Indian architecture. An excellent example of this is the Taj Mahal Hotel, built by Jamsedji Tata.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel: Super Swanky
Gateway of India (+ sunshine) -- neighbor of the Taj

CST Train Station: The trains may suck, but the station's kick-ass.

We also got to do Westernish things we hadn’t done in a while. Coffee that isn’t Nescafe! Beer that isn’t Kingfisher! These are glorious things indeed.

Chris chose a Stella...

And Melanie, a Hoegaarden. 
And if you ever find yourself there, you must, must, must go to Theobroma. Not only is it the first excellent bakery I’ve been to in India, but the eggs Benedict are cardiac-arrest-inducingly delicious.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Chris and we loved the pictures too!Glad you finally got a good beer and cup of coffee! Wow that Hotel is amazing. The trains look horrible the elephant is cool - though it should have been called Stampy!Love you two, Mom