Set off after lunch yesterday for Mumbai and left the train at 8:15 am this morning. We had the city tour.
We had an excellent tour guide. She gave us a fascinating look at the city.
It was also good that she pulled no punches about the British history in India. Our tour guide had “attitude”. She praised the legacy of Education, Railways, Telegraph, Government and Cricket but she wryly showed us an hotel built in 18xx that used to have a sign: “No Indians, No Dogs”.
Quite embarrassing really.
At one point she said, “We welcome anyone who comes here as an honoured guest, even if they are British or Pakistani”. Barbed comment but I don’t even think she realised what she said.
Mumbai is very interesting. Mumbai in the centre could almost be London. Victorian buildings, clean streets, (yes, London streets are clean!), disciplined traffic, well dressed people.
We visited the India Gate down by the waterfront. This gate was the last building built by the British.
We had a pit stop at the Taj Hotel that suffered the dreadful attack by Pakistani terrorists with machine guns.
The town hall.
Victoria Station now renamed into something unpronouncable and unspellable.
We visited the Gandhi Museum which was intriguing. He actually lived in the house and his bedroom was preserved.
And we visited the “laundry”. Clothes are taken from the home, washed, dried on rooftops, ironed and returned in vast quantities.
Our hotel, The Leela Kepinski, is outside Mumbai past some grim slums and very near the airport. It is wonderful – marble, brass, quiet, organised, luxury, not rocking from side to side, huge bedroom with space, wide corridors where people can get past each other with ease and most of all an enormous bath with unlimited quantities of piping hot water. Is this what heaven is like?
A quiet afternoon on the terrace by the pool before tomorrow’s flight.
Have heard nothing at all about Kingfisher so I guess all is well on that front.
We have had a fabulous holiday. I can’t think of a better way to see India. Travel could have been a problem but we avoided it all. The sights have been outstanding and the glitches have been part of the adventure.
Tonight we will not be eating vegetarian curry. Something Italian in the hotel rooftop restaurant.
(In fact, I had lamb chops. The first meat in 10 days – devine.)
Signing off now. I hope you have enjoyed our experience.
A cannon Ball tree.