Mumbai is an interesting city. Upon first glance, it’s rundown, crowded, and dirty. After breakfast at our hotel, we were determined to find out something about the city. We just had no idea where to go. We walked around like typical tourists…. And then we met Terence. Terence Alan Bradley.
He approached us on the street and told us he gave tours. Now, you’re not typically supposed to listen to anything strangers tell you on the street anywhere in India because they generally have bad intentions. Even though I was very skeptical of Terance, we had a cup of coffee with him and listened to his offer to take us around the city and show us things that most tourists don’t see. Carsten and I glanced at each other at the end of his speech, unsure about whether or not we should follow this strange man around. We decided to go for it.
We hopped in a cab and went to the same train station we had already spent so much time at. Except this time, we saw it from the outside. Victoria Terminus looks more like a castle and less like a train station. It’s beautiful architecture stands out among the other buildings in Mumbai. It is ornately made; a perfectly handcrafted station fit for the queen herself. We were then whisked away to a couple of local markets, seeing anything from puppies to toiletries to fruits and veggies. There were pet birds being sold everywhere and the markets were packed with vendors and shoppers alike. It takes the appearance of a flea market in the United States, only much more crowded and much more interesting.
Back onto the bustling city streets, we hopped in a cab and as Terance was busy telling the driver where to go and how to drive, Carsten and I just watched the buildings go past. It’s easy to get lost in this city. There are almost no street signs (that are visible anyway), hardly any traffic lights, and everything is whizzing past so quickly you have no idea which way you are headed until you get there. Our next stop was an outdoor laundromat of sorts. People in Mumbai send their clothes to this large washing facility, the clothes are cleaned, hung to dry, and then neatly shipped back to their owners. The workers make about 300 rupees per day (about $6) and have the difficult job of taking the clothing and smacking it over and over again on stone slabs and water. (I’ll post a video of this impressive sight.)
to be continued….