I finally had the proper documentation to get off the ship and see Mumbai. On the first day I took a highlights tour just to get an overview of the city. The first thing you notice about Mumbai is how hot it is. You absolutely cannot ignore it. Luckily we spent most of our time indoors on the first day. Our first stop was a temple where we were lucky enough to be interrupting a wedding. Our guide was saying that the marriages in India are still arranged and that the people seem to like it better that way. There is pretty much no divorce at all and she said people spend their entire fortunes on the wedding. We also watched a little bit of a service (I don't know what the Hindis call it) where people were listening to one man speak while they all sat on the floor. There were women there stringing flowers together as well.
We also got to see where Gandhi lived for a portion of his life. It was a very modest house kind of in the middle of nowhere. There was a giant library on the first floor and the room where he lived just had a mattress and some books.
We went to the highest point in Mumbai and saw the Hanging Gardens, which aren't hanging at all except for the fact that they are up high on a hill. They have so many crows everywhere, they are like a New York pigeon. The main reason I didn't like that was because any kind of peaceful moment I could've had looking at the gardens was disturbed by the sound of crows squawking.
We visited a museum filled with Indian artifacts but we ran out of time and didn't get to see much of it. I was feeling a little tired anyway so I just
found a bench to chill out on while I waited for the rest of the group. As I s
sitting there people kept sitting down in the empty seat next to me and taking pictures with me, like I was part of the museum. It felt very strange to have a woman walk up to me and put her child in my lap while her husband photographed us all. I was sitting with other Americans so I'm not sure what it was about me that they wanted to remember. A couple of people said it could have been the color of my hair or my light eyes. Anyway it was very strange.
The second day I was there I visited the Elephanta Caves. We had to take a boat from the Gateway of India over to the island. The Gateway was really cool and it was right next to the Taj Hotel, which was completely massive and beautiful. I was so surprised by the architecture in Mumbai. I was expecting skyscrapers and filth. It was definitely not as dirty as I thought it was going to be and the buildings were so ornate and grand.
The boat took us an hour away to the island where the Elephanta Caves were. We had to walk up 120 steps to reach the top but they distract you with
souvenirs and monkeys. The caves are also not what I imagined. I was cturing a cave you enter like a bear. This was a pretty large open space with tons of carvings all around. It was fascinating to see that they could carve all of that out of the stone.
On my way back down the hill I was getting a little hungry so I decided to stop for some local food. I asked the guy to just give me something traditional but I told him I needed it “to go.” I don’t think this is a common request because the bread ended up wrapped in a newspaper and the potato dish ended up in a plastic bag. It was so good but a little spicy for me. It also turned my fingers and mouth yellow because of the spices that were in it. Everyone thought I was so brave for eating the local food. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal but I’ll let you know how I feel in a couple of days.
*For whatever reason the pictures don't download very well on this site but I'll post more on my facebook page if you want to see them there!
I made it to the Great Wall of China!!! It was one of the three main things I wanted to do on this trip. The first two were go on a safari and ride an elephant, both of which I also got to do. My mom had been to the wall a long time ago and I saw the pictures of her there. Ever since then I really wanted to go and since I was going to be in Tianjin, I thought this was the one thing I had to do. I was so excited and it was really cool to be there and say, "I'm at the Great Wall of China right now." But, it is just a wall. It's a really big wall, but if you ever go, know that it's really just a wall. We walked along up the side of this mountain and all the steps were uneven. One would be tiny and the next would be huge. Also it was very cold and the wind was blowing but we were also sweating because we were getting the work out of a lifetime. So I made it to the Great Wall. Now I'm on the downhill slope of my contract. In a few days we will start our LAST CRUISE!
Sassy ginger from NH off traveling the world.