The taxi we rode in from the airport to our hotel in South Mumbai felt like it could literally fall apart any second. It was a thin piece of metal on wheels and kind of old-fashioned feeling. The driver drove crazy going in between other cars and around traffic through back streets etc. The city was really crowded with people covering every square inch of space.
We arrived at the JW Marriott and after the guards and dog checked the car and we walked through the metal detector, we got settled into our room. Since it was already the evening , we explored our hotel resort a bit, looking at the multiple restaurants and had dinner in the lounge where they had all kinds of complimentary finger foods and drinks. The hotel itself was sitting on the Juhu Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Mumbai which overlooks the Arabian Sea.
Our first full day in Mumbai, we jumped on a tuk-tuk and had it bring us to a main shopping area nearby. We spent some time there looking at the different shops and area. It was action-packed with a constant buzz of people going about their day. We noticed a ton of jewelry shops selling both costume jewelry and all kinds of gems. We had fun sitting down to see what they had but also being careful, because they can make fakes look real. There were also numerous food vendors on the streets but in India…it’s definitely a gamble to eat off the street and to us wasn’t worth the risk of being sick…we stuck to nice restaurants in this country.
Our last full day in India we hired a driver to take us down to Bombay which was a good hour from our hotel. The architecture was pretty modern looking like a typical city. We drove across the huge bridge admiring the skyline but noticing the very smoggy air around us. The driver took us past Gandhi’s house, and then through various parts of the city to get an overall view of Bombay before dropping us off at the Gateway of India. We told the driver to meet us at a certain place at a certain time and went off on our own to walk around for a bit. The gateway of India is a giant archway sitting right on the edge of the water…it is a major tourist attraction although there really isn’t so much to it. What was interesting while we were there was the fact that so many Indian people wanted to get pictures with us!! It must be what the stars feel like…people kept coming up one after the other asking if they could get a picture with us…we definitely got a kick out of it. We had people approach us in other places in India too but this was non-stop, we had to turn people down and walk away.
We walked around the area through the old stone streets…stopping in one of the top hotels to see the inside of it, as well as shopped around at various little stores…there again were many jewelry shops. It was like searching for treasure…the stores had drawers and drawers full of all kinds of jewels. We were hungry so went up a tiny stairway to a small restaurant which ended up having horrible service and pretty bad food. Our time was up after our early dinner…in fact we were late and needed to get going. Traffic was pretty bad driving back up to our hotel but the view was nice along the water where people were lying around in the sand.
We got back up to south Mumbai where we had time to eat some dinner and then took a taxi back to the airport. Our flight leaves India for South Africa tonight!!! India has been an experience, that’s for sure! We’ve seen many rats, lots of garbage and real poverty…but also amazing food, historical palaces and really cool handmade crafts/art. We did not get to see southern India and we didn’t get to experience the yogi/spiritual side of the country which would be a whole different thing…that said, we were glad we added India to our itinerary but were also happy to be leaving it behind.