Wednesday, October 27, 2010

मुंबई (Translation: Mumbai)

Earlier this month, we managed to squeeze in a weekend trip to Mumbai. Movie-goers might know the city as the main setting for"Slumdog Millionaire". The city houses 13,830,884 people. That's 22,000 people per square kilometer. PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.

It's a very happening, westernized city. A couple of us students went out one night and tried to get into a fancy restaurant. Apparently this cool restaurant wanted people other than the haggered travelers in poofy pants and Ganesh t-shirts. I thought that once they noticed my pleather shoes with velcro straps they would change their minds but no such luck. Their loss. Their. Loss.

We scoped out the sea shore along the coast that reflected the problems of a highly-densely populated city: a stagnant layer of pollution floated on the top of the water like a blanket of moss. It was still a fun entertainment area. Cotton candy, plastic swords for sale...needless to say, I thrived in that environment! We even met a boy flying a kite with his pet monkey. Erik tripped on the monkey's leash, causing the once-cute monkey to bare his teeth with a snarl. The kids jumped away and whispered in a small voice, "he bites." Back awaaaaay, slowly.
Such a grumpy monkey

 I also got into a an tense ring-toss competition with a beefy, well- trained man, which justifies why he beat me so badly. (Or a pudgy 8 year old boy. I forget the exact details...)

The competition. Followers call him "The Intimidator".
Fantastic city though. People are always hustling and bustling during the day. However, in the early morning around 5:00 am, the city awakens slowly with quiet streets and shop keepers still sleeping outside of their stores. One morning, Erik and I sleepily woke up with the city as we stumbled over to see the ships bring in their fish loads for the day. Women with big bushels on their head full of fish bumping into me: I found a couple of little fish surprises in my hair afterward. No appetite for sushi for a little while....

A boy watching the fish boats out at sea, with Mumbai in the background
 Hope all is well where you are! Take care!

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