Last week I’ve been in Bombay, or Mumbai as it is now known, gateway to India although in 4 trips I’ve not managed to get out of the city yet!
We did the usual Sunday afternoon tour of a few of the sights, the most famous of which is the Gateway of India, built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. It was teeming with locals and tourists and really good place to get a feel for the vibrant Indian way of life.
Just behind the Gateway is the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the centres of the horrific 2008 terrorist attacks. The main difference since my last visit is the increase in security presence. Barriers around the gateway filter visitors through a scanned entrance and sandbag security posts can be seen throughout the key parts of the city and outside of hotels. We stayed in the ITC Maratha Sheraton & Towers which now has baggage scanners and visibly more personnel out front of the building. Peace of mind on the one hand and a constant reminder of the attacks on the other.
The view across the south of the city and Chowpatty Beach are best seen from the Hanging Gardens. Some of the most expensive real estate in the world is crammed onto the pennisular of South Mumbai.
And lastly a very English attraction apparently is Mahalaxmi Dobhi Ghat, a massive open air laundry servicing the whole of Mumbai. Amazing the whiteness of the linen that comes out of the grey water and not a box of Daz in sight! Just sheer hard work.
We spent most of the time between the hotel and the office in the suburb of Andheri. Good to see the Metro line is coming on, a hole in the road three years ago it’s now starting to take shape although a completion date of this October is wildly optimistic. I managed to satisfy my appetite for curry a little too much as always and it will take me a few days to get back in sync with the English diet. All in all a great trip.
Back at home the spring flowers are starting to come out and I caught up with a couple of jobs. The long carrots are now sown, the shallots are planted out and all manner of seedlings are coming on. Thanks to Rachel for keeping everything alive in my absence. Looking forward to the clocks going forward in a couple of weeks, it will really feel like Spring has arrived then!