Old and Rambling kicks off 2018 visit in Mumbai.

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#1 Oct 25th, 2018, 23:50
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Hi Folks,

I was rather unsure about visiting India this year, and only decided to go for it just over a week or so back.

E-visa application went smoothly, although the questions can get a bit wearing by the fourth page.

I managed to find a cheapish flight to Mumbai with Kuwait airlines, the drawback was a longer wait in Kuwait (don't tempt me...).

Kuwait Airlines were a bit flat compared to the flair of some other middle eastern carriers. I asked the information guy where the "transit lounge" was, but he had no idea. Was easy to find, anyway. Huge bank of phone charging points, none working. Transit Lounge, not one display screen to show departures, and the announcements over the tannoy did not work there either.

They redeemed themselves by allowing this famished old man two omelette breakfasts on the flight to Mumbai, and very tasty too.

I was akin to the walking wounded by the time we arrived at Mumbai airport, mostly a combination of an early start from home on Wednesday, the late afternoon departure time to Kuwait, and the stopover, so was not looking forward to the visa queues.

Guess what! I was the only person to go to the e-visa section, no queue at all! We touched down at midday, and the arrivals hall was empty, just one e-visa window open, and I had to cough discreetly to wake the immigration guy into full operating mode.

I guess the main direct flights tend to arrive at night, so that was a happy consequence of the longer stopover.

The luggage is x-rayed as you leave the airport, and there is a pre-pay taxi booth immediately to the left as you leave security. I asked there, bloke quoted Rs 790, I said no thanks. There is a second pre-pay booth as you follow the taxi signs, same quote there for A/C car, but Rs 590 for non A/C car, which I accepted.

You pay the guy and get a receipt, which has the allocated taxi number on it, and the zone where it is waiting, and go down one floor to ground level to locate the taxi. Yet another pre-pay booth here!

The fare was to Lamington Road area, I guess it would be a little more if one was heading to Colaba area.

Traffic was pretty bad, and sitting stationary in the hot taxi, it was not long before I regretted my decision not to pay a couple of quid extra for A/C.

I bought a couple of bottles of water and some powdered milk earlier, and managed a couple of hours sleep this evening, so now all set for several cups of tea and catch up on emails, etc.

Very pleased to be here!

Ed.
#2 Oct 26th, 2018, 00:14
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How long do you plan to stay in Mumbai? Any specific to do's?
#3 Oct 26th, 2018, 00:28
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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post How long do you plan to stay in Mumbai? Any specific to do's?
Hi, I intend to leave on Monday, so three days to explore!

Nothing specific on the radar to be honest, probably a few nice meals, and I was recommended to take a slum tour..?

I mostly want to take it easy for a few days and acclimatise to the heat a little, I anticipate a few days here again before I fly home at the end of the trip. I visited Mumbai 3 years ago, and took in a few of your Mumbai guide suggestions at that time.

I would like to take the train up to Matheran again, will try to include that when I come back to Mumbai towards the end of this trip.

Any suggestions where to find nice Bhel Poori in Mumbai?

Ed.
#4 Oct 26th, 2018, 00:51
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A good place for sea food is Apoorva near Mumbai Samachar Building. My standard order there is rice with surmai fry. Wash it down with a chilled beer.

For Bhel Puri go to Chowpatty. Most of the stalls serve decent Bhel Puri. If you do go there try 'Gola'.



Another option for Bhel Puri could be Sahakari at Colaba. It is a good option for breakfast / evening snacks also.
#5 Oct 26th, 2018, 01:43
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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post A good place for sea food is Apoorva near Mumbai Samachar Building. My standard order there is rice with surmai fry. Wash it down with a chilled beer.

For Bhel Puri go to Chowpatty. Most of the stalls serve decent Bhel Puri. If you do go there try 'Gola'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dismLPYT6Q


Another option for Bhel Puri could be Sahakari at Colaba. It is a good option for breakfast / evening snacks also.
Thanks for those suggestions, sadly I don't eat seafood, but the cold beer sounds very good.

I know streetfood is often the best, but I would probably go for the Sahakari option. Not too sure about the "Gola", tourists are advised to avoid ice, although it looks err, colourful.

Cheers,

Ed.
Last edited by OldandRambling; Oct 26th, 2018 at 08:27..
#6 Oct 26th, 2018, 01:43
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Will wait for the rambling to begin.

PS: always wish that I have your patience and energy when I get to your age.
Last edited by ukdoctor; Oct 26th, 2018 at 04:10..
#7 Oct 26th, 2018, 08:15
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Originally Posted by ukdoctor View Post Will wait for the rambling to begin.

PS: always wish that I have your patience and energy when I get to your age.
Initial verbal rambling above gives a little info as to e-visa and taxi price situation, plenty more to come, once I have the err, energy...

At my age, having a 25 year old son teaches one patience. If I do experience a rebirth, I am definitely going to start parenting at a younger age!

Trust me, if you have less energy than me at my age, you will be in trouble.

Ed.
#8 Oct 26th, 2018, 23:53
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Mooching in Mumbai...

26 Oct 2018

Slow start today, several cups of tea needed to get the system going.

I took a taxi from outside the hotel down to the Gateway of India. Although it was not yet too hot, I asked for the a/c to be on, after yesterdays roasting on the way from the airport. The driver asked if I wanted to go to the airport tomorrow, so I asked him the price, Rs 450 quoted. I am not going, but interesting to compare with the airport taxi prices.

After a quick look around, I walked up to the Mumbai Museum, set in very nice grounds. I had my bag with all my worldly goods in, so decided to come back another time without that, one needs to leave it in a store, but I did not want to risk that today, given the contents.

Interesting visit to Jehangir Art Gallery, I met several of the artists who had work on display. I loved the pictures of Satheesh Kanna, vibrant take on Varanasi.
Also met artist Austin Konchira, a former English teacher, we had a good chat about English language being downgraded nowadays in India. and Adish Jain, who had some astonishingly detailed collages on show. Do "google" these artists for more information.

I took aarosh's advice and went to Sahakari for lunch, had a very tasty dosa.

Just next door there is an amazing old building which houses a shop selling all sorts of household items and many food items. I hesitate to call it a supermarket, because the building itself is so intriguing. I wonder what it was, originally?

Many of the old buildings show intriguing aspects of their past glory, I love the mix of architectural styles with everything from Gothic, Edwardian and Art Deco to be seen.

A walk through a small part of the "Fort" district and I arrive at VT railway station, as it was called. Very grand design, the booking hall looks like a cathedral more than a train station!

Back to the hotel and that is enough for my first day!

I have posted a few pics on facebook, I am not too sure how to upload them to Indiamike direct, and I am too tired tonight to find out.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=0a3e44a11e

Ed.
#9 Oct 27th, 2018, 00:05
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Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post Just next door there is an amazing old building which houses a shop selling all sorts of household items and many food items. I hesitate to call it a supermarket, because the building itself is so intriguing. I wonder what it was, originally?
It is called the Majestic MLA Hostel. The supermarket is Sahakari Bhandar. Sahakari means Co-operative, Bhandar means store.

#10 Oct 27th, 2018, 00:10
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Thanks for the info, aarosh, great photo, it was looking a little "older" today...

Ed.
#11 Oct 27th, 2018, 00:19
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Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post Many of the old buildings show intriguing aspects of their past glory, I love the mix of architectural styles with everything from Gothic, Edwardian and Art Deco to be seen.
A few of those buildings can be seen in Heritage Structures - Mumbai. There is also a mention of the museum inside the CST building and the timings of when they are open.
#12 Oct 27th, 2018, 00:55
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Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post Many of the old buildings show intriguing aspects of their past glory, I love the mix of architectural styles with everything from Gothic, Edwardian and Art Deco to be seen.
The style of major colonial buildings is known as Indo-Saracenic (sometimes called Indo-Gothic). The British combined Hindu and Muslim architectural styles with European features. Maybe the idea was to draw a connection between India's history and its colonial present. Well, now it's past; I guess the effort to make the empire more "Indian" didn't work so well. But Mumbai has some grand specimens.
#13 Oct 27th, 2018, 11:15
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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post A few of those buildings can be seen in Heritage Structures - Mumbai. There is also a mention of the museum inside the CST building and the timings of when they are open.
Very nice thread, echoes many of my own tastes in architecture. It looks as though the CST heritage museum is closed at weekends, so will try and view when I return to Mumbai to fly home.

Interesting also to see posts from some past contributors who have now vanished from the indiamike scene... I guess the mood and flavour of indiamike changes a lot over the years.

Ed.
#14 Oct 27th, 2018, 22:36
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Mumbai, Saturday 27th October.

Sleep pattern not quite right yet, so I felt a bit groggy at the start of my second full day in Mumbai. (Duty free still unopened, so can't blame that...)

Decided to pay a visit to the Mumbai Museum, formerly known as Prince of Wales museum.
I managed to carry all my worldly goods in my pockets today, so felt happy to leave my bag in the storage room. The guard asked if I had left any passport or valuables in the bag, and I told him no, but a half eaten packet of moong dal is there, and I have counted each one. Made him laugh!

The usual thing with prices, Rs.500 for foreigners, much less for Indian folk. I think this is fair enough.

One is allowed to carry bottled water into the museum, which was a blessing as it was a pretty hot day, and the museum is mostly not air conditioned.

I liked the stone sculptures the best, such skill in carving, and such ancient items. I felt a ray of hope for humanity to think that we had been making such amazingly artistic objects for so long, maybe we can survive the current mess we seem to be creating of the environment we inhabit...

The bronze, brass and other metal castings were very interesting too, as well as the pottery. I liked seeing the pottery from the earliest periods particularly.

Several galleries are given over to displaying the collections of the Tata families. While these are undoubtedly valuable, they seem rather out of place in an Indian museum, featuring European "old masters" paintings and Japanese items. I understand that museums can collect objects from across the world, not least the British, often at gunpoint... I guess I was just selfishly hoping for more Indian stuff.

Time for lunch, and where else but back to the Sahakari, just nearby the museum. Rather busier today than yesterday, someone said they thought there was a partial holiday yesterday, so less folk about?

Seated straight away, and joined by an interesting local guy who was on his lunch break, and so he was fretting about getting served quickly, only a half hour for lunch! I saw several people eating a thali type meal, so just pointed to that instead of scanning the menu today. Very tasty again.

I had a walk in the Colaba area, crowded and touristy on a Saturday, and rather too hot to walk far.

Taxi back to the hotel, going along the seafront this time, rather than through the city. One gets a fine view of all the tower blocks along the shoreline!

Just had dinner at my hotel, now time for a cup of tea, or two...

Ed
#15 Oct 27th, 2018, 23:02
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#15
You could have tried the sugarcane juice near Gateway of India mentioned in the link given in post # 2.

So you are leaving tomorrow? Where to next?
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