Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I liked Mumbai. It reminded me of Nairobi, only less scary.
In Nairobi, crossing the street was like playing Frogger. In Mumbai, it was Frogger mixed with Chicken, and all and a much slower pace. The amount of traffic prevents any rapid movement.
I did a walking tour from my guidebook, on which I saw several important buildings, including the David Sassoon library, founded by a Sephardic Jew, and the Eliyahoo Synagogue, which has a rousing service of about 30 people on Fridays and Saturdays.
I saw the Center for Asiatic Studies (or something), which was founded by the British and excluded "orientals" at the time. I saw the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, which didn't let me see any of the most interesting parts (the extremely expensive rooms, I guess), but the pink stairwell was quite nice.
I appreciated the overcast sky; the lack of sunlight made the humidity just barely tolerable. So far the heat doesn't seem to be worse than New York, but then I've only been here 2 days.
I only got ripped off by one cab driver, who didn't inform me that the shopping mall I wanted to do to (Crossroads) is closed down; instead he drove me 40 minutes through ridiculous traffic to a different mall (the Milleniunm), said it was Crossroads and then wildly overcharged me for the ride. The info desk at the Millenium told me that Crossroads was closed, although I'm still pretty surprised about that. It sounded pretty well established. Anyway, I was mad about the cab until I remembered my country's agricultural subsidies, and then my indignation diminished. Or at least my guilt increased.
I had gotten all excited about seeing some interesting Mumbai clothing designers from the Time Out Mumbai that I have, but I didn't get to see most of them because of the whole Crossroads mall snafu. It was disappointing because they sounded really fun and different, even if I can't afford any of it. I did, however, manage to buy inexpensive bejewelled sandals.