Interview for 20 minutes: Visiting Mumbai in 3-4 days
A journalist of 20 Minute (French free magazine) contacted me for an interview! I would like to thank her for her interest in my experience in India!! Poor thing, instead of just answering her questions, I wrote a full article ;)
Namaste Bombay! Welcome in this chaotic megacity… to say the least! Crossing Mumbai from the airport to the heart of the city already gives a good overview: you feel like moving from one neighbourhood to another without distinction. And everywhere : people, life, activity, even at night!
Diving in the chaos, past the hotel door, can be somewhat of a shock: it's hot, the streets are badly indicated (Mumbai has been able to ignore the concept of urban planning), where to start? A walk in Colaba is a good stretch for the legs: the Gateway of India and a detour to the mythical Taj hotel (ideal for a pee break). Then take a stroll around Oval Maidan, a huge lawn surrounded by buildings dating back to the British era, before pushing to Victoria Station. Eventually stop to watch the sunset on Marine Drive, or walk along the Indian ocean, maybe up to Chowpatti Beach to experience what a good bath is (but for locals only!). To help digest this first day, treat yourself with a beer at Leopold Café, a meeting place for backpackers and locals.
Malabar Hill is also worth a visit, with its hanging gardens, Jain temple, Banganga Tank and its beautiful mansions. Then take a taxi for the rest of the day to go see the Haji Ali mosque perched on a peninsula and Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghats, an open-air laundry. A drink at Aer, the terrace of the Four Season, will then be welcome, providing with stunning views of the city and a good change of scenery (from the poorest to the richest…).
Bargain-hunting for the rare pearl in the markets (an antique at Chor Bazaar, a jewel at Zaveri Bazaar, everything and anything at Crawford Market) is a unique experience... More relaxing and less touristy: getting lost in Khotachiwadi, a neighborhood standing from the Portuguese era. A boat trip to Elephanta caves is also worth it if you don’t have the time to go to Ellora... Others will prefer a tour of Dharavi, the legendary slum and its industries, rather well organized and not voyeuristic.
A visit to Mumbai is not complete without a 'train' trip (the local metro), if possible at peak hours! Or without testing the street food (it's a little risky for the intestines but you don’t get nothing with nothing!): bhel puri, pani-puri, vada pao, Bademiya’s goat brains etc. The motivated (or just lucky) tourist who hangs around Regal theater may be rewarded with a figuration in a Bollywood movie... At worst, watching a movie is generally worth its weight of popcorn! And well prepared tourists can experience Holi festival and Indians throwing colour powders at each other, or the throwing of Ganesh (the elephant-headed God) statues for Ganapati...
One of my articles on the "Mumbai Incontournables": http://www.indiansamourai.com/archive/2014/03/06/intervie...
Other of my articles on Mumbai: http://www.indiansamourai.com/apps/search/?s=Mumbai