Walk to Worli Sea Face
Our second day in Mumbai, and we decided to walk a little further than yesterday (it would be hard to walk less far, as we barely left the hotel driveway!)
We set off after breakfast. I was again struck by the contrast between the hotel behind us and the life happening at the end of the driveway. The hotel has large metal gates and guards, to stop the life encroaching on the unreality of the luxurious hotel (though we encroached on the bustle of real life happening on the street). We had a map, and walked for about two miles to the coast. It felt much longer, due to the heat and the noise and the pollution. You can’t walk too fast here, because the air is too thick to want to take deep breaths. I didn’t notice much pollution when we were here before, but we were right on the coast then, so maybe that makes a difference.
India bombards you. You need to be very alert when you walk, as there is lots of potential danger (like the man welding above your head, or the motorbike zooming along the path, or the man carrying a pile of unsecured bricks on his shoulder). The pavement is often rough, with loose paving stones, and there is a whole lot of nasty stuff you need to avoid stepping in. Plus you want to see. There is so much life happening, and you want to notice it all, not miss anything. So you walk slowly, and with care, and you wish you had more than one pair of eyes.
People here live their lives on the street. If you have scissors and a chair, you have a barber’s shop. We passed fruit stalls, and a printer’s shop where machines were spewing out reams of posters, and a laminating shop, and a small unit where they were cutting and polishing granite. A man with a sewing machine was making a suit jacket, and a woman with tweezers was removing a splinter from a child’s foot. A group of women were threading flower heads into garlands outside a temple, and cows were tethered to railings. So much life. I guess, if the weather is dry, and you don’t value privacy, then being outside isn’t unpleasant. It’s hard to evaluate different cultures, and I wonder what those people would think if they visited my home. They would probably think it odd how secluded we are, strange that we should live such isolated lives in our big houses and cars and offices.
I don’t know why I love India. It’s too hot and smoggy and smelly. There is constant noise, and I don’t like eating any of the food because it upsets my tummy. And yet, there is something here that fascinates me and draws me back. Perhaps it’s the people, who are polite and who decorate their clothes and buildings with such lovely patterns. I like the way people are busy, striving to improve, always on the look out for a chance in life.
The sea front was hot, and smoggy. Not particularly beautiful. (The dog in the photo was asleep, not dead.) There was a naked old man bathing, so I had to angle my photographs carefully (didn’t want to shock my mother). Walked back to hotel, and showered. Being outside is fascinating, but I need a safe clean place to escape back to – not sure I would enjoy India if I was back-packing.
When I checked the local news, I read that a boat had sunk just outside Mumbai, carrying a party of school children. And a helicopter had crashed into the bay. And a leopard had wandered into a residential area, mauling people before it could be sedated. (I didn’t even know there were leopards in Mumbai, but it didn’t say it had escaped from anywhere, so maybe there are.) As I said, you need to be careful in India…
Thank you for reading.
Tomorrow we plan to visit an ancient laundry. Why not sign up to follow my blog?