Monday, June 26, 2017



 Mumbai, or as most of the locals still call it, Bombay, is a city of massive human density and 

urban sprawl.  On a map, beginning at the airport, its shape reminds me of a bear claw, broadening

out as one gets nearer to the southern waterfront.  Three hundred years ago, the topography, that

makes up the city, consisted of seven islands connected by land reclamations.  The final reclamation

finished in1942 created what is now the southern Fort District of the city.  

Inside the Mumbai Airport
Corridor in the Taj Hotel

The fort business District, named after the British Fort George, is home to Mumbai's major

museums, a Fab India store location, many other local shops, and The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The

hotel, which was damaged by the Lashkar-e-Tabia terrorist group from Pakistan with

the help of Pakistani/American, David Headley in November 2008, has now been beautifully

Swimming pool at the Taj Hotel

Tea Room at the Taj Hotel

The taxi ride from the airport to the Fort District took about

45 minutes.  About halfway along the

 route, which was rift with heavy traffic, we passed a numerous number of mosques, actuating the

large Muslim community within this city.
Typical Mumbai Mosque

 I stayed at the YWCA International Center -International Guest  House (website:,

which takes both male and female guests.  The cost is between 40 and Sixty dollars a night. This

includes a private room, and bath, lots of hot water, TV, internet, and two meals a day, buffet

breakfast and dinners.  Not flashy but adequate, with lovely help and also delightfully interesting

guests(some of whom come from cold climes and stay the winter season).  Another plus about the

YWCA is its location.  It is within walking distance of almost everything, from the Taj Hotel,

museums, good restaurants, shopping and the post office.  If you get thirsty for Starbucks there are

two nearby as well; one at the back side of the Taj Hotel.
View from my room at the YWCA

And walk you will, for outside of Miami

Beach, Florida, and Napier, New Zealand,

Mumbai has the best collection of Art Deco

buildings you will find anywhere in the world.

These are not like the small
Another view from my room at the YWCA

artful little hotels Miami Beach is known for, nor the charming little shops of Napier, but rather large

stately buildings with Egyptian base relief motifs, Mesopotamia Ziggurat pyramid facades and any

number of other more modern elegant base relief styles. I was overwhelmed by the grander and the

beauty of these architectural pieces of art.
Mumbai Art Deco

Mumbai Art Deco

An example of Mumbai Art Deco 

As for restaurants, I ate lunch twice at the Taj Mahal

Palace Hotel; in the main dining room and the tea

room. I enjoyed the Taj Tea Room the most. where I

was seated with a harbor window view.  Oddly,  the

waiter at first thought I was a Parsi woman and began

by speaking to me in Hindi.   I knew Mumbai has the

largest Parsi population in India.  However, the waiter explained that many Parsi women are

are the most educated of Indian women.  Although in regards to my being Parsi, I think he

was putting me on.  He said with great sincerity, that many are blond and speak remarkably good

English.  The upstairs Tea Room food and service were excellent and the view superb.  I also eat at

the Leopold Cafe, a tourist trap, which is always packed and serves mediocre food.  However, the

Leopold has the distinction of being the one major restaurant that the terrorists also attacked in 2008,

so, of course, I had to try it   I also went to one of my standby Indian favorites for Masala Chi, Coffee

Day, a snack place with good chai.
Sign at the Leopold Cafe that was also bombed in 2008

One of the things I found interesting was that three-wheeled auto rickshaws are banned in the

Fort District, of Mumbai; only taxis, buses and private cars are allowed.  Additionally unlike New

Delhi, I only met one taxi driver who spoke English, and none of the drivers seemed to know their

way around the city.  In Delhi, the capital of India, almost everyone speaks English and the

people, even the laborers seem to be sharp clever people who knew where everything was all across

city.  Whereas in Mumbai, the business and Bollywood capital of the country, among the

people I met - and I was in what was considered one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the

city - very few spoke English, which is the language of the government; i.e. one cannot get a

government job anywhere in India if one doe not speak English.
View of Mumbai Habor

I know in my short time there, I missed some great attractions; the Sanjay Gandhi National Park with

leopards, birds and other wildlife, Elephant Island with caves full of carved sculptures and monkeys

(note: I dislike monkeys), but would enjoy seeing the carvings, and dancing at the National Center for

Performing Arts.

Hopefully, I will be in Mumbai soon again and will be able to report on those other attractions.

Meanwhile, my next posts will be about a holiday visit to Winchester, England, then on to the

Caribbean islands of Montserrat and Guadalupe.

A carriage ride on the habor walk outside the Taj Mahal Hotel