Our day started at 7:15 when we prepared to head to the dining room for coffee. We met out guide in the foyer of the hotel for eight. We were to walk to the Sassoon docks but found our van waiting for us. A short drive to the docks then about an hour walking through the fish. What a crazy place as Ben put it in our journal, "awash with colour and sounds of the Koli fisherfolk". Women carrying fish on their heads in colourful plastic bowls, fishermen bringing in the catch, school age girls quickly removing the crusty coat of millions of small shrimp and of course noise, confusion and 'who will buy'?
All this confusion was hard to leave especially for those who were desperate for time to capture this excitement with brush and paint. There was no time as we had so much to do so many places to go. I managed a couple of mini memories but oh how I wished for a chair and hours to paint!
We returned to the hotel for a breakfast break. Freshly cooked eggs done to order, toast, fruit (oh so sweet pineapple, mango, grapes and bananas) were the order of the day. We were now ready to take on what ever out tour had waiting or us.
OUR LUGGAGE ARRIVED! I still can't believe it but it arrived, wrapped in shrink wrap and all in order. Everyone had a smile.
Following our itinerary we drove. Through the streets of Mumbai to our first stop at the Mahalaxmi Temple. A walk down a narrow walkway for pedestrians and motor bikes we stopped removed out shoes and entered a small temple to Ganesh ( my personal favourite Hindu God). Once everyone had a chance to look in we continued along through security (just like the airport and everywhere you go in Mumbai these days) to the temple. No photos here and no chance to paint so close your eyes, take a deep breath and smell, incense, spice and flowers; you are in India. I believe at the temple or the mosque you are closest to the real mother India the one that brings her children home on a regular basis from their new homes across the seas.
Haji Ali's Mosque was our next stop it is getting warmer. We joined the masses and began our journey through security then along the shop lined walkway out to an island in the Arabian Sea. The home of this sacred place of Sufi Islam was destination for many, Muslim, Hindu and Christian all are welcome to the island. The Mosque is for those of the faith. It was an exciting honour to visit.
Back to our bus, we had to cross the busy streets. Doing this in Mumbai is one of those times you really stretch your elastic. Take a deep breath and watch out you never know what is crossing and how fast they are going.
A leisurely ride to Malibar Hill, past the Jane Temple (one of my favourite in Mumbai) for a short stop at the Hanging Gardens ( a garden of animal shaped topiary that was built over the Mumbai water storage). The parrots yelled at each other as they chased among the trees.
The Dobi Ghats, a chance to see what I think must be up there as the largest laundry in the world. Always a stop for any visit to Mumbai.
Lunch today was at what i remembered as Jazz By The Bay and what is now called Pizza By the Bay. Still a good choice. Today a pizza for two (cheese and tomato) was INR's 535 about 10.00 Canadian, enough for two to share. Then a visit to Mahatma Ghandi's home, the group did a tour and I painted a mini memory.
At 4:30 we went to a Bollywood movie at the CR-2 in Nariman Point. A beautiful modern up to date theatre with comfortable chairs. I thought I would have trouble staying awake not being able to hear the music or understand what was being said. How wrong I was! I was hooked two minutes into the movie ABC 'Any One Can Dance! ' they were right I danced in my heart in my mind and in my head. I need to get a copy of this movie I loved it!
Dinner a special treat (we have had so many this trip it is hard to say that, but it was). I didn't have time to paint but we all enjoyed the ambiance the service and the food. If you are visiting Mumbai give it a try. Let me know what you think.