In the last year we traveled to India to visit some expats of the family. We stayed in Mumbai most of the time and did some proper sight seeing there. I can highly recommend to go to India during our miserable German winter season to experience the hot and dusty weather there.
Mumbai has a track record for its air pollution. During the winter month the air quality is mostly classified as unhealthy. The distant skyscrapers are only visible as soft shades against the white of the smoggy sky.
Wearing traditional style cloth is very common everywhere. Mostly because they really make you feel comfortable in the sticky hot weather. The bright colors look good on photographs as well.
Uber has taken over the Taxi industry in India as well. You can decide between cheap mini-cars with a roof rack but no air conditioning, better cars with AC and minivans. Because the more expensive drivers are in contact with more tourist, they are most of the time able to talk to you in English.
On our way to our AirBnB we had to drive through the biggest slum in Asia, the Dharavi Slum. In the early morning it is quite calm there but it comes to life when the sun sets. Empty streets will transform into store fronts and butcher shops. Most of the huts were build illegal and the government tries to replace them with concrete multi-story buildings - but the inhabitants are very resistant to those changes.
At the beachfront on Mumbai you experience a change in the architecture. You can clearly see the influence of western 70’s style buildings which pop out between the mostly colonial style mansions.
To see Mumbai in a different light, we booked a early market tour via Tripadvisor. One stop on our way was the newspaper sorting station in front of the main station. It was really impressive to see how diverse the city is because of the many different languages of the newspapers. The percentage of wrongly delivered newspapers is really low, which is quite astonishing because most of the sorters cannot even read.
My favorite market was the fruit and vegetable market. The store owners put so much effort in maintaining and sorting there goods but they couldn’t care less about the dirt and trash on the pathway besides it. The amount of manual labor, micro-organising tasks, logistic business with local taxis is overwhelming.
As the sun started to shine we had a glimpse into the selling of hundreds of thousands of flowers at the flower market. The plants are so fresh that even bees are around to harvest the last pollen.
The last stop on our tour was the famous washing district where families have their huts and their local washing businesses. The washing takes place in cemented basins where they wash everything by hand. Mostly hotels and hospitals use the traditional cleaning services.
A stop at the beach where no-one swims was our last destination on our Christmas vacation.