April 30, 2023
Before I write about our two days in Mumbai, here are some pictures from the Captain’s cocktail party. We have one during each segment of the world cruise, and we missed the last one because we were on our trip to Botswana.
We have the captain from the beginning of the cruise back on board. And we have a new cruise director, Dottie.
And here is Laura, one of our singers on board entertaining us at the party, and Iliya, one of our dancers showing his stuff in Dubai.
After the cocktail party we had dinner with Marilyn, Charlie, Jeff and Joy.
As we sailed in to Mumbai, there was a rainbow. It was pretty overcast, so it is not a great picture. Still, a nice welcome.They had a rain storm overnight and early in the morning.
Here are a couple of shots as we pulled in to port.
We were greeted by beautiful dancers. One placed a bindi on my forehead.
After quite a process with immigration, we met our guide Husseine. We had a very comfortable air conditioned small bus for the 6 of us, Erin, Mui, Sonia, Boris and the two of us.I guess they want everyone to know we are tourists! But I call us travelers in discovery.
It is a holiday today and tomorrow. Today was Sunday and there was not too much traffic on the streets (at least by Mumbai standards)! So we were able to get to our first destination, Dahravi, fairly quickly. We were met by our guide here, Mustafa. He is a college student who uses what he earns to continue his education.
What to know about Dahravi. Dharavi is a suburb in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It has often been considered to be one of the world’s largest slums. Dharavi has an area of just over .7 square miles and has a population of over 1,000,000. Mumbai has a population of 22 million people and India just surpassed China as the most populated country in the world. People here consider Dahravi a township and Husseine told us that we would re-visit our idea of a slum when we finished touring this area. People here are kind of ashamed that some of the movie Slumdog Millionaire was filmed here because most of their environment is not as depicted in that movie.
We were not supposed to take pictures of the residents and workers as they did their jobs. There were a few exceptions, so I will share the ones I do have. The amazing thing about Dharavi is that everyone works and nothing is wasted. There is virtually no crime and some of the residents choose to live here even though they are millionaires. We felt safer walking here than in Brazil and West Africa. There are over 20,000 small businesses such as apparel, pottery, embroidery, quality leather goods and plastics and $1 billion dollars is generated here every year. One of the main businesses is recycling, not just from the township but using materials from all over Mumbai. We saw workers separating plastics by color. The plastic is then melted down, washed and made into small pellets, dried on the rooftops and then sold to make recycled items such as combs, bottles, etc. They don’t waste anything here. Appliances like refrigerators are taken apart and the parts used for other things or rebuilt. Skilled workers here earn 12-15 dollars a day and the unskilled workers earn 6-8 dollars per day.
There are 18 mosques, 26 temples and 8 churches in this township and people from all religions live and work peacefully together. This seems to be the case in all of Mumbai according to Husseine.
Conditions are quite primitive and most homes do not have running water or toilets.
While we were there, we saw a man cleaning up trash (they do this twice a day). It turned out that there was a wedding procession coming and we got right in with the group – they wanted us to dance down the street with them and we did!
What a fascinating look at a thriving community – yet a slum. We did change our view of what it is like to live and work in the slum.
We then drove to an adjacient island, Bandra, where we stopped for lunch at the Salt Water Cafe in an upscale neighborhood. Many of the Bollywood actors eat their meals here. I don’t think any were there when we were. We had some pasta dishes and the special mango ice cream as it is mango season here.
Next we went to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. There are kiosks outside the church with replicas of houses and body parts. If you want to pray for something, you can purchase the replica as an offering.
We visited the fort and walked up for the view of this spectacular bridge and the bay.
Our last visit was to the old Portuguese area of Mumbai. There are very few of the old homes left but we did see the ones that remain. Many have small chapels outside them. Much of the area has been redeveloped into high rise condos and apartments.
This man was selling ice apples. He had to peel off the outer rind and then we got a section with a covering like on an orange. We peeled that off and ate the fruit. Juicy and not too sweet. None of us had ever heard of these before.
Do you think we were tired after our day?
Here are some scenes on the way back to the ship. The waterfront is under a lot of construction, but at night the area (Marine Drive) is very lit up and is called the “Queen’s Necklace”.
This was our 4th visit to Mumbai and we experienced totally different things. You can see how much wealth has come into the city with all of the construction and many high rises. But lots of poverty still exists. Our butler, Vishant, is from India and he says people can live a very good middle class life here on $500/month.
If you want to read about our previous visits, use the search function on the blog site. I am trying not to repeat information I previously wrote about!
div dir=”ltr”>One of your best blogs ever. Loved the pictures, of the sites, and of all your companions. I wish I was there. Iliya is amazing. Wh
Reading your blog brought back memories of when we visited Mumbai as part of an 89-day Holland America cruise.
Like you, we visited the large slum. We had two college students as guides – they started a small tour company to raise money for college expenses. They took us into the slum (even saw one of the spots they filmed the movie). One of the student’s fathers owned a grocery store in the slum.
As you said – they recycle everything. It is a regular city – even have their own mayor, fire department, etc.
Marilen even bought a purse that was made there out of reclaimed leather.
As with you, it was one of the most fascinating experiences.
Rick & Marilen