As I said previously there is so much to see in Mumbai. Fortunately one of our two days was a Sunday and the streets were less crowded than normal. Mumbai has no subway system but the combination of a railway that brings everyone in and out of the city and a collection of taxis, with and without air conditioning make for traffic jams you would not believe.
A visit to Dhobi Ghat was a highlight of Mumbai. There for more than a hundred years, laundry is brought to this central city location to be soaped, soaked, boiled and beaten and then ironed. The scene is a rainbow of colour and there is no laundry ticket. How they keep individual orders for laundry separate is a mystery to this day as there is no paper record. Today the majority of the laundry processed here is commercial but not exclusively as the pictures demonstrate. Around the laundry are some of the worst slums you can ever imagine. An interesting anecdote is that only men work in the laundry.
In contrast to the laundry there is the arch known as the Gateway to India. Built in 1911 under British control, the monument sits on the waterfront to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Originally it was the entrance to India for steamers arriving from Great Britain and was also the location for the final departure of the British in 1948. A central square immediately in front of it overflows with visitors while the backside of the arch is the ferry terminal.
As we leave Mumbai, we enter pirate waters. The next blog will detail the ship’s precautions to prevent an attack by pirates as we cross the Arabian Sea. Many of the passengers are not sure of what to make of the threat.