Officially named Mumbai, most people still street to the city as Bombay, even the airport code still remains BOM. As I listened to people refer to the city by name, I tried to look for patterns or indicators as to why a person used one name over the other. I found none.
In contrast to the other places we went, Mumbai was really cosmopolitan. Tammy and I spent time there with her niece, Jolie. We met a lot of ex-pats and ate at expensive restaurants and took advantage of the shopping - once again returning to Fab India. We also met Indians who were more affluent. My experience in Mumbai was a contrast to the other places I visited. It was a good contrast and I feel it enriched my understanding of Indian culture and of the vast differences one encounters between the haves and the have nots.
We visited the Royal Taj Hotel. This hotel was originally built in response to a hotel that was for whites (westerners) only. Overtime, the Taj became *the* place to be and the other hotel was forgotten. The Taj is, as Tammy puts it, "fancy chicken". I have no idea how much a room costs, but I am sure I could not afford it. Ornately decorated and richly furnished, one must go through a metal detector and submit their bags for inspection before entering. Inside is grand. The place is decorated with the photos of celebrities and dignitaries who have visited, including current US President, Barack Obama. We had drinks in the bar and enjoyed the view. The bathrooms were by far the nicest I encountered in all of India. It was quite a place to behold.
Across from the Taj is the Gateway to India. This place holds especial significance, as it is from here that the British left India, ending the period of the Raj. The gateway is not only an area for tourists to visit, it is also a place for pickpockets, hawkers, street kids and beggars. One small girl tried to sell us henna stamps, she was very persistent and didn't leave our sides for over 15 minutes.
Mumbai was a modern city, and I know that if I'd have had more time there, I would have found more gems to visit and explore.
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