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A Brief Pause in Mumbai

Believe it or not, one of the highlights of Mumbai is the Chhatrapati Shivaji train station where we arrive, apparently a wonder of colonial architecture. Well, we’re pretty tired when we arrive,so we exit at the side and miss the good sights. We are, though, pretty impressed with the speed of our old taxi, an Ambassador, which whizzes us to an elegant part of the city right by the sea front. We’re lucky, also, that our driver actually knows where the hotel is: we find later that many do not, and will just drive round and round, asking random strangers until they get lucky.

The grin here is not only ‘cos we’re by the sea, but we’ve just booked an internal flight for the next section of our trip. No more Indian trains!

We like the central part of Mumbai and all the old buildings. The locals are bonkers about cricket – every day, hundreds of men emerge from work at lunch time and play in this huge central park, called the Maidan.

We take a boat trip to Elephanta Island, up the coast a bit, to see some more rock carvings. The carvings are nice, but the boat trip itself is particularly enjoyable. The langur monkeys which inhabit the site have learned to steal from the tourists. They can determine which bottles contain sugary soft drinks, and which just water, and one of them chased me round for my Limca bottle.

We pass the Gateway of India, built to commemorate the 1911 visit of King George V, but for some reason not finished until 13 years later. There’s a lot of security now, after the terrorist killings here a few years ago.

After a couple of days, we start to get excited about our flight south to Goa, for the last part of our India itinerary. No more trains, and a week or two in the sun before we return to the UK.

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