Mumbai (Bombay), Local Transportation Tour, India, October 2019
A very long tour with an excellent guide, Chenta, which I recommend. The tour started at 8:30 am at “Regal Cinema”. Direction a bus to reach Victoria Terminus or CST Local Train Station or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. The seats are not very comfortable but we are in India, not in France. Get in the bus is from the rear and the exit from the front. A controller comes to see you for the ticket. Along the bus, on the ceiling, is stretched a rope. This rope is connected to a bell to signal the driver when to leave. You have to go very fast during the get in …
We arrive quickly at Victoria Terminus. The interior is really beautiful. I managed to do a 3D panoramic that allows to realize the dimensions of the area of ??purchase tickets. Direction the platforms of this station. Do not go wrong because the train station is huge. The train arrives and we can continue our journey. What strikes first is the lack of a door to trains. Then, when you look at the ceiling, you are surprised by the many handles and metal rods that allow you to stand. The seats are also in shiny metal. I feel like I’m in a chrome train. Huge fans can cool the air but many Indians remain standing in front of the door. Our station arrives. You have to prepare. You have to go down in the direction of the train. The entrants are also moving in the direction of the train, it would look almost like a crossover if only, some, always try to want to climb faster and hinder the descent. It reminds me of something in Paris …
After this universe in metallic gray, colors hit our pupils. We are at the flower market. These are just shimmering colors from orange to white to red or blue. It’s an incredible universe. We are in full Divali, the flowers are transformed into multicolored braids, sold by the meter. The competition is great between these different merchants, it is the law of supply and demand, but especially of the one who will have the most beautiful flowers. The less beautiful are rejected but they are not lost so far. The poor sort them again to make braids and resell them in their turn. In India, nothing is lost, everything is transformed. It is the country of recovery but also of the resourcefulness.
Before continuing, a break to recover with a glass of tea flavored with ginger. Excellent remedy against fatigue, stomachaches and anything you want …
As we move forward, we are now approaching the truckers area. These men wait for the end of their loading to leave to plow the roads. These are trips of several days to reach remote areas and distribute their precious goods. A truck catches my eye The bottom of the truck is covered with a tarpaulin. On closer inspection, this tarpaulin is filled with water. What is my surprise when I distinguish in this murky water live fish, swimming quietly in this improvised pool. We are far from French refrigerated transport. The fish will come alive and therefore cooler than fresh. My only question is: “can a fish have motion sickness or seasickness” … smile ….
We take the train again and after a short walk, we are finally at an essential element of Mumbai: the laundry. The traditional launderette is still there despite the years. The neighboring hotels and restaurants continue to use the services of this huge “human factory”. No machine is used. Water tanks, like the washerwomen of my almost native south, and the sun to dry all that. I feel like I’m out of time. Behind this huge place that came from the past, buildings under construction remind us that we are well into the 21st century.
Here we go again by train to another symbolic place in India: Churchgate and the lunchbox carriers. Still this typical side of this unfathomable India. A very old system that remains non-mechanized. Numbers on the floor where the lunch boxes are placed and the delivery will be done when the porter has all the boxes to deliver. This transport will be done by bike, no mechanics in this system. Only change, the traditional metal boxes have disappeared stages in favor of these small insulated bags modern. If you have not seen Ritesh Batra’s movie “The Lunchbox”, I urge you to watch it. Take the opportunity to take a look at the link given below on the pictures of the film.
After the sight of all these meals, hunger begins to be felt. I can not describe what I have eaten except those rice chips that are soaked in more or less spicy sauces.
Finally satiated, we can leave by shared taxi to another place. Taxi-shared. The taxi leaves only when it is full, and it can be very full …. These taxis always make the same trip and you ask to get off when your destination arrives. It looks a bit like the Jeepneys of the Philippines. You pay on the way down.
The deliverance arrives. We will cross the bazaar, rather the big bazaar. This area looks like an outdoor garage. From everywhere car parts. Besides cars are even boned. Everything is recovered, sorted and stored. If you need a mechanical part, you will find your happiness. There is not only recovery, there is also repair. Thus some motorcycle tanks are debossed to restore their original condition following an accident. In this big bazaar, you will find everything: furniture, linen, cameras, telephones … but also in the covered area, fruits and legumes. It seems strange to see all these goods come together.
The end of the round is approaching. A city taxi, black and yellow taxi to Batanga Tank, Walkeshwar Temple in Malabar Hill. Then a family park where families come for lunch. From here we have a wonderful view of Back Bay and the buildings. It is finally 15h30, it is the end and return to “Regal Cinema”. This journey lasted 7:30 and we traveled a few kilometers. The night will be relaxing …
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Thanks to Chanta from Real Adventures Tours
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