Alvinology goes to India - Day 2 of 14 - Alvinology

Alvinology goes to India – Day 2 of 14

We spent a full day exploring Mumbai (मुंबई)on our second day in India. As that day was also the one year anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai Attack, there were many vigil ceremonies, protests and rallies going on around the city.

We had breakfast at a restaurant called Moghlai, located opposite Leopold. This restaurant caters to the local and prices were less than half of those at Leopold while quality was around the same.

A rooster's crowing greeted out in the morning, outside our hotel
A rooster’s crowing greeted out in the morning, outside our hotel
In India, the rubbish truck is followed by crows, dogs and cows
In India, the rubbish truck is followed by crows, dogs and cows
Some stranger getting a morning shave
Some stranger getting a morning shave
Inside Moghlai restaurant
Inside Moghlai restaurant
Another picture of the restaurant
Another picture of the restaurant
Jeremy reading the local newspaper
Jeremy reading the local newspaper
Water was served, but we didn't dare to drink it... sigh
Water was served, but we didn’t dare to drink it… sigh
Indian breakfast for champions
Indian breakfast for champions

We ordered omelettes, chappati and a “veg fried” (some paste-like vegetable dish to go with the chappati).

Some Indian guy tried to chat us up again in the restaurant, claiming he was from the UK and could take us on a slum tour at a good price. His story is absolutely dubious. We just let he rambled on till we left the restaurant and bid him goodbye.

After breakfast, Jeremy had to interview some people to file a story on the 26/11 vigil back to Singapore for work. We headed to Leopold first to take a look. There was a rally group there, gathering signatures to condone violence.

Heightened security at Leopold
Heightened security at Leopold
People signing a banner that condone violence
People signing a banner that condone violence
Full view of the banner
Full view of the banner

We then headed to the Colaba Causeway where the bulk of the other media personnel were gathered. There were already several local TV news crew there when we reached. While Jeremy was interviewing people, Rachel and I got approached by two separate journalists from two different TV stations, one after another.

The three of us stood out like sore thumbs there, being among the few tourists present. If you do not count the ang mohs, we were likely the only three yellow-skinned people around. To the Indian journalists desperate for arresting sound bites, being foreign made us instant experts on foreigners’ sentiment on the situation in Mumbai. Not that we mind the attention, given that two of my travel companions are journalists too and all of us understood how stressful it was to get interviewees for breaking news.

Soldiers showing their support for the Mumbai spirit
Soldiers showing their support for the Mumbai spirit
Jeremy at work, interviewing strangers
Jeremy at work, interviewing strangers
Interview a school teacher who have brougth his students to show support
Interview a school teacher who have brougth his students to show support

Our first interview was with a channel called Focus TV, which the female journalist told us was a TV channel for  empowering modern women. The second was a channel called News X. We were surprised to catch our interview on News X the next day on our hotel television in the morning.

Rachel and I with the female journalist from Focus TV who interviewed us
Rachel and I with the female journalist from Focus TV who interviewed us
Chatting with the Indian journalist as we wait for the camera to go LIVE
Chatting with the Indian journalist as we wait for the camera to go LIVE
We were grabbed by this journalist from News X after our first interview
We were grabbed by this journalist from News X after our first interview
Our second interview with News X
Our second interview with News X
Rachel on News TV - we saw this on TV the next morning
Rachel on News TV – we saw this on TV the next morning
Me on Indian TV
Me on Indian TV

We came across an interesting man in front of the Taj Hotel. His name is Manohar Patil. He was an ex-soldier from Latur City and had lost his family in the Latur earthquake. Since there, the man had been touring India on foot to spread his message of peace. Here are some pictures of him waving the India flag and chanting away:

Monahal Patil waving the India flag
Manohal Patil waving the India flag
Calling to the sky
Calling to the sky
Fly birds fly
Fly birds fly
A crowd start to gather around him
A crowd start to gather around him
A guy getting interviewed for his candle vigil
A guy getting interviewed for his candle vigil

After Jeremy filed his story, we took the subway to Grant Street to head to Mani Bhavan (Gandhi Sangrahalaya), a famous Mahatma Gandhi memorial house.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) is a man whom I respect very much for his non-violent approach to resistance. Via Wikipedia, Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa or total nonviolence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Entrance to the underground subway
Entrance to the underground subway
It was near rush hour and the subway was quite crowded
It was near rush hour and the subway was quite crowded
Queuing the get our subway tickets
Queuing the get our subway tickets
Our subway tickets
Our subway tickets
In India, the PAP guys are train drivers
In India, the PAP guys are train drivers
The Indians are good at balancing things on their head
The Indians are good at balancing things on their head
Our first ride on the Indian subway
Our first ride on the Indian subway
Jeremy prefers to stand and enjoy the passing scenery
Jeremy prefers to stand and enjoy the passing scenery
Signs of 26/11 was everywhere that day - seen here are some grisly pictures of the attack
Signs of 26/11 was everywhere that day – seen here are some grisly pictures of the attack, put on display for the public
A larger collage poster
A larger collage poster
The victims
The victims

We spent quite some time at Mani Bhavan, going through the great man’s life history. At the end of our tour, we were further disgusted by the evils of the British during the colonial era on the pain they have inflicted on many Asian countries and the mess they left behind when they pulled out. The artificial division of India and Pakistan into two countries is one case in point.

Cows are everywhere in India
Cows are everywhere in India
A small sewing shop which we passed by
A small sewing shop which we passed by
I have no idea what this vehicle is carrying
I have no idea what this vehicle is carrying
Rachel at a random Indian street
Rachel at a random Indian street
Cheery kids on a school bus we passed by
Cheery kids on a school bus we passed by
The unasuming Bhani Bhavan, just like Ghandi himself
The unasuming Bhani Bhavan, just like Gandhi himself
A smiling figurine of Ghandi greeted us when we stepped in
A smiling figurine of Gandhi greeted us when we stepped in
Rachel looking up to Ghandi
Rachel looking up to Gandhi
Inside the library, filled with Ghandi's books
Inside the library, filled with Gandhi’s books
A quote on democracy
A quote on democracy
How the India flag design came about
How the India flag design came about
Picture of Ghandi when he was a young law student in Britain
Picture of Gandhi when he was a young law student in Britain
A room displaying the few of Ghandi's worldly possession
A room displaying the few of Gandhi’s worldly possession
Full shot of the room
Full shot of the room
The few items which Ghandi carries with him
The few items which Gandhi carries with him
A letter Ghandi wrote to Hitler
A letter Gandhi wrote to Hitler
Gandhi posters
Gandhi posters
One of the most famous picture in the 19th Century
One of the most famous picture in the 19th Century
Ghandi's house in the later phase of his life
Gandhi’s house in the later phase of his life
Ghandi and us
Gandhi and us
It all started when young Gandhi was kicked off a "White Only" train
It all started when young Gandhi was kicked off a “White Only” train
Ghandi getting married
Gandhi getting married
Ghandi leading the iconic salt march
Gandhi leading the iconic salt march
Ghandi meets his wife for the first time
Gandhi meets his wife for the first time
Ghandi inciting his countrymen to burn European-style clothing
Gandhi inciting his countrymen to burn European-style clothing
Ghandi in his signature loin cloth before a British judge
Gandhi in his signature loin cloth before a British judge
Ghandi by his death bed, visited by key figures in Indian politics then
Gandhi who was sick from fasting, visited by key figures in Indian politics then
The moment when Ghandi was shot
The moment when Gandhi was shot
Gandhi's cremation
Gandhi’s cremation
Parting shot
Parting shot

We had lunch at a nearby restaurant called By the Way Cafe. Jeremy’s friend, a local journalist came to join us from here. Rachel and I had ordered mutton cutlets with gravy to share. Jeremy’s friend recommended us to a dish called pani puri – a dough dish with lots of interesting spices and toppings. It was delicious! The taste oscillates between sweet and minty with each bite. Very flavourful.

Outside By The Way restaurant
Outside By The Way restaurant
Rachel and I waiting for our food
Rachel and I waiting for our food
Mutton patties
Mutton patties
Pani puri - a must-try in India
Pani puri – a must-try street snack in India

After lunch, Jeremy’s friend brought us to CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) or Victoria Terminus, an iconic building in Mumbai. We parted way there as she still have to go back office for work.

We did a little shopping then. I bought two linen kurta at a shop called Cotton Cottage at around S$10 each. This proved to be a very good buy as they were really comfortable. We should be wearing more of these in Singapore. These are more suited for our climate than shirts and ties, fancied by ang moh.

Inside an Indian Padmini cab, known as "black and yellow" by the locals
Inside an Indian Padmini cab, known as “black and yellow” by the locals
Getting out of our cab when we reached our destination
Getting out of our cab when we reached our destination
At CST
At CST
Rachel and I at CST
Rachel and I at CST
Majestic stone lions outside the building
Majestic stone lions outside the building
Another picture of CST which looks equally grand from all directions
Another picture of CST which looks equally grand from all directions
There were lots of shoe polishers like this chap here in the business district
There were lots of shoe polishers like this chap here in the business district
Roadside drink stall
Roadside drink stall
Street hawkers
Street hawkers
Inside Cotton Cottage, the shop where I bought my kurtas
Inside Cotton Cottage, the shop where I bought my kurtas
The two linen kurtas that I bought
The two linen kurtas that I bought
A construction site
A construction site
We were lost...
We were lost…

We then navigated our way to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) where we spend quite a few hours exploring, taking a crash course on the long history of ancient India. Rachel and I had a nasty encounter with an obnoxious Indian lady here. We had paid for a camera pass and were allowed to take photos in the museum without flash. The rude lady came out of nowhere and warned us sternly to delete all our photos or face a 5000 rupee fine.

Peeved, Rachel challenged her to show us the 5000 rupee fine warning sign and asked her whether she was a museum staff while I showed her my camera pass.

The lady then sheepishly look away and quickly stormed off with her young daughter in tow. We never found out what her agenda was in chiding us needlessly. It could not have been to cheat money from us as she sounded educated and looked well-to-do from her dressing. It’s likely just pure snobbery.

The exterior of the Prince of Wales Museum
The exterior of the Prince of Wales Museum
A paid camera pass is required to take photos in the museum
A paid camera pass is required to take photos in the museum
Getting our audio guides which were very informative
Getting our audio guides which were very informative
Rachel and I in the museum
Rachel and I in the museum
Rachel at the first stop of the audio tour
Rachel at the first stop of the audio tour
The first floor sculpture gallery
The first floor sculpture gallery
Me beside a random statue
Me beside a random statue
There were many damaged sculptures like this
There were many damaged sculptures like this
Ancient wall carving
Ancient wall carving
Ganesh and other important HIndi gods
Ganesh and other important HIndi gods
A larger statue of Ganesh
A larger statue of Ganesh
I like this set of statues
I like this set of statues
Rachel slowly going through the statues
Rachel slowly going through the statues
Alexandra the Great
Alexandra the Great
Intricate ivory carving
Intricate ivory carving
These are not blood, but paint used in the Holi festival celebration
These are not blood, but paint used in the Holi festival celebration
An old painting
An old painting
Small painting with scriptures
Small painting with scriptures
Some royal carriage
Some royal carriage
Rotund figurine with a baby
Rotund figurine with a baby
At the Chinese gallery
At the Tibetian gallery – Rachel looks peeved as we just met the rude Indian lady
Golden Buddha statue
Golden Buddha statue
Another statue with a rounder physique
Another statue with a rounder physique
Buddha sculptures
Buddha sculptures
Fiercing looking statue
Fiercing looking statue
A small portion of the huge collection belonging to the Tata family
A small portion of the huge collection belonging to the Tata family
More artefacts belonging to the Tata family
More artefacts belonging to the Tata family
Still more Tata family's artefacts collected from around the world
Still more Tata family’s artefacts collected from around the world
Chinese snuff bottles
Chinese snuff bottles
Jeremy examining the snuff bottles in detail
Jeremy examining the snuff bottles in detail
Some oriental exhibit, belonging again to the Tata family
Some oriental exhibit, belonging again to the Tata family
A figurine in the Japanese collection
A figurine in the Japanese collection
Japanese water trolls
Japanese water trolls
Rachel enjoying a quiet moment in the museum, listening to the audio guide
Rachel enjoying a quiet moment in the museum, listening to the audio guide
At the European paintings gallery
At the European paintings gallery
Muscle bodied painting
Muscle bodied painting
A European-styled painting with the genital defaced
A European-styled painting with the genital defaced
Coat of arm
Coat of arm
Mughal swords
Mughal swords
A gallery devoted to Krishna, arguably the most popular Hindi god
A gallery devoted to Krishna, arguably the most popular Hindi god
Krishna was a babe magnet
Krishna was a babe magnet
Krishna and the love of his life
Krishna and the love of his life
A more life-like depiction of Krishna and his lover
A more life-like depiction of Krishna and his lover
The many faces of Krishna
The many faces of Krishna
Cartoon version of Krishna
Cartoon version of Krishna
The new extension - Museum of Natural Science, which we found rather lame as it contains nothing but exhibits of fake or stuffed animals
The new extension – Museum of Natural Science, which we found rather lame as it contains nothing but exhibits of fake or stuffed animals
The inside of a frog
The inside of a frog
Stuffed squirrel
Stuffed squirrel
Rachel and I with a plastic rhino which we could see no purpose of exhibiting
Rachel and I with a plastic rhino which we could see no purpose of exhibiting
Sea creatures section
Sea creatures section
Stuffed bird
Stuffed bird
Horny boy caught in the act, carassing the breast of a female statue
Horny boy caught in the act, carassing the breast of a female statue
One last picture taken in the museum
One last picture taken in the museum

After the museum, we walked to the nearby Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. The Synagogue was donated by a rich Jewish merchant, David Sassoon, who also donated the library we visited on our first day.

Outside the light blue coloured synagogue
Outside the light blue coloured synagogue
The synagogue interior
The synagogue interior
Muse - an upmarket fashion boutique opposite the synagogue
Muse – an upmarket fashion boutique opposite the synagogue
Recycling, Indian-style
Recycling, Indian-style

We took a cab to Marine Drive, hoping to have dinner at a restaurant by the sea called Saltwater, recommended by the Lonely Planet guidebook. Alas, the restaurant had closed down!

At the quiet and empty Marine Drive
At the quiet and empty Marine Drive
Another picture of the sea
Another picture of the sea

We enjoyed the sea breeze for a little while and then took a cab back to the synagogue area where another highly reviewed restaurant, Trishna, was located. If you visit Mumbai, you must dine  at Trishna. The food there was really wonderful. It is located at Birla Mansion, Sai Baba Marg (next to Commerce House), Kala Ghoda, Fort, Colaba.

Trishna restaurant
Trishna restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant

We ordered the signature Bombay Duck (it’s actually a type of fish), prawn curry, masala squid, cheese naan, solkadi (a weird pink coloured spicy drink) and salted lime soda.

This dinner will be our best meal through our India trip. The Bombay Duck is highly recommended. It’s a crispy fried fish with tiny edible bones.

This is a Bombay Duck
This is a Bombay Duck
Prawn curry
Prawn curry
Masala squid
Masala squid
Jeremy digging in
Jeremy digging in
Energised, after a satisfying meal at Trishna
Energised, after a satisfying meal at Trishna

After dinner, we headed back to the Colaba Causeway again to check out the 26/11 vigil activities. There were lots of protest and rally groups around. We did not feel we were in any imminent danger as there were lots of armed police and soldiers around. The city has braced itself for any attack on that day.

The news crew we saw in the morning were all still there
The news crew we saw in the morning were all still there
Rachel and I
Rachel and I
There were many tanks and armoured vehicles on the street
There were many tanks and armoured vehicles on the street
Rousing mob who passed by us under heavy security escorts
Rousing mob who passed by us under heavy security escorts
Waving some posters while chanting slogans
Waving some posters while chanting slogans
A lighted poster on 26/11
A lighted poster on 26/11
People lining candles outside the Taj Hotel, to honour the vicitims of 10/11
People lining candles outside the Taj Hotel, to honour the vicitims of 26/11
Lots of people came to lit a candle
Lots of people came to lit a candle
Me in front of the candle vigil
Me in front of the candle vigil
Two of the victims
Two of the victims
More candles
More candles
Lots of security personnel like these milling around
Lots of security personnel like these milling around
26/11 vigil at a nearby church
26/11 vigil at a nearby church

Rachel was craving for something sweet, hence we bought a butterscotch with swirl cone at McDonald. It’s kind of surreal to be eating a McDonald ice cream in front of tanks and marching mobs.

Ordering an ice cream
Ordering an ice cream
Rachel enjoying her ice cream with heavily armed soldiers behind us
Rachel enjoying her ice cream with heavily armed soldiers behind us

We passed by Leopold again. There were some Bollywood stars performing there and a huge crowd had gathered, causing a traffic jam. The three of us rushed in to catch a glimpse, out of curiosity. It was a stupid thing to do as Rachel and I almost got crush in a stampede as one of the Bollywood star, Vivek Oberoi took his leave. The crowd of mostly male young men started pushing inwards while Rachel and I tried to get out, startled by the crazy mob. We had to hold on tight to a lamp post or would have been pushed down and crushed. Jeremy fared better and managed to push his way to the front and snap a picture of the star. After our experience that night, we are now convinced how fanatical Bollywood fans can be.

Jam-packed Leopold due to presence of Bollywood stars
Jam-packed Leopold due to presence of Bollywood stars
The crowd spilled onto the roads, causing a traffic jam
The crowd spilled onto the roads, causing a traffic jam
Rachel and I who obviously do not understand what the fuss was about
Rachel and I who obviously do not understand what the fuss was about
Everyone was trying to get a glimpse of the Bollywood stars
Everyone was trying to get a glimpse of the Bollywood stars
Crowd surging forward as the star takes his leave
Crowd surging forward as the star takes his leave
Jeremy's shot of Vivek Oberoi, the star who among caused a stampede
Jeremy’s shot of Vivek Oberoi, the star who among caused a stampede
Look at all the excited faces - strange thing is, they are all males!
Look at all the excited faces – strange thing is, they are all males!

We then headed back to our hotel to rest, tired after spending the entire day out. Tomorrow, we will be leaving Mumbai and catching an early flight to Delhi. Stay tuned to my next update. 🙂

My previous blog posts on India:

India High! (Rachel’s my paper article)

Day 1 of 14 – Mumbai, Colaba Causeway

Technorati Tags: mumbai travel, dining in mumbai, trishna, trishna mumbai, bombay duck, masala squid, curry prawn, vivek oberoi, bollywood star, leopold, mumbai 26/11, 26/11 attack, 26/11 vigil, 26/11 anniversary, tourist at mumbai 26/11 anniversary, moghlai, moghlai restaurant, focus tv india, focus tv mumbai, news x india, news x, news x mumbai, taj hotel, taj mahal hotel 26/11, manohar patil, latur city, mani bhavan, gandhi sangrahalaya, mahatma gandhi, mohandas karamchand gandhi, satyagraha, mumbai subway, india subway, by the way cafe, by the way cafe mumbai, pani puri, panipuri, cst, mumbai cst, chhatrapati shivaji terminus, victoria terminus, cotton cottage mumbai, cotton cottage, linen kurta, indian kurta, mumbai padmini cab, padmini cab, mumbai black and yellow, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, prince of wales museum, krishna, krishna gallery, alexandra the great, museum audio tour, ivory carving, the tata family museum collection, the tata family, museum of natural history, keneseth eliyahoo synagogue, david sassoon, muse mumbai, marine drive mumbai, marine drive saltwater, birla mansion, sai baba marg, commerce house mumbai, kala ghoda, colaba causeway, colaba, dining at trishna, india mcdonald

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