We head out to see the Dhobi Ghats, a nine strong crowd of backpackers of mixed nationalities all residing at the Anjali Inn. This is where 10,000 workers grind out a 20 hour day washing clothes in traditional ways passed down through generations. We have a tour guide who takes us deep into the ghats allowing us to take pictures and talk to the workers.
The English contingent and a Russian head to see the Muslim temple, The Haji Ali. The man on the door doesn’t allow me entry into the actual temple as I’m wearing shorts. He laughs at me, I feel very white, wishing I could speak Hindi so I could show him up. Fuck him. The temple is nice and the other people even nicer still.
However, the poverty and filth is disturbing. After finishing a samosa from one of the street food stalls, I asked where the bin was. Locals pointed to the floor and to the open sewage stream in the street. Seriously? You want me to litter your city? I realise I can’t change things. If I put my rubbish in a bin. The owner of the bin will no doubt empty the rubbish back out onto the street. I learn the ways of India, the unlogical way of life they lead as they smile happily, walking around in their own filth. I observe, I learn.
As we leave the temple, positioned out on the Arabian Ocean, I bump into Ben and his Mrs, the English couple I’d met on my first day. Sixteen million people occupy this heaving, vibrant city and I bump into them twice in three days. They take us to see the place where Ghandhi spent many of his years, now a dedicated museum. I learn and now understand about the importance of this great man and his role in liberating the people of India from its cruel dictators, my ancestors.
I leave Mumbai soon, the crazy sights and sounds too much for me take in. Most tourists leave quickly, unable to grasp the pace. I have enjoyed my first taste of travelling, thrown in at the deep end I continue my travels to Goa in search of clean sea and sand, to chill out and gather my self after the nuclear bomb that was Mumbai!