Despite monsoon season and recent flooding, me and my girls braved the elements to enjoy a weekend trip to Mumbai.
One of our very first stops was Leopold Cafe. The sign boasts that it's been in business since 1871. I first heard of Leopold when reading Shantaram, an excellent novel set in Mumbai in which the main character frequents Leopold. The cafe was also a sight of the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which loom large in the memories of Indians. The cafe maintains high security at the door, but otherwise we enjoyed our drinks and had some laughs with our very amusing waiter.
|Maribel, Erica, and Karime at Leopold Cafe|
From there we visited the iconic monument of Mumbai, the Gateway of India. It was completed in 1924 to commemorate a visit by King George V. Placed at the Mumbai harbor, it looks out over the Indian Ocean. The view wasn't stunning on a cloudy day, but the archway remained impressive.
|Karime at the Gateway of India|
Later in the day, we entered another colonial landmark, the Chhatrapati Shivaji (Victoria) Terminus. The building was a spectacle of Gothic and Victorian architecture with gargoyles that almost rival Notre Dame. The inside was equally impressive. It was bright, airy, and clean, with sparkling gold columns. Let me remind you: This was a train station...in India. The contrast to Delhi's dark, dirty train station was striking.
|Is this really an Indian train station or are we being punked?|
We took a break from colonial architecture to view a modern marvel. Mukesh Ambani is the Chairman of Reliance Industries and one of the 10 richest people in the world. His "residence" houses 600 staff, is 27 stories tall, has 9 elevators and 3 helipads. The house actually wasn't on our itinerary, but our very helpful Uber driver suggested that it was just a small detour from our designated route, so we couldn't resist a photo op.
|The helipads are up there somewhere|
We returned to the colonial era for high tea at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. We stuffed ourselves with traditional tea fare like cucumber sandwiches and scones, but also added some Indian flare with pani puri and chaat. With that, our Mumbai monsoon weekend was over, without ever getting rained on. Nice job ladies!
|Pinkies out ladies!|