Bandra West, India
Saw another side of Mumbai completely today. In the past we’ve always been just around the airport for the odd night or even one driving from the cruise docks to the airport, but we’ve never explored before. Mainly because the areas we’ve seen have been appalling!!! But clearly this has been very unfair. Bit like judging London as a city if all you’d ever seen was Southall or the Isle of Dogs. No offense if you hail from either place but you know what I mean….Anyway, today we experienced glamorous Mumbai. The area around us for a start is really nice. Very green. Treelined streets with graceful old mansions. Some cobbles. Elegant churches and squares. A very European vibe.
But, I’m jumping ahead. We began with a lovely breakfast in our place prepared by the housekeeper. Steamed idli (rice cakes) with sauces, fresh papaya and mini bananas. A nice start. Then we called up an Uber taxi to take us to the Palladium mall downtown in Mumbai. What a relief when he rocked up in a car that had gps. No need to importune any beggars along the way then…..
Our route took us through Bandra and into the St Peter’s area at the very south of the tip of land and then we got the Bandra – Worli Sealink across the bay to South Mumbai. The Sealink is the most amazing bridge – a cable stayed bridge – which goes across the open sea. An incredible engineering project which reduced the journey time by over an hour. The bridge is an 8 lane hghway from which you get an amazing view of the Mumbai skyline which is getting more high rise with every year. Great skyscrapers dwarfing the old mansions and areas of slum.
The Palladium Mall anchors a massive modern shopping precinct downtown which links the Palladium with the Phoenix mall. The St Regis Hotel is in the middle of it all. The Palladium Mall was very nice indeed. 3 floors of super shopping of all types but pretty high end. Bob bought himself a new travel wallet in Hidesign to replace the Smythson one that got stolen at the airport on the way out. It was much cheaper but really fantastic leather. Hidesign make bags etc under their own brand name but they also manufacture for Radley. Really nice bags. We had a great time looking at all the stuff. It was incredibly hot outside so nice be in the a/c. There were shops outside in the linking area between the two malls. Boiling though. We had lunch in a Japanese/Oriental restaurant. Some dim sum. They were gorgeous.
Walked a ways to a shop called The Good Earth that has Indian handicrafts and homeware. All very nice things but very overpriced. Bit disappointed as I wanted to get some textiles but too expensive. Back to the mall and the heat must have got me as I managed to walk slap bang into the glass front of a store. I have no idea why or how I did this but it was a total miracle I didn’t walk right through because I hit the glass with quite some force. Broke my sunglasses (old ones) and got a right bang on my temple which I think will result in a black eye! It was sooo embarrassing. The bang was really loud and people came running from both inside and outside the shop! Bob was in the loo so he wasn’t there! I knocked myself a bit silly but was otherwise ok. Idiot!
Got a taxi back to the apartment around 4ish. Not a Uber but we have our bearings enough now that we can direct them. Had a rest – Mila the lady who owns our apartment and is super nice – gave me an ice pack and some aloe vera to put on my head. Had nice Facetimes with both the girls. Told them their father had been beating me again LOL!!! So nice to see them and talk to them. They sent me some lovely Mother’s Day messages. Only a few more days till we’re together now.
Tonight we went to the nearby Trident Bandra Hotel for dinner in their highly rated 022 restaurant. The food was good and the service was amazing but in all honesty it was very over-priced for what it was. Not as good value as the place we went to last night and nowhere near as good as the buffet at the JW Marriott Sahar where we ate back in January on the way out.
So, – headbutting aside – a lovely day in Mumbai – and a far far better impression of the city than we’ve had before. Not grim at all. Modern. Green. Very clean by Indian standards in the sections we visited. Great shopping.