While we were availing ourselves of Shailesh and Nilima's hospitality and waiting for our Chinese visas to come through so we could plan onward travel, we actually did get out and about a bit. They live in a part of town called Worli Sea Face, so we walked up and down the waterfront several times (smog is original, not added for effect).
We also went into the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where the effects of the terrorist attacks are completely invisible, though we did get patted down on entry.
Mumbai is a great place to shop, and Nilima took us one day to Linking Road. There are super shops to buy inexpensive Indian outfits and tunics, and I filled my bags. I am going to live in these clothes during Austin summer 2012.
There are also a couple of museums in town, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Majaraj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum. My foreigner brain finds the older name quite a bit easier to remember.
There was a fascinating and informative exhibit on traditional Indian miniature painting, which taught us a LOT about what to look for when we went later in our trip to Rajasthan, where you practically have to wade through drifts of this type of painting to reach the tourist sites.
There was a special exhibition by an 18th century master named Nainsukh, whose work was spare and beautiful, but no pictures were allowed in that hall. (A movie was made recently about Nainsukh; we'll have to track it down.)
Mumbai also has a National Gallery of Modern Art, though we found the folks set up outside and some of the nearby ancillary exhibition spaces more to our liking. In this one, we crunched through leaves and the smell of autumn while admiring precisely rendered faces and lines.
The Hajj Ali mosque has a dramatic setting out in the bay, and drew our eyes each time we passed.
An example of the rules in force when you visit a Jain temple:
3 and 5 are my favorites.
And they're quite serious, too - not mentioned here, but also good to know, is that your bags will be searched to see if you're carrying anything made of leather. Luckily my wallet is paper...
And we bought train tickets, in a fairly straightforward and not particularly painful manner! There was a special window for foreigners at the ticket center and everything. I'm not sure why our visit was the time they chose to bust out the circular saws and welding tools, but the high-pitched mechanical whine sure did add to the inherent fun of waiting in line!
And that was Mumbai! For all its hugeness, it's a pretty laid back city that we really enjoyed, thanks to our terrific hosts. Another big thank you to Shailesh and Nilima!