Friday, November 11, 2005

India - Day 3 - Part 3

The final three destinations on our city tour of Mumbai were Haji Ali, Dhobi Ghat and Mani Bhavan.
Haji Ali is a really cool mosque that sits in the middle of the Arabian Sea at the end of a long causeway. At high tide, the mosque becomes an island (like Mont Saint Michel in France). This mosque contains the tomb of Haji Ali, who is a Muslim saint. He is believed to have been a wealthy local businessman who renounced the material world and meditated on nearby land after a pilgrimage to Mecca. Other versions of the story say that Haji Ali died on a pilgrimage to Mecca and his casket miraculously floated back to Mumbai and landed at this spot.

Dhobi Ghat was one of the most interesting things that we saw in Mumbai. It is an outdoor laundry where clothes are cleaned in open-air troughs to beat the dirt out them, then hung to dry. The clothes are brought from all over the city. The whole area looks kind of dirty, but amazingly the clothes get quite clean (I'm not sure about the whites). Apparently, they have some kind of special way of marking the clothes so they know what belongs to who! I read that many of the nice hotels bring their uniforms here to get laundered.

Mani Bhavan, the final stop on our tour, is the building where Mahatma Gandhi stayed when he visited Bombay between 1917 and 1934. They have turned it into a museum with displays that show highlights from Gandhi's life, along with some of his more famous quotes and letters that he wrote to famous leaders and authors. On the second floor they have encased in glass the actual room where Gandhi stayed, complete with original furnishings and other items that belonged to him. The brochure that we received at the museum stated that "Guandhi took his first lessons in carding from a carder who used to pass by Mani Bhavan every day in 1917. He also learned spinning here. Gandhi started his historic fast in 1921 to restore peace in the city of Bombay here. He was also arrested in his tent on the terrace of Mani Bhavan in 1932. Visiting this museum has made me want to rent the movie "Gandhi" again when we return to Canada. Gandhi's message of truth and non-violence were very inspiring.

As you can see, Day 3 of our trip was a long one, filled with a lot of sightseeing. When we got back to the hotel, we decided to go for a workout in the fitness centre to unwind. It was really nice and had all the most up-to-date equipment. In the ladie's locker room, there was an attendant who took really good care of everyone, and one in the men's locker room as well. I loved being pampered, but Gary found it a little trying when the attendant in the male side stood about 6 inches away and tried to practically undress him! It was a little more service than he wanted.

For dinner that night we went to a fantasic Japanese restaurant in the hotel that served sushi and tepanyaki (I think that's what you call it). Who ever thought we'd be eating Japanese food in India!

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