Bombay has Asia's busiest train station with 2.5 million visitors a day and 1800-person capacity trains carrying 7000 people at rush hour. But the gothic buttressed station with it's impressive towering colonial grandeur is by far not the only thing world class in Bombay. The street food is to die for, with everything from fresh fruits and vegetables carved into appetizing slices to grilled sandwiches and omelets to deep fried everything.
Our visit to Bombay has centered around chasing down and stumbling on delicious eats, but all the while exploring street after street of clever Indians making a living selling libraries of books under tarps, rejuvenating leather shoes on the curb, vending out chai, or washing clothes at the enormous 140 year old dhobi ghat or giant human washing machine.
To dodge the heat, I paid a visit to the rich Prince of Wales Museum. I lost myself in the miniature Indian paintings that transitioned from painting on leaves to ornate scrolls of intricate depictions of gods. The highlight of the museum was the New York style natural history wing which featured a host of stuffed endangered and extinct animals labelled with amusingly outdated descriptions from the '60s. The white tiger, forever staring across the hall at a prized deer, was particularly magnificent.
Also on our walks of Bombay we saw India Gate, the Taj Hotel, the High Court, and a host of other historic buildings, most still serving their original purpose. The most interesting was St. Thomas' 1672 Cathedral which houses the graves of colonialists. The epitaphs were stunning and decorated with white marble sculptures. Many included animated character descriptions of the deceased with flourish words that hint at hidden flaws, suggesting that these men who came alone and suffered premature malarial deaths had their epitaphs written by the very same opportunistic folks receiving a promotion as consequence of the death.
We finished with a successful hunt for bhelpuri at the carnival-like Chowpatty Beach. While munching down on crisp fried thin rounds of dough mixed with puffed rice, lentils, lemon juice, onions, herbs, and chutney, we enjoyed making a Taj Mahal sand castle amongst the thousands of holiday makers strewn across the urban beach with it's toxic water lapping up against the ankles of a few brave naked toddlers.