Last two days in South India

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Novotal Mumbai

Flag of India  , Mahārāshtra,
Monday, December 13, 2010


MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!












1.  cruise boat to Elephanta Island   2.  first cave    3.  third cave
4.  Mumbai ad boards   5.  cave sign   6.  first cave front
7.  sculpture      8.  Taj & India Gate   first cave side entrance





Dec 13: MUMBAI (and Bombay) is also called Bollywood, because they produce the most movies in the world.  Mumbai is big and relatively clean, and their airport looks good on the surface, but the construction is shabby with the stainless steel metal barriers and fences outside are dented and wobbly.  The toilet has no seats, and no toilet paper.    It's a good thing I always carried some with me. 


We waited over an hour for our bus to arrive to take us to our hotel.   The local guide told us that our keys and rooms were ready when we got on the bus, but once we arrived at the hotel, we waited another half hour before getting our keys.   It seems everything here is disorganized.    It's now 6:30PM, and we're meeting in the lobby at 7:30 to meet for dinner at a restaurant
that's a half hour away during commute hour which means we waste one hour in travel time just to have dinner.   Organization is poor, but we must be flexible.

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I'm still glad to have taken this extension to Goa and Mumbai, because I've heard of these two destinations for many years, and now my curiosity has been satisfied.    Our tour for tomorrow
starts at 7:30AM - a full day affair that includes the India Gate, a 1.5 hour cruise to Elephanta Island, and a city tour.

On the Elephata Caves:
  The name Elephanta originated with the Portugese after they found massive elephant structure on the island in the 18th c AD.  The basalt rock carved Hindu cave temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and date back to the 5-7th c AD.  The famous idol of the Maheshmurti Shiva has earned the cave international acclaim.  The three heads of Aghora, Tatpunsha, and Vandeva with Sadyojata at the back, and Shana at the top. 

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We started today's touring by driving over 1.5 hours to India Gate, and a cruise to Elephanta Island where they have on the hill five elephant caves carved into stone.   We were able to take
some pictures of India Gate and the Taj hotel where President  Obama stayed during his recent visit to India.   This is the same hotel  that terrorists bombed a few years ago.  

After cruising for about 1.5 hours, we arrived at Elephanta Island, and had to go up some (150 or
so) steps to the top of the mountain where the caves are.  The first  one was the most impressive with the depth and art sculptures within  them.   I thought I would do some research after I got home rather than following the local guide explain it to us.   I finished early, so I
walked back down, stopped at a restaurant, and had a cold soft drink.  

From Wiki:
"Known in ancient times as Gharapuri, the present name Elephanta, was given by 17th century Portuguese explorers, after seeing a monolithic basalt sculpture of an elephant found here near the entrance. They  decided to take it home but ended up dropping it into the sea because
their chains were not strong enough. Later, this sculpture was moved to the Victoria and Albert
Museum (now Dr Bhau Daji lad Museum) in Mumbai, by the British.[1]
"







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We leave for the airport tomorrow at 5:30PM for a 19+ hour flight from Mumbai to NYC, and another six hours from NYC to SFO.  I'm dreading the long trip day, but welcome the fact that we'll be headed home where I want to eat a hamburger with fries.   It sounds like gourmet food to me!

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Dec 14: MUMBAI
Our Novotel hotel in one of the suburbs of north Mumbai has some name hotels such as Intercontinental, and we were told most business people and movie actors live in this district.   Although our hotel was only one block from the Arabian Sea, we didn't have time on our own to explore, because we left early in the morning for our tour, and didn't return to our hotel until 4:15PM with our schedule to catch the bus to the airport at 5:30PM.   We still had to shower and pack before we began our long trip home that'll take over 30-hours.


After our cruise back to India Gate, we took the bus to a local McDonald's for lunch.   Since they don't serve hamburger, most of us had either fish or chicken sandwiches with french fries and a soft drink for about 150 rupees (about $3.30). 

Our last views of Mumbai before heading back to our hotel to prepare for our trip home.



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Dec 15: Arrived in NYC at 5:45AM, and had to ride the sky train from terminal 4 to terminal 2 to catch my flight to SFO.

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Security lines here are very slow, but I "had" over four hours layover, so I didn't worry.   After I arrived at gate 22, I had breakfast at a restaurant that serves great breakfasts.  I had the french toast with berries and maple syrup, two sunny-side up fried eggs, and cup of coffee for $20 (includes tip), but that was the best meal I've had in over three weeks!

I'm (finally) home.





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