Where the rich and the poor are borne – July 2011

After one month and two weeks I was back in Kenya and still no positive results from the Immigration in Kenya. After waiting for two more months in June I finally got the passport. I couldn’t believe it, after moving from one office to the next, taking my dad, my boyfriend and almost all my clan with me to talk to them and wasting so much time I finally got the passport.The following day I was at the Indian embassy applying for a visa. After two days  I went and collected my passport with an Indian visa valid for six months. It was hard saying goodbye to my family, they had been there for me all the time and all my world revolved around them and now I was not going to see them in not less than one year 😦 . But I had to leave.

My family

India; (A complete package.)

This would be my first flight and I was a bit anxious and nervous at the same time. It was hard for me to say goodbye to my family. Though they took me to the airport and I could not help but think that I would not see them again for one or two years. In Africa family is very important. It is the backbone of everything and it comes first before anything. We are brought up learning to embrace and to care for each other including our neighbors and to help each other in times of difficulties. It is this family warmth, embrace, love, care and this great people that I would miss for all the time I was away.

Before going to India the only thing I knew about it was the temple of the rats which I had learnt about through a documentary in National Geographic. But here I was on my first eight hours plane trip to India.

India is in South Asia, it is the seventh largest country and the second most populous nation in the world with 1.2 billion people. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the North-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. Most of the people are Hinduists but there are also Muslims and a Christian minority and other religions. The capital city is New Delhi but Mumbai is its largest city. The official Language is Hindi and English but there are other languages. India is like a continent – you can find everything.

Mumbai – India

On July 8th at five in the morning we were in Mumbai. We were going to a neighborhood called Colaba. Luckily, transport within the city is easily available and cheap, tuk tuks and taxis are found everywhere. We took a taxi but the distance turned out to be longer than we expected. Unfortunately, it was during monsoon, and it was raining all day and when it was not raining it was drizzling.

Mumbai is a city that is hard to describe especially to its size and population. It is a city of 20 million inhabitants; half the population of Kenya. It is a place where the rich and famous and the poor and forgotten come from. It holds the largest slum (Dharavi) in the world with one million inhabitants. The place where the movie “The slum dog millionaire” was shoot and the second most famous film city and one the biggest film producers in the world – Bollywood. Mumbai is full of life, heavy traffic, pollution and beggars but still you can go to other parts of the same city and feel like you are in a very clean modern place.

The Taj Mahal Hotel

Gateway of India was the first place we visited because it was very close to our hotel. Gateway is the most famous building in Mumbai. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. It is also the place where the last of the British ships left India. There were boats taking people to the Elephant Island which is nearby and you can get to see Cave temples and Elephanta caves caved out of the rock. Close to it, is the famous five stars Taj Mahal Hotel built in 1903 by Jamsedji Tata after he was refused entry into Watsons Hotel – which was the most famous hotel then – because he was not white. What if things worked this way this day? In the night it was full of families who came to take the fancy horse rides to and fro from the Colaba radio station to the gateway, enjoy the fresh fruit juices and really spiced food – that kept me on my toes all night until I got used – in the streets and do shopping.

The gateway of India.

 India was a British colony and there are some old Heritage buildings that are built using the Victorian Gothic architecture which makes them very beautiful. We took a whole day to visit these buildings.

Rajabai Tower

This building was built by the famous banker Seth Premchand Raichand and designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, as a memorial, to his beloved mother Rajabai.

The Rajabai tower

Rajabai tower

Bombay Municipal Buildings

 It was built between 1884 and 1893 with a 255 metres tower. It is still attractive and one of the beautiful buildings in Mumbai despite its age.

The municipal building

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

When I saw the building from outside I thought it was a palace or some important government building. This train station is one of the largest and most architectural buildings in India and one of the biggest train terminus in India.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

After three days in Mumbai, we left for Cochin in the South.

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