Friday, November 28, 2008


BBC live broadcast of this terror attack occupied most of the airing time since yesterday night.

Just recall my short stay in
Mumbai in Jan-06. The city has not much to offer to the tourists. The hostel where I was staying was just a stone’s throw from this landmark Taj Mahal Hotel (which was targeted in this attack). Offering the panoramic views of Arabian Sea and the Gateway Of India, the hotel was apparently frequented by the riches and elites. Elegantly dressed guests hopping in and out from the big luxurious cars, world famous fashion brand like LV and Gucci have their products displayed on the windows…

A few km away, the Chowpatty beach is lively at night. Locals spend their leisure evening strolling along the beach. The water is seriously polluted (but no awful stink), swimming is not recommended. A small food court to serve some snacks, a mini manually operated London Eye (ferries wheel) to cheer the kids, vendors are selling tea, groundnuts, corns… people is just satisfied to enjoy a serene evening hangout.

(manually operated ferries wheel)

On my way back to the hotel, an uniformed young man tried to strike a conversation with me. He managed only a few English words. Only I knew that he was asking me to snap a photo of him with my digital camera (such case happened quite common in India, especially in the rural area), with the beautiful night view as background. Technically it was not easy in the night time, to please him, I snapped one (of course no background can be seen).

Not far away… some homeless people were preparing their sleep on the bench, under the chilly starry nights… not only old folks, kids too… shivering. What an eye-sore in the city, and the Taj Mahal Hotel was just like a complete different world.

The grand Victoria Railway Station buidling was huge… I had never seen a public toilet with so many urinals. The sea of passengers flooded every corner. Somehow there was lacking of discipline and control in this railway station. Very often the overloaded wagons force some passengers hanging outside of the trains. For the convenience to the foreigners, we were allowed to enter the railway station before the office opening hour, and foreigners were allocated separate windows to buy train ticket. This saved lots of hassle to queue up with the locals.