Wow, I can’t believe that it’s already our last day here. The time flew by so quickly! While I’m sad that our trip is nearing its end, we had a great last day in Mumbai. Our amazing guides Sandy and Joseph took us all around local marketplaces where we saw everything from papayas to parakeets.
First, we stopped by the train station where the “Jai Ho!” dance scene at the end of Slumdog Millionaire was shot, and witnessed firsthand the hustle and bustle of hundreds of passengers making their way around the city. There were people everywhere and long lines at the ticketbooth, and this was a slow day! Sandy and Professor Srinivasan told us that because the capacity doubles at rush hour, many passengers aren’t even inside the train when it’s moving! We also learned that tickets are checked on the bus at random, and the people checking are experts at face-reading, so they catch nine out of ten passengers who haven’t paid up.
After this, we went to the fruits and vegetables market where I saw some of the most colorful displays of melon, bananas, carrots and dried goods as well. I really liked seeing some of the products we have at home, like Toblerone bars and other candies but with Hindi written on the back. There were also many animals for sale here. The market was pretty crowded as well, with stray dogs walking through the aisles and men carrying baskets of goods on their heads.
We then ended the day with shopping. The sidewalk on the main drag was lined with vendors selling arrays of scarves, bangles, salwar kameezes, and tourist-y trinkets. Every single vendor tries to call you to his stand, so it’s easy to lose sight of what you came to buy in the first place.
I really enjoyed today’s adventures as a contrast to being in air-conditioned office buildings. Experiencing the market buying culture here was just as exciting as learning about the companies we visited. This was definitely high on the cultural immersion checklist for the trip.
I am so thankful to our wonderful tour guides and bus staff, Professor Callahan, Professor Srinivasan, Ms. Julie Labich, and Ms. Shana Schwartz for guiding us through the semester and the trip. Their never-ending efforts to keep this trip running smoothly and fun for us has been fantastic. We all really appreciate the time they have taken to look after us and offer us this invaluable experience. This trip wouldn’t be possible without them!
These blogs can’t even begin to describe how spectacular this trip has been. While we took tons of photos over the week, these can’t capture Mumbai the way it should be experienced. I would encourage anyone and everyone to visit at least once. As I finish packing my suitcase, I am very sad to leave, but have high hopes of returning in the future!
Jennifer Lina Cox