Welcome back to the Whisper at Port in Mumbai.
After a flight on Jet Airways a private Indian airline we have finally arrived back on ship in Mumbai. In the last few days we have had 5 hours of airline flight on Sri Lankan and Jet Airways, about 15 hours of bus time and have seen many sights and eaten many curry's. We did lose Janet today at the airport, Bus One left her behind. We feel bad as Harry & Peggy said to take care of her but we were on bus two so couldn't help bus one didn't do a count. She had Curry Revenge kind of like Montezuma and was left in the bathroom near baggage at the Mumbai Airport. Staff says they have located her. She was to have dinner with us last night but didn't make it. One bus ride of six hours and one of five along with misc. in town. You may think it is boring riding on the bus but there is no action film made to date that can match the thrill of a cross country bus ride in India! As our guide Aneel put it there are Many Many Oh My God moments. Aneel mentioned you do not have a Vacation/Holiday in India, you have an experience and that after you will need a holiday! We found he was right. 22 Million people in Delhi, 25 Million in Mumbai. Mumbai has 9 rats to each person so that would be 225 million rats. At a third of the size of the USA, India has three times the population. Just in the state of Agra that hosts the Taj they have over 200 million people and has a land area of 93,000 square miles, Wisconsin has 65,000 square miles and a population of under six million.
I mentioned "bonded Labor" in a prior post and was curious about what it really meant. How does one become a bonded laborer, are they foreign? How long do they have to work to work off the bond? Well here it is in India:
How does one become a bonded laborer? If your father has debt he cannot repay to a lender and has no collateral he may provide collateral in the form of his sons and they are "bonded" and go to work mostly in the rural brick factories. Are they paid for work? No, they are not. They receive food and shelter which is nothing but a hut and rice. How long I asked Aneel are they bonded for? For Life! Is this legal? No. But it is common practice. And it is India.
Angor Wat had 5,000 people per day and the Taj has 10,000 per day at $1,000 Rupee each half to the Gov't and half to the Taj.
Back at the Taj when we first walked in there was a minaret under renovation with bamboo poles up to the top. We saw movement from afar and it turned out to be over a hundred monkeys all having a good time all over. They left after the sun came up much to our disappointment.
Of the 25 million in Mumbai about 10 million live in slums but not all are poor. Poor is defined by the Indian poverty level. If you earn less than $100 US per month you are in poverty. They are so sophisticated in Mumbai we are told they have No Honking Zones for vehicles. Really? You cannot drive here without a horn and Like India itself there are rules and laws but as the old saying goes rules are meant to be broken. Dawn's harrowing cow/bull story will have to wait until next time. I will say she is very proud of the local guide that put himself in front of Dawn at his own potential harm. Helps he was Hindu and the cow was sacred and he always has the next life that will surely be better. Sacred cows: Reading the paper as said is an adventure. One state just made a new law that if you slaughter a cow or even purposely spill one drop of blood you get 10 to 14 years in prison. Another state made it the mandatory death sentence to slaughter a cow. We ate no cow while in India, no pig either. Cows and pigs are everywhere. Middle of most busy roads really. We think it's just the female cow that is sacred but not certain. We are certain though that the sacred female cow that produces more cows and much milk are highly valued. Once the cow cannot produce they let them go on their own sacred way. These are free roaming cows that cannot be touched. They hang out by dumpsters and roads where local Hindus feed them to increase their Karma. A Hindu is always in touch with his preacher. For a minor offense he must feed the pidgins. For a more serious offense you feed a monkey. You always feed the free roaming cows! Such is India and now on to the Middle East!
Moon Palace in Jaipur. Inside the private area they had art of past Moguls
Private area of Moon Palace we were able to see.
Our room at the palace hotel, our sitting room plus dining, bedroom and balcony, wow!
Jaipur City Palace home of the Moon Palace
Peacock near the pool, this place had over 200 of the noisy buggers.
King Sir Bill
Fort over Jaipur
Mumbai wash area. They have been washing clothes for the city since 1870. A shirt washed, pressed etc. is $20 Rupee, about 33 cents and it is perfect. This was a special stop by the bus just to see it.
Jaipur Airport bathroom. Special section for "Different Abled Toilet" John from Scotland saw it first.
The Palace in city area of Jaipur
Near touch down in Mumbai. This is the new city area
Older downtown Mumbai by the ocean