15 April 2012, Gail’s trip log

Wonderful morning in Mumbai. Got up at 500 and watched them secure the ship and went and had some breakfast. Sat on the balcony and watched immigration officials come on board. Just before 700 we went to do our immigration and was expecting it to be a zoo – it was quick and easy and soon we had our tour stickers and were waiting for tour to be called. They actually called our 830 tour at 800 – wow – nothing like we had expected. So far, so good. Just as we reached the end of the gangway, we were stopped by immigration. Our passport numbers didn’t match the little card the ship had filled in for us to carry ashore. Had to go through four levels of officials before they just decided to cross out and change the number on the card and have us initial it. (Turns out that Princess had our old passport numbers in their computer – it is fixed now) Anyway, they held our tour and we still got away before any of the others and ours took off. First stop was the impressive ‘Gate of India’ at the edge of the harbor, which is also where the huge Taj Mahal Hotel is. It was great because being a Sunday and early in the day there was no traffic and not too many people about. Weather wasn’t even bad, though pretty humid. Guide spoke very good English and bus was not totally full, so overall a pretty ideal tour as bus tours in bit cities go. As we drove around the guide pointed out a great many of the important buildings. Next photo op stop was the main train station where, on work days, there are trains departing every 42 seconds carrying some 5000 people on each train. Over 6,000,000 people commute by train every day. Since it was Sunday, we didn’t get to see the guys who go to suburbs, collect hot lunches prepared by the wives, deliver them to the people’s offices at 1230 and then return the containers to their homes for them at 230. The service costs $6 a month. Stopped at the hanging gardens where I lost my footing squatting over the Asian type facility [i.e. hole in floor] and fell – Dan said too bad he didn’t get a photo of that! Next stop was the Gandhi House and Museum – we spent ½ hour there and it was awesome. Got picture of Dan in Gandhi’s Library in the house. Next stop was the Dobi Ghat, the huge outdoor laundry that you saw if you saw Slumdog Millionaire. Very interesting. We stopped at the Jain Temple, very ornate and many exotic statues, etc. Last stop, we had an hour at the Prince of Wales Museum. Beautiful grounds and buildings, but exhibits very much like any large museum – old statues, stuffed animals, etc. Good, but Gandhi was much more interesting. We were back on the ship by 100, totally exhausted. We had some lunch, then showered. I actually took a nap, Dan got pictures up since Internet was good – few back on ship then. About 100 people left for 2 day side trip to Taj Mahal. We don’t sail until early AM, but we will be asleep before 1000 I’m sure. Fantastic day.

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