Sources of Traffic Jams #243: Cows

Contrary to popular belief, cows don’t roam freely in Mumbai. Rather they are tied up on the side of road outside my apartment so that people on their way to work can feed them balls of rice or handfuls of grass purchased from the cows’ caretakers.

Inside the Taj Palace Hotel

I’ve probably walked 100 times up the first story of the red staircase inside the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai. It wasn’t until I was looking down that I realized how spectacular the building actually is from the inside.

Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai’s Laundromat

Sacs of clothing come in all directions to Dhobi Ghat. They’re tied together in old saris, coded by the household from which they originated.

Scrubbing happens on the sides of giant cement tubs.

There are a few electric washing machines to be found, but the most common washing method is to simply beat the garment against a cement block.

A santa suit was a source of entertainment.

A lot of new garments are laundered at Dhobi Ghat. Below, kids play in the shade underneath hundreds of new pink shirts.

Hundreds of cement tubs fill the neighbourhood, each with a slab for beating clothes clean.

Another corner of Dhobi Ghat is home to hundreds of irons. Electric irons are still in the minority. Most of the irons hold hot coals.

Being a large community, life goes on throughout the neighbourhood, like this gentleman getting a shave.

Mumbai’s Sassoon Docks

The Sassoon Docks are a good old fashioned fishing wharf in Mumbai. Boats tie up against the wall and catch is offloaded by baskets up to the pier.

Parking is a little crazy. The approved technique seems to be to ram the boat at the entrance to the harbour and push your way in.

Changing a lightbulb

The light changing team was amused and confused by my desire for a photo. I just liked the colours and the lines.

The pigeon feeding area

Just outside of our apartment complex in Mumbai is a stretch of sidewalk listed in Google maps as “Pigeon Feeding Area.” What they mean is “large cement pit, covered in excrement, overrun by by pigeons and rats.” Everything in the neighbourhood is covered in pigeon crap, except for the guy under the giant umbrella who sells feed to passerbys needing whatever little karma boost can be obtained from supporting the production of toxic poop.

Looking up at a 747

I was standing around waiting on the tarmac and thought this Thai Airways 747-400 looked pretty impressive from the ground.

The strategic mango reserve

Sarah asked me if I knew exactly how many mangos I ordered. I had forgotten the exact number, but I was aiming for a lot. I clearly succeeded.

For perspective, that bowl is about three feet in diameter.

One of my biggest disappointments of life in Mumbai was the day last year, shortly after our arrival, that I was informed that mango season was over and they wouldn’t be available for another ten months. I wasn’t about to let that happen again, so now we have a freezer full of mangos; a stockpile that will hopefully fill cravings through from August until next May.

The Mumbai Sea Link

As a dense city running the length of a narrow peninsula, Mumbai is known for its traffic congestion. Developers came up with the solution of building a highway out into the Arabian Sea and called it the Sea Link. Both these photos were taken around sunset on the same evening. The light was changing rapidly, leading to two completely different photos.

HMCS Winnipeg in Mumbai

The Canadian flag was flying proudly off the bow of the HMCS Winnipeg, with the domes of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Bombay Municipal Corporation building in the distance.