The Air is Everywhere!
18.05.2011 - 18.05.2011 36 °C
Scorching heat and overwhelming humidity did not stop this hearty band of adventurers from travelling by ferry from the Gate of India to Elephanta Island and its Temple Caves after breakfast and immigration clearance . As we caught a taxi to our ferry terminal at the Gate of India (dedicated to the landing in 1911 of King George V and Queen Mary) we were aware of just how bad the air pollution is here in Mumbai. Even at 6am the air is visible and palpable. We travelled 10 km across the Mumbai Harbour to the Island and its caves dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. the 9 rock cut panels, most of which were damaged by the Portugese in the early 16th Century. Our private tour was interesting and the local guide gave us a great deal of information about the carvings and their stories regarding Shiva and his wife Parvathi and their sons. To get to the caves we had to take a 1km trip on a small train and then we were to climb in the oppressive heat 128 steps to the Caves. As Celina had found the heat so difficult in Cochin we encouraged her to ride up the steps carried on a chair lifted by 4 strong men at a cost of $A10. By travelling on our own we saved over $100 and got to enjoy our experience without having to concern ourselves with the welfare of our fellow passengers.
After the visit to the temple cave we stopped to watch the local monkeys at play then started down the hill with stalls offering lots of non-temptations on either side. We paid our guide and re-boarded our ferry back across Mumbai harbour past vessels of many kinds and back to the gate of India and the nearby Taj Hotel which featured so much in the terrorist attacks of 2008. The bliss of being able to use the clean toilet facilities and to cool down to some extent was palpable. We then ventured out in the Grand Bazaar in the heat watching out for pickpockets and indulging in some shopping for blouses for Celina and books at ridiculously low prices for Melinda and Josh.
We caught a taxi back to the ship having each lost litres of sweat. Oh bliss oh joy to be cool and to have some rest in our AC cooled cabin - knowing that most people in this country would never experience our standard of life and could not imagine what we have experienced. As I sit in the cabin writing this Celina is up on deck watching tonight’s Movie Under the Stars - Eat Pray Love.
Tomorrow its off to Goa and its Portuguese background which lasted from 1501 until 1963 when the Portuguese finally allowed Goa to join the Indian Republic.