Friday, January 26, 2007

Final Word on Bombay

I could talk all day about Bombay, but I'm running out of interesting pictures and this blog is nominally about Shanghai, so this will be the last update - there's a little more to say on Amritsar and Delhi, though.

First of all, while I showed a few pictures of the Gateway of India, that's just one example of a legacy of old colonial-era buildings that dot the area. Shanghai also has impressive colonial-era buildings, but Bombay's are much grander. For instance, the Victorian-era train station:

The design elements seems simultaneously familiar and new to me, I suppose it would be called neo-Gothic? I normally associate the style with a pristine museum, not something that actually feels in-use and alive. Here's a short video of street traffic in front of the station:

Cricket is a Bombay obsession, the tabloid newspapers kept talking about the sport, it would come up in advertisements over and over. Popular stars endorse products, and also it's shown as a typical activity of a healthy young person. I often came across games, while walking and driving around Bombay. I don't know much about cricket except that is seems to involve wearing white clothes.

While I don't travel expecting international-grade 5 star hotel-bars, I admit I found the constant crowded poverty of Bombay a little overwhelming, and decided to take a break in what I understand is the biggest, snootiest mall in the city, Phoenix Mills. It was one McDonald's, a few dollar stores, an international-goods grocery store, and a few empty boutiques...while I saw it's undergoing a major expansion, in Shanghai it would be just a normal neighborhood shopping center. Oh, this was about the only place in Bombay I saw other foreigners.

Finally I can't empasize enough that Bombay (and the rest of India) is without doubt the most visually splendid place I've ever been, and I've been around!

If these photographs don't quite match up to what I saw, it's because of my lack of talent of picking out the interesting photographs from a crowded area, and that the cheapish P&S cameras I brought weren't quite up to the job - particularly my Canon A510 which I ditched early on. I'd recommend any traveller to India to bring a small and quick camera, and then bring an ultra-zoom, or even better, a DSLR. An anti-haze filter wouldn't hurt. Have a look around Flickr's Pictures from India, wow!

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