>I think Bombay deeply affected everyone who went ashore that day. Everyone came back a little bit different, everyone had a story to tell in the crew bar that night. I don’t think many of us have ever seen such a degree of chaotic poverty.
That was the opinion of most. But perhaps, since I have seen Bombay before, it seemed quiet (on a Sunday) and quite well-off. Perhaps the shock value of it has worn off.
Of course, near the port gate you get harassed by millions of poor. It is a bit of a mafia racket, women holding babies, children holding babies, begging for coins. They know the right places to stand, and I am sure these women made quite a sum of money today. It is rumoured that they borrow the babies for this purpose. I have no idea. I am not saying that they’re well-off, just that there is something fishy going on here.
If you watch closely, the real poor are the ones the Indians will give to. For example, old ladies and men without limbs at traffic lights in random parts of the city. If you see your cab driver give 10c, you know it is a just cause. A friend of mine bought $60 worth of groceries for a whole family living on the street. They were all crying, apparently it was a very touching and humbling scene. The idea that with less than a day’s salary you could really affect some one’s well being, that is something pretty powerful.
On the way to see the big laundry, we saw some homes on the edge of the highway. At least these people have homes. I heard that 55% of people living in Bombay are homeless.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we saw the gardens.
The day was hot. Close to 40 degrees, I am guessing. And as I always try and dress modestly (in places like these), I was sweltering in my long dress and button-up blouse.
Like I said, the day was hot. Very hot. And what better thing to cool you down then..
No, not Ice Cream, guess again…
Now, you all remember that our washing machines were out of order. And in such a hot climate, we were running out of clothes. Good thing the laundry mat had just opened, otherwise I would have joined this family with my washing at the river outfall.
Now, if you can afford it, you can spend the 30 rupees for your pants and shirt to be washed by a professional washing service. That’s only 75c.
Here it is, the laundry, now a big tourist attraction. I chose to go here instead of the Jane Temple, and snapped lots of pictures.
Except this time, I descended down the steps into the laundry, to see what was going on inside.
Apparently this was a brave maneuver, as many of my friends, big strong guys as they were, were afraid to go down there.