2 Weeks in India | 36 hours in Mumbai & Video Diary

Our final stop on our tour of India was Mumbai. The only things I knew about this city were that Slumdog Millionaire takes place here and it used to be called Bombay. It turns out that it's a bustling, lively city and though it didn't top the list of all the places we visited, I did enjoy my time here. I think I would cite the fact that we were at the tail end of our trip as the reason we didn't do more stuff.
I mean, we'd just hopped around the entire country for two weeks; can you blame us?

Our flight to Mumbai via Jet Airways was actually decent. We hadn't eaten much and the Madurai airport didn't really have any substantial food on offer so we appreciated the fact that this airline gives you a full on meal, even when the flight is barely two hours.
Our final hotel was the Lalit. After the luxe vibe of the Leela, our expectations were set pretty high and the Leela actually delivered. It wasn't quite as extra, but it was clean, beautiful, and it had a spa. We'd actually picked this hotel because it was so close to the airport and we figured it would make going home much easier.
We were pretty hungry when we'd landed and it took a little while for the baggage carousel to release J's bag so by the time we'd checked into the hotel, we were voracious. So, we called an Uber and headed into the city. The traffic was pretty horrendous and our driver said that it's almost always like this.
While we were at Madurai Airport, waiting to board our plane to Mumbai, I was busy on my phone looking up Korean restaurants. We'd eaten Indian food for every meal (except maybe one) for two weeks straight and our bodies, which were brought up on Korean cuisine, were starting to crave some comfort food.
We ordered a feast large enough that our server asked, "So, one of the dishes you ordered is meant to serve 5 to 6 people; are you okay with ordering all of this food?" Hey, buddy, we know what we're doing.
We ordered ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes) which had a faint smell of curry when it was brought out, which made us nervous for the rest of the meal. I think they just had some kind of weird pepper or too much black pepper in them; the rice cakes themselves were delicious though, so we ate the whole thing regardless. We also ordered a spicy calamari and pork dish as well as a spicy ramen, which I guess I forgot to photograph because I was so excited and hungry. MY BAD.
The dish that was meant to serve 5 to 6 people was brought out last. It was a jeongol (basically a fancy stew filled with lots of stuff) and it totally hit the spot. It was a kimchi-flavored broth with tofu and pork and glass noodles and we were in heaven. And the three of us ate the entire thing.
And in case the staff didn't think we were fat enough pigs, we flagged them down so we could order dessert. This matcha cake was supposed to be molten but it wasn't. It didn't matter though, because it was good and we finished it.
In the morning, we woke up still full from the previous night's dinner.
We got ready and headed out to explore the city a little.

We thought that the Floating Mosque would be a cool place to start. The second we got out of the cab, we were hit with the smell of wet garbage, which soon made sense because as we walked closer to the mosque, we could see loads of litter in the water.
It was kind of a depressing walk from the main road out to the mosque because the entire jetty was lined with vendors on one side and beggars on the other. There was one beggar who was lying down, with a cloth covering his face, and he was chanting something and waving his arm up and down and his arm was missing a hand. After that, I noticed dozens of men whose hands had been amputated. We assumed it was because they'd stolen something.
The mosque was a bit underwhelming, to be honest. It is definitely in need of a little love and care. However, I can certainly see that it used to be quite the stunning structure at one point in its life.
The walk back to the main road was more painful because the sun was starting to really beat down. We were all overwhelmed by the heat. I was pretty happy with my outfit choice because it didn't show sweat stains.
Our second stop of the day was kind of a strange one. It was the Dhobi Ghat, which is the world's largest open air laundromat. The laundry comes from Mumbai's hotels and hospitals.
You can go down into the complex if you want, but we just observed from above. I feel like it would be so weird to go down and ogle the workers just trying to do their jobs. We did love spotting kitties all over the place though. We'd seen stray dogs everywhere we went but Mumbai was the first place we encountered stray cats.
For lunch, we went to Gustoso for some pizza. After leaving Alwarkurichi, we didn't eat any more Indian food, which I'm a little sad about now because I've had time to cleanse my palate and now I'm craving some really good curry, but we really needed it at the time.
The pizza is cooked in a wood fire oven, which means it's extra delicious.
J opted for the capricciosa which had olives and ham and artichokes.
I went for the diavola, which sounded spicy and delicious, and it was. It had spicy salami and the jalapenos were a nice touch but my favorite part was the drizzle of spicy honey.
D went for the prosciutto di parma. All of us thoroughly enjoyed our meal; we all finished our pizzas.
After lunch we attempted to walk to the Hanging Gardens but the route was blocked by some guards. We didn't want to drive there because it was so close and we kind of wanted a respite from the heat so we decided to visit our first museum of the trip.
If this name is too long to say, you can call this place the CSMVS, like their website url, or the Former Prince of Wales Museum.
Admission was ₹500 ($7.50) and they wanted exact change.
As we were walking towards the building, I joked that if they didn't have air conditioning, I wanted a refund. As it turns out, there is no air-con in the building. There were fans everywhere, which helped, but my body was really craving some hardcore artificial cooling so I was mildly miserable the entire time we were browsing.
I was dying of laughter at these little figurines because they looked like something a kid would make with play-doh in kindergarten, especially the crude eyes and mouths.
The Tata Gallery was probably the breeziest so we took a moment to sit down on the benches to sketch a little. I didn't actually draw anything and instead censored some of the terrible (re: racist) things written on the paper.
This is our recreation of the figurines above:
The museum was enjoyable, despite the heat. Plus the building itself is gorgeous. Even if you don't make it inside the museum, I do recommend coming to this neighborhood. It's obvious that this is where colonialism had settled in because the architecture of the majority of the buildings in this area makes it obvious.

After boiling to death in the museum, we decided we needed some drinks. AER was what I had marked on my map as a fun rooftop bar, but it wasn't open yet so we just drank downstairs in the cafe.
D went for the summer delight, I went for the anaesthesia, and J went for a classic diet coke.
Our mocktails cooled us down and sitting in the air conditioning was lovely. However, I couldn't eat the snacks because they were some kind of spiced peanut and I am allergic. Boo.
After our snack, we hopped in an Uber back to our hotel. We passed this lovely colorful slum on the way and later when I was googling to find out more, I found out about Chal Rang De. It's a non-profit movement to beautify the slums with color in an effort to inject some life and beauty into the neighborhoods and raise awareness. Hopefully this will bring tourists (and in turn money) to the slums.
For dinner we had room service. We'd booked some spa appointments for the evening so we didn't want to stray far from our hotel.
D and I ordered a delicious Thai chicken salad with glass noodles, fried rice, and Singapore noodles. J got a fried chicken sandwich. D also got a chocolate milkshake (which ended up being more like chocolate milk) and I got ice cream. We were huge pigs and I loved every second of it.
So we saw a sign in the lobby when we were waiting for our Uber to our first dinner in Mumbai about a deal for women at the spa for International Women's week. We asked the concierge what it was all about and she said that for ladies, a massage which is normally ₹4,500 ($70) was discounted to ₹1,900 ($29). Even at full price, that is an amazing price for a massage so we probably would've done it anyway, but we were super excited about the deal and booked in immediately to have some massages before our flight home.

The massage was awesome. The spa was pretty luxe and I was able to have a steam and a shower after the massage, which my skin desperately needed. It was great.
The next morning, we woke up early to head to the airport. I bought a million Kinder Buenos (because it's the best candy ever and it is forever my favorite) and a few teas to give out as souvenirs.
The Mumbai Airport is actually quite pretty.
Soon, we were boarded and ready to return home. Unfortunately, J dropped his camera on the first flight and lost it. He had to fill out a lost-and-found form and they did find the camera but it's been annoying to get it back. Once he does and once I get my paws on his photos, I'll probably amend all of my blog posts to include all of the cute photos he took of me (I am vain).
By the end of the trip, my skin was terrible. I didn't have any breakouts, per se, but my skin was just so congested and uncomfortable. I did a mask on the flight to make sure it didn't dry out but when I got home, I really scrubbed my face down well with a charcoal sugar scrub and my Clarisonic. It's pretty much back to normal. I wondered to myself if I could've maintained better skin in India with more products but I honestly think that it's just too dusty and polluted that no matter what, my skin would've felt icky.
Here's my video diary:

India, you were fun. xoxo.