Monday, November 10, 2008

"Who can feel poor when the sails are full and the spirit is full?"

Post by: Beth

A couple of weeks ago, I got to see the famous Gateway of India, which is a major landmark and tourist site in Bombay. I'd heard Mr. Gupta talk of this, and he kept asking me if we'd seen this yet. I had no idea what the big fuss was all about (I'm not entirely educated on landmarks in Bombay, but I'm getting better!) and I'm not big on major tourist attractions, museums, famous statues, etc. Needless to say, I hadn't seen this Gateway of India. That all changed when we got a Facebook invite (thank you, Stacie!) to "take an evening boat tour, complete with drinks and dancing, launching from the Gateway of India!" I may not care much for huge tourist traps, but I certainly am up for any "evening boat tours." I immediately badgered Raja into texting our friends, Beej and Kristen, to let them know that I simply was not missing any "evening boat tour" in India. Luckily for us, they're flexible, and they were up for the boat, so off we went on a Saturday night, all the way down to South Bombay and the great Gateway of India.

We boarded the boat after meeting with friends for dinner, and I was very excited and actually impressed with this Gateway of India. It's a huge arch located on the waterfront, and is the monument that earlier people saw first when arriving to the (literal) lands of Bombay. It's quite impressive in person. Unfortunately, I can't really prove that since being on a moving boat didn't lend itself to still pictures of such a lit up monument at night. In lieu of any of my blurry photos, here's a professional shot so you can see what it REALLY looks like.

Before too long, the boat pushed away from the dock and we were coasting along the waterway. Gorgeous night, and after we'd traveled for a while, it was so pretty to look back on land and see all the lights sparkling from the city. The land pictures turned out a bit blurry of course since we were constantly moving, but at least one turned out decently enough to see the view.

It was a great trip... The boat took us out about an hour, turned around and came back to land to drop off anyone that wanted to return to the city, and then followed the same path back out again for those that wanted to continue. Of course we stayed on, and we had a great time.

Also notable and very exciting for me: I got to see Orion's Belt, which (if you're not familiar) is a constellation also known as "The Hunter" due to the sword hanging from a "belt" made of 3 bright stars in a line. Of course no pictures because it's just impossible to take a flash digital photo of a constellation, but it was really amazing to see and I'm glad Raja knows his constellations well enough to point it out to us. One of the best parts of being that far out in the water is all the stars that are visible... It makes you realize what you sometimes miss by living in such large cities.
After we arrived back at land, everyone was hungry and some of our friends that have lived here longer knew of a place to get food so late at night. The place was called "Bademiya" and its a roadside restaurant well known for late night eating. It's been in business for almost 70 years and is a local favorite. Several men bring around tiny paper menus with all of these rolls and kebabs listed. Each one is either a meat, a vegetable, or a combination of the two, wrapped in a thin type of bread similar to a roti. I was a bit unsure about whether this was okay for me to eat or not, so I only took a few bites, but Raja and Beej had their fair share. The workers make these rolls and kebabs really, really quickly and they have a system down that apparently works pretty flawlessly night after night. From the little bit I had, the rolls were actually pretty good, and Raja definitely didn't leave any to spare so he can vouch for them.

These nights are so fun... Where you just see all kinds of things that are so different from what I've seen anywhere in the States. Sometimes I really miss the U.S. and the familiar... what seems normal and simple, but India definitely has its charms. :)


Jenny said...

That boat ride looked like fun! Glad ya'll are enjoying your time there!

The Freeman Family said...

The Gateway to India was not what I was picturing. For some reason I thought it might look like the arch in St Louis (?) . I am not very good with geography. You are braver than I to try the food. I would be packing a snack. Were they cooked or raw?

Beth + Raja Gupta said...

They were definitely cooked -- over fire-hot heat, and it goes through that at the beginning, middle after the veg or meat is added, and again at the end. That's the only reason I felt safe even taking a few bites.. always a bit nervous though w/these things ;)
and why doesn't your blog work when i try to go to it?