Wednesday was our last day in India and we spent it going shopping in the Mumbai markets. We hadn’t done much shopping so far during our trip, so we had nothing at this point to bring home with us to remember the trip by. Whenever we go somewhere new, I like to find something really small to bring home and put on our travel shelf. It’s a pretty sparse-looking shelf right now, but I’m hoping one day it will be full of memories of all the places we’ve been as a family.
The first market we went to was in Bandra and, man, was it busy. It was a beautiful day out (except for being about 107 degrees), and I think everyone in the city thought it was a good day to go shopping. Bandra was absolutely packed with locals and tourists alike. And all the shop owners were doing everything they could to get our attention. If you so much as turned your head to look at what they had for sale, you were in for it. We learned to shop by keeping our faces straight forward and looking at what was for sale out of the corners of our eyes.
As busy as it was, we still had a pretty successful shopping trip in Bandra. Lexie got a pair of shoes and I found a couple tops for a great price. Ironically, I got home and found security tags still on the clothes, so we had to break them off with a hammer and then sew up the holes they made. Do shirts from outdoor markets usually have security tags on them?
The only thing I had a hard time dealing with in the markets here was all of the begging. We were careful not to give money to any of the children because we’d been told they don’t usually get to keep it. Sadly, they’re often being forced to beg by their parents or another adult. It’s pretty hard to see people, children especially, in poverty and not want to help, though. If I had thought ahead, I would have brought along some individually wrapped crackers or something similar to give out instead of money, but unfortunately we had nothing to offer.
Next, to escape the heat and the crowds, we headed to the markets in Hiranandani. Many of these markets were indoors or in shaded areas, so it was the perfect place to go during the hottest part of the day. The Galleria in Hiranandani is especially nice. The shops are, of course, more expensive because it is a nicer area, but you can still bargain your way into some good deals. I found a small Ganesha to bring home for our travel shelf, and Cory found a gender-ambiguous mannequin. That didn’t come home with us.
Our last stop before we headed back to the apartment for dinner was the food market that my mom and dad regularly shop at. It is a really nice place – similar in layout to grocery stores we are used to back home, but with almost no brands that look familiar. Most of the products sold on the shelves are not in English either, so my mom has to rely on the picture on the box to determine what it is she’s buying. (It’s not uncommon that she comes home with a few surprises – flour and sugar look pretty similar in pictures!) At this market, both eggs and milk were sold on the shelf instead of the refrigerated section, and the eggs came in the littlest cartons I’ve ever seen. I’d have to buy quite a few of those to cover the amount of eggs we eat in a week!
After shopping in the Mumbai markets, we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at the apartment, packing up our bags and preparing for the long journey home. Our flight was scheduled to leave in the middle of the night, so we just stayed awake until it was time to head to the airport. It was really hard saying goodbye to my parents, especially my dad since I wouldn’t get to see him again until Christmas, but I cannot express to you how much relief I felt knowing we were going home. An airplane never looked so good as the one we boarded for Amsterdam. Right before we boarded the plane, we took our very last picture in Mumbai. No judging allowed – it had been a LONG two weeks. I’ll have my final India post up tomorrow!
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