To date, I have not really explained about where we live. Friends and Family will be relieved to know that there is more to Mumbai than its bizarre mixture of slums and billionaire pads and that we do not live in either.
We occupy a very nice and well maintained apartment block in a little area called Pali Naka in Bandra West. Bandra is a northern suburb by the sea which is over the sea-link and only 30 minutes drive south of the airport. I have been informed that Pali Naka itself was named the second trendiest place to live in the whole of India - great news as I have never been trendy in my whole life!
Bandra - "The Queen of Suburbs" - now a favourite amongst expat settlers was originally colonised by the Portugese in the early 1500s and still has the largest Catholic population in Mumbai. The Catholic/Portugese influence is still the charm of Bandra with its picturesque, if somewhat dilapidated old bungalows, churches and leafy lanes.
The place definitely has a villagey feel to it and it is easy to frequent the many restaurants, patisseries, salons and fashion boutiques by foot or rickshaw. We enjoy shopping at Pali Market where we buy our fruit and vegetables and British goodies. For any potential expats reading this, be assured that you can buy your Marmite/Vegemite, Panko, Belgian hams, French cheeses, Swiss chocolates and English teabags at the side shops on Pali Market. I need not have stuffed my suitcase full of these items on my way out!
The villagey feel we get in Pali Naka is something that is lacking in other parts of Mumbai (or should I say, non existent!) and it really is a privilege to live here. And....apparently Bollywood stars, film moghuls, cricketers and new and old millionaire businessmen are to be found amongst our fellow Bandra residents. I have yet to espy any of these - presumably they only come out after 11 at night when I am already tucked up in bed. Not that I would recognise them anyway.
Here are some every day scenes from the neighbourhood, taken last March when it was sunny (note to reader: you may think this area does not look so great, but trust me, this is the BEST place to live in Mumbai!)
|Rubbish/recycling wallahs who have no doubt earnt themselves a well deserved rest.|
|Our corner shop. Despite its size, it does sell all the essentials.|
|One of the many unloved colonial 1930s bungalows. Stay tuned for a photo essay on these at a later date.|
|Yes...Costa Coffee! Where you can get a cheese croissant that will blow your head off|
(everything here has to have chilli in it). Check out the valet parking that is available.
|A clothing repair wallah on Pali Market, slightly overwhelmed by his work|
- definitely wouldn't trust this guy to do a good job!
|Best Exotic Marigold Seller. |
I love to buy these garlands to hang up in the apartment.
|Pali Village Market. Great for purchasing our fresh veg. A kilo of tomatoes is about 15 rupees / 20 pence|
|The barber on our lane. But we go here......|
|...where a lady's haircut is about £12 (£50 at Toni&Guy in the UK)|
|Poultry section of Waitrose....NOT!|
|Another veg stall on Pali Market. Note the buildings behind - all stained with mold caused by monsoon rains |
combined with warm air. Unfortately a lot of buildings in Mumbai look like this.
|A pyramid of sweet limes. I prayed for this guy that he didn't get bumped by the traffic!|