ONE OF INDIA’S MOST populous and famous cities, Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra state, as well as India’s finance and movie industries. Located on the west coast, fronting the Arabian Sea, the sprawling city sports some grand hotel, plenty of money, and some fine Victorian buildings courtesy of The Brits who butchered the name into “Bombay”.
I flew in to see some of that iconic British legacy- Test cricket. By the time I got there, Australia has already won the series, and the pitch was breaking up before I even departed Tokyo.
My first trip to India was for the 2004 4th Test, against Australia in Mumbai.
The pitch was turning sideways from day one. Michael Clarke took 7 wickets. Tendulkar made a 50 which was worth 200.
40 wickets fell in 6 sessions. Australia failed to chase 100 and Wankhede Stadium went mental.
So, I had a few extra days to explore the city that Britain renamed Bombay.
Despite culture shock warnings, I felt immediately comfortable. With its sea breeze, palm trees, art deco and Victorian architecture, Colaba reminded me of St Kilda, Melbourne.
In Nov '08, while the whole city was watching cricket on TV, terrorists arrived unnoticed in this fishing port and unleashed carnage across several sites in Mumbai.
Of course when I was there it was just another fishing port, with underpaid and overworked people unloaded baskets and mend nets.
Fresh off the boat, a small scale trader eeks out a living.
Further along the coast, a couple of pals pose for the camera.
Chowpatty beach is the main one in Mumbai. It won't win any awards for either best or worst, but as city beaches go, it's OK.
Most places you go in town, there are curious and friendly faces peering at you.
The Maidan is the large public park in the centre of downtown, and dozens of cricket matches fill it in the evening. Cricket whites and a paid coach mark these lads as from a wealthy school.
In the days before digital, photographs plied their trade at sites like India Gate.
While traffic in Mumbai can be challenging, many sites are walking distance.
Black Ambassador taxis are an Indian icon, and if you haven't been cheated by a taxi, have you really been there?
Never intended to benefit anyone but England, the railroads are nonetheless a legacy of British occupation, and Mumbai has intra-city trains.
Take a train to Mahalaxmi, the dhobi ghat -washing place. The dhobi wallahs collect clothes from all over the city, wash it, bash it, rinse it hang it, dry it, iron it, and like the city's famous tiffen wallahs, get it to the right person somehow.
Many people here are not keen to be photographed, as they are working in some pretty terrible conditions.
Many of the grand buildings in Mumbai date from British occupation.
For my first taste of India, it was all pretty good. Good food, good people, madhouse cricket. I look forward to getting back.