…now officially called Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, is located in south Mumbai and is famous for its wholesale fresh produce and meat. In recent years some of the vendors have also started selling spices, cosmetics and ‘imported’ food items. The building, which was completed in 1869, was the first in India to have electricity and the frieze at the entrance was designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling.
A couple of weeks ago Paul hired a taxi for the day with this market being our first destination. After assurance from the driver that he knew where the market was, we were on our way. Let me just say there is a difference between knowing where a place is and knowing the best route to take. Paul finally pulled out his Garmin two hours into the trip; a trip that should have taken half that time. Now let me just further say that if you have a GPS loaded with maps of India in your camera bag it’s usually a good idea to consult it at the beginning of a journey.
I didn’t have a problem being in the car longer than anticipated, but after 2 ½ hours my bladder did. Upon entering the market we saw this sign:
‘Visitors are requested to employ porters…’ Translation: Foreigners should pay someone to bring them around a market that they would have no problem navigating on their own. Normally we would just say no, or ‘nay’; but in this case I told Paul to hire a damn porter just so he could point me in the direction of a bathroom.
Now I’ve encountered many public restrooms in India, but this was by far my worse experience. The women’s was closed, so I had to use the men’s…with men in it. Fortunately there was a stall tucked around a corner where I had some privacy. Unfortunately I couldn’t close the door because there was no light and said stall literally had a hole in the floor for a toilet; as in a dirt hole. Now even though Paul didn’t pull out his GPS until the end of our long ride, he did manage to get his camera out while standing guard to snap this picture. I’ll tell him you all said, ‘Thank you.”
AnyLoo; where was I? Ah yes, Crawford Market. The fresh produce was amazing and we made several purchases. Some were fruits and vegetables we were familiar with and others not; Dragon Fruit, Custard Apples and Chikus. I’m not sure if we got the best price while bargaining, but we were happy.
It seems we were a bit late to take advantage of the meat market, though let me tell you I was perfectly fine with that. The area, completely deserted save one stall, was buzzing with flies. The further in you went the dimmer the light became. And the odor? Let me just say it’s a good thing you can’t transmit smells via the internet.