>Travel Pictures


Bandra Fair

September 2008

The area of town that we live in is called Bandra, and it is apparently one of the better-known parts of the city - its nickname is the Queen of Suburbs. In addition to the number of Bollywood stars who have residences in the suburb, it is also a historically Christian enclave (although not so much any more).

Every year there is a celebration of the birth of the virgin Mary (Jesus' mom) on September 8th, and the week following that day has turned from a religious festival into a full fledged community fair.

We see the sights of the goings-on from our bus home every day after school, and decided to take a family trip down to check out all the fun stuff.

We hopped in a rick, and headed down Carter Road towards all the excitement.

The traffic ground to a standstill near one of the edges of the fair, so we just hopped out and continued on foot.
The streets were as chaotically colorful and crowded as one would expect from an Indian street fair. The press of people is simply incredible, as are the range of outfits that they wear.

We used to chuckle at the Serbs for keeping their kids all covered, but they have nothing on this careful dad. We were in shorts and t-shirts, busting a sweat, but this guy's taking no chances!

We did buy 2 bouquets of flowers from this lady (grand price, 25 cents for the pair) that now grace our dining room table.
One of the fun 'distinguishing attributes' of the Bandra fair is the number of little stalls that sell wax body parts. An outgrowth of the religious festival, you are apparently supposed to buy a replica of whatever part ails you (or the whole body if you're just plain not doing well) and then melt it. I'm guessing there's a special place to do this, but we never saw where that was.

I was pretty tempted to buy a knee one, but then figured that since I've been doing all right (even though, as Susan never fails to remind me, I've been slacking in keeping up on the physical therapy), why push my luck and bring it to the attention of the gods?!

The 2 promises we had made the kids were for a cotton candy treat and a ride on something that mom considered safe. Apparently the proper Indian name for it is "Candy Floss," which really is an interesting picture since I usually think of the word "floss" as being preceded by "dental." In any case, finding it was not really a problem, and both Alea and Breck were quite pleased with their sweet snacks. 

We headed off into the crowd, all set for some serious pushing through the crowds of people on our way to find the perfect fair ride.
And oh - the shopping choices we had!!
Whistles, hats, and puppets were among my favorites. The enticing sounds of the whistling salesmen was nothing compared to the 'see how good you can look in this hat' display by the bonnet boy!
Colorful baubles competed with colorful bags for the consumers' cash
And if the whistling got too much, and you needed to wet your whistle, there were plenty of choices, including mango juice (or a beaded shirt) and freshly-pressed sugar cane soda
And of course the grilled kebabs filled the air with heavenly smells!
Still searching for the safest ride possible, we passed a barefoot balloon seller, a flower merchant below a statue of Jesus, and a Muslim family (who are deep in the middle of the Ramadan dawn-to-dusk fasting period) selling fake flowers.
Pitchmen in front of the clothing stands worked the crowds, trying to drum up some action, while others had such unique wares that there was no need to seek out attention.

If you were really in the mood for a death defying experience, how about a roadside tattoo parlor? We passed innumerable places where the ladies had booklets of patterns that they could make (usually on  hands), and then people would just squat down there to get them done!

The machines were battery-operated, and there was no indication anywhere of any sorts of hygienical sterilizer. Now, I'm not an AIDS expert, but I would think this was a pretty good way of spreading a blood-borne virus. But there was obviously enough demand for many, many of these places to exist (and set a great example for the little kiddies).

Mom wouldn't let Breck get a tattoo, but she was ok with him shooting a bb gun at the balloons. After a few quick lessons about holding the gun and using the sights, he hit a couple of the marks! Granted, none of them popped, but we saw them shaking when he hit them!!

We kept passing lots of hand-operated rides for the smaller kids, but these would not have held Alea and Breck (and there was no way mom was letting them get on the gigantic ferris wheel towering over the entire fair (and spinning at about 90,000 miles per hour!). We kept wandering to get to the one ride we knew would meet with everyone's approval.
We finally found the dragon-go-round that we've passed coming home from school, and whirled round and round in it. While it didn't go up and down and spinning, it did move at a pretty good clip and gave us one of my favorite pictures from the day. 

But we still gotta hit that ferris wheel some day!!
Having done what we came to do, having seen (and heard, and smelled) more than we'd ever expected, we felt like some of the other bushed denizens of the fair and decided to call it an afternoon. We'd planned on staying until the cows came home, and in fact, we did.

Of course, in Mumbai, that phrase means very little!!

A great afternoon at the Bandra fair. School tomorrow, which means showers tonight and a good night's rest. Until next year, thanks for a fantastic day!!

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