Anna Pinto, executive director of Micato Safaris, recently visited Mumbai, India during the holidays. Here is the account of what she witnessed.
Anna Pinto in Mumbai
I had other plans for holiday travel, but the attacks on Mumbai changed them. Like so many others, the events that took place in late November struck at my core, and my thoughts immediately went to the people affected. I also thought of our travelers, and knew that I needed to experience first-hand what was going on in a city that I know and love.
And having been there, I am happy to report that it is business as usual in Mumbai.
The city bustles with activity once again. I walked the streets lined with merchants and enjoyed strolling through the vibrant Gateway area. It was teeming with travelers from India and the world over, and I watched as many of them gazed at the Taj Hotel—as if attempting to understand what had happened there.
I stayed at the Taj, which has recovered remarkably from the attacks. Security measures have, of course, intensified, yet I never felt overwhelmed by them. I had to go through a metal detector and have my bag x-rayed prior to entry to the hotel, but it was done in a friendly, efficient and unobtrusive manner. There was an unarmed security guard on each floor, and an attendant in every elevator. The staff was as welcoming as ever—I felt taken care of from the moment I walked in the door.
Very little was different within the hotel itself. There was no evidence that a tragedy had taken place, except for a subtle and tasteful memorial in the lobby. I noticed that certain areas were closed for renovation, but the hotel had arranged it so that it was difficult to tell. Temporary walls had been erected, and paintings had been hung. If I wasn’t looking for such things, I don’t think I would’ve noticed anything.
The highlight of my stay was certainly when a children’s choir performed in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby. It was a warm and special moment; and I realized that despite the tragedies they had endured, the people of Mumbai would persevere.
So, life goes on in Mumbai. Micato has every intention of continuing our tours in Mumbai and of continuing to use the Taj Hotel. I had a wonderful time there, and wholeheartedly believe that our guests will as well.
If disruption and terror were the aims of the attackers, they have failed miserably.