So here's for my first 'touristy' bit. Actually, can I say that I wouldn't describe Mumbai as a tourist destination in itself, but more as a good starting point for travelling to other parts of India. Perhaps then the 'Gateway to India' is an appropriate place to start my bloggy tour of Mumbai and India.
Having been to Mumbai twice already, this was my first visit to this outstanding monument (too busy shopping before, you know me!). But it is very near Le Pain Quotidien were I had a solitary lunch, so there was no excuse really. The Gateway is a great Archway overlooking the Arabian Sea with halls either side capable of seating 600 at important receptions (and probably the odd Hindu wedding).
From what I could see today, the Gateway attracts mostly Indian families, couples and youngsters on day visits, I saw only a smattering of Western faces. There were also lots of urchins, offering to take your photo in front of the monument in exchange for a few rupees (you've seen that bit in 'Slumdog Millionaire'?), although a trio of schoolgirls came up to me and asked me to take their picture - as they knew this way, their cameraphone wouldn't get nicked!
The Gateway to India is also in front of the other great Bombay attraction, the Taj Mahal Hotel(so horribly damaged by the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks where several guests and staff were taken hostage and killed). As you can see from the pictures of the Mumbai Police cordens and signs, security is very tight and the terrorist threat still seems to be fresh in peoples' minds.
I have yet to go inside this most famous of hotels but apparently it is great for a (posh) bite to eat or drink, and is very popular with the young rich of Mumbai - of which there are plenty.
Find an abridged history of the Gateway of India on Wikipedia here:
Postscript dated 5th January 2013.
Please see my blog on Elephanta Island - catch a boat there from behind the Gateway of India!
Postscript dated 31st January 2013.
Please see my blog on Spending 48 Hours in Mumbai - what to see, where to go and what to eat.