Gimme gimme gimme... my shoes back!
Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
33Trip End Ongoing
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Firstly we must apologise again for the lack of photos so far - the first 2 internet cafes we found were not the most modern of places, and today when we find something a bit more 'hi tech' we've forgotten the dam camera lead! Sorry people, we promise to go back and edit our entries with photos being added. This café is pretty quick and we've lots to say so I reckon this might be a long one - if you might wanna get yourself a cup of tea or stretch you legs halfway through feel free.
So after writing our last entry we went for dinner at a restaurant in Churchgate, which was rather nice. Charlie had a swamp-green curry with babycorns and peas like bullets, whilst my Chicken Afghani was a spicy curry with whipped egg yolk meringue spread all over the top, like a raw baked Alaska curry... it was nicer than it sounds I promise!
After food we had a walk along Marine Drive, which is the long road around Back Bay in Mumbai. At night it's known as the 'Queen's Necklace' as all the streetlights come on all around the bay, like a pearl necklace - it looks beautiful. It's also a great place to sit and people-watch (actually that pretty much goes for anywhere in Mumbai!) which as you all know we are both rather fond of, and the how-many-can-you-fit-on-a-bike record was beaten as a family of 5 drove past on a scooter. Dad on the seat, steering the bike around his two young sons sitting on the petrol tank whilst the mother sat on the mudguard clutching their small baby!
We then took a wander down to Chowpatty Beach which at nighttime is a bit like a funfair on entry with food stalls, bright lights, traders selling tack and loud music. It looked a great place to sit, relax and watch everything going on but we soon realized we had been registered on the 'whiteman radar' and we couldn't move for people wanting to sell us luminous kites or to give us a head massage. We decided our day had been long enough and so went back to the hotel in a 'Disco taxi', decked out with flashing chillies and images of Hindu gods inside, and disco headlights on the outside. As you do...
Wednesday we took a walk down to the Gateway of India. Along the way we must have been out at school lunchtime/hometime as the streets were filled with children in their cute uniforms (little boys in ties and shorts, girls with plaited pigtails). They were really happy and every one of them wanted to say hello to us. Charlie was in heaven!
The feeling of celebrity status we were already picking up from the locals' staring was enhanced at the Gateway of India as a mulleted man and his friend asked to have their pictures taken with us. 'Mullet' had to run a comb through his hair before the snap, although it was more of a forced ploughing than a run!
We were a little too late to take the trip over to Elephanta Island so instead we took a 'whirlwind tour of Mumbai', taking in the 'Indian Big Ben' (very cheesey!) before we stopped at a Jain temple. The temple inside was beautiful and very spiritual with chanting, bell-ringing and the smell of burning incense. We could have stayed a long time but our driver had to drag us out before he got a parking fine! On leaving, I found that my sandals, which I had taken off on the way in as is the custom, had gone! A passing beggar is now a well-heeled man! The next few attractions (Hanging Gardens with a giant version of the boot from The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Malabar Hill with a view across Chowpatty, the house in which Gandhi used to stay and the Washing Laundry with over 5,000 people hand-washing clothes) were all very enjoyable but a tad uncomfortable for Tom in barefoot!
We also drove and walked through some of the most severe and shocking slum areas we'd seen - poverty at its extreme and so many men, women and children with missing limbs, blindness and starvation it was difficult to take and upset us both. When we saw a giant McDonald's restaurant at the end of one row of slums we didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
We finished the day with dinner in Leopolds Café, which we'd been told was a popular place for backpackers to meet and eat/drink together. It was OK but nothing special, although the food didn't agree with Tom...
OK, we've just been told we have to leave (they're closing - it's not us being kicked out for being too loud or anything!) so we'll have to fill you in next time of Tom's first case of 'Delhi (Bombay?) Belly' and the rest of what we've been up to. So much to say, so little time!!
Hope everyone's well and missing us loads!
Take care people
Love Tom and Charlie xx