The magical city of Mumbai (Bombay), India

Note: Bombay is now called Mumbai

My flight (on which was served a good, gut busting curry, and satellite TV) lands in Mumbai. From the air it is easy to see that the city is a massive collection of prosperous city offices, high rise apartments and endless slums. The area around the airport is particularly littered with slums.

Once outside I feel the heat. At last some hot weather in India! Surprisingly it takes me a minute to get a taxi, but I wave off the AC taxis, and those without meters, and jump in a classic Mumbai yellow and black taxi. The first of my Mumbai experiences ticked off the list. We head across town, which is extensive. There and endless sites to take in, including dozens of cricket matches, a few temples and the wonderful looking Chowpatty beach.

I have opted for the Bentley Hotel in the Colaba traveler region. The amusing taxi driver doesn’t know the Bentley and asks around. Thankfully they have a room, albeit in a different building. The room is fair enough, more than I would like to pay (INR985), but is clean, has a shower and breakfast is included. Not too bad then.

The Colaba region is fantastic. A mixture of big stores, little stores, street vendors, cafes, and all the usual stuff. It’s a leafy area which so reminds me of European cities like Barcelona, Paris and Madrid.

After washing all of my clothes, which are filthy, and I figure will dry in this high heat, I head out for a walk. I walk up to the Gateway of India, which looks majestic, but I don’t get too close. I will save it for tomorrow. I take a lake along the riverside and head back to the main street.

I wander around and find the touts not too bad, so I take an interest in what is for sale. I noticed a guy with a nice Indian style top, and decide I would like one. I find a stall selling similar items and after bartering reasonable well I end up with 2 nice tops for (INR400). I pass a few cafes and decide to stop on the way back up for chai. I also notice several great looking European style bars, which are all full. Hopefully tomorrow will allow me a space. I stop at a book shop, and buy the Google Story and Che Gavara’s Motorcycle Diaries. Both books I want to read, and hopefully I will get into them more than my Stephen King novel.

I head back to the hotel, not before stopping for chai and samosas, at proper Indian prices, and start reading the Google book. Back at the hotel I wash the filthy clothes I am wearing, and write this sitting in my underwear, which reminds me of hot Ibiza nights with my mate Steve. It was so hot we used to sit on the balcony in our underwear – talking about girls, just so that you understand.

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