Tuesday, February 15, 2011

India part 15: Mumbai

Man on bike outside Maidan

The good thing about flying, apart from the substantial carbon emissions of course, was that it gave us the chance to meet a very strange man on the way. He was American, a Vietnam veteran who seemed to be having flashbacks while he regaled us with self-regarding stories and told us about his battle with cancer. He worked for General Motors and, it seemed, had been on more flights than we'd had hot curries.

Despite getting the Chennai-Mumbai hurdle out the way, we still had to sort out the train to Navsari in Gujurat, because we were planning on spending the festive season with our friend Rakesh and his family. This meant a few more early starts spent hunting for internet cafes. On the plus side, it also meant I got some fine early-morning photos of pigeons hanging out next to the Gateway to India, which lay just a few blocks from our hotel.

Pigeons hanging out by Gateway to India

The place we were staying had the most genial manager of all time. It was almost painful how genial he was. He also loved to use your name and did so as frequently as possible. When Sarah complimented the Indian railways: "Thank you for saying that, Sarah, because some tourists say they are dirty, Sarah." The other great thing about the our hotel was its proximity to my favourite restaurant in Mumbai, the brilliantly-named Food Inn.

Food Inn

Visiting here gave me the perfect excuse to tell Sarah the joke I made up about the place eight years ago, though she'd heard it many times before.

Q: What does the sign above the toilets in the Food Inn say?
A: 'Food out.'

HAHA. On our last day in the city, as is tradition, we appeared in "a Bollywood movie". The Bollywood movie in this case was actually an Aids awareness advert for Unicef. Normally I don't like to talk about my work for charidee, but since I feature so prominently at 0.25 (one of the hands), 0.27 (the only one wearing a stupid stripey shirt), 0.28 (standing behind the Nigerian "I know" girl) and 0.34 (running a stall), I thought I'd better own up before I start getting recognised in the street.

I spent the wages I most certainly didn't receive what with being on a tourist visa and all that on a few books. Here's what I bought.

Books galore

Just kidding.

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