Namaste! Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! The photo's uploaded a bit back to front in terms of time so they're not in chronological order - apologies in advance to anyone who gets fussy feet due to this technical error. For all those who are now wondering what fussy feet are, perhaps someone who is more knowledgeable than me on the subject could write a small definition in the comments section.
We had Christmas day in Mumbai, but apart from the Merry Christmas we got from the check-in person at our flight to Delhi you would have never known it was Christmas, life carried on in its usual fast pace in Mumbai. Alex woke up early and jogged down to the European bakery near our hotel and picked me up some delicious pastries and xmas mince pies for breakfast, but alas, xmas eve and xmas day was not a good time for my stomach and I couldn't do the pastry's justice with my peckish eating. As everyone that knows me can imagine, not being able to eat and not feeling hungry is possibly one of the worst things that could happen to me but I have now discovered plain, but sweetened lassi's (yoghurt drink) and have yet another antibiotic so hopefully I'll be back to full eating potential in Thailand (tomorrow!) for lots of delicious Pad Thai!
Now, I'll stop complaining and get into the stuff you've all been waiting for, I can for foresee that you will have been reading the above paragraph thinking "For god-sakes Emily! Who is Alex standing next to in the first photo?". The answer is Terrence. We met Terrence on out first afternoon in Mumbai - on Chowpatty beach - Mumbai's answer to Mission Bay, but toxic - so no swimming allowed. Terrence approached us as we were lying in the sand waiting for sun set and after the usual meet and greet (Indian style: Where you from? What do you do? Married?) he told us he was a tour guide who gave tours around Mumbai whereby you saw the 'real' Mumbai. He seemed like a real character and had described some really intriguing places so we agreed to a trial 3 hour evening tour and if that was good we'd meet him the next morning for some more sightseeing. After the first stop - we headed to a bar where Terrence ordered a pretty big vodka on the rocks and the situation went pretty downhill from there. Terrence told us of the many heads he had bashed in over the years, and the weapons he owns.
I have also just found a note I scribbled down in my book - Terrence was sharpening/cleaning his nails with a swiss army knife ..... "I have a lot bigger, sharper knife too, you know I'm a fighter? If someone fucks with my head I fight them. I fucked up three boys in the market once because they offended me and my mother". We were both still laughing at this point cause Terrence seemed pretty harmless but I think he'd been at the bar prior to meeting us too.
Muslim area of Mumbai
Onion seller in Crawford Market, Mumbai. Onion prices have been making front page news here. Apparently they've sky-rocketed due to a rotted crop that has only just been discovered. Apparently there's even been tears.
Corn for sale at Chowpatty Beach - don't know about you but I always crave a corn cob when I'm at the beach. Lolz.
Alex and Terrence at the historical water hole - city oasis
Watcher of the Water
At CST train station - huge, beautiful brick building with gazillions of commuters inside.
Some of the weapons Terrence drew for us on a serviette in the bar. We have kept the serviette.
Mr Moustache and me drinking sugar cane juice. Shirin picked us up with her brother and his wife and took us out for some Mumbai night-seeing. Was so luxurious to relax in a nice car and we got a wee history briefing and tried some delicious, traditional Mumbai food. I didn't take a photo of the Kulfi, but it's similar to ice cream and very scrummy. You drive up to the place and double park - a waiter sprints out and takes your order then it's delivered on plates to your window. Apparently the owner pays a designated amount to the police each week to ensure they don't fine the cars waiting for Kulfi. Apparently you can also pay (most) policemen half of your potential speeding ticket when pulled over and not receive a ticket. A 50% discount ! Hopefully no one from the Indian government reads this blog.
Preparing the fresh sugar cane juice
Decorated camel in Udaipur
Trying on a sari, due to the amount of stuff we've already purchased I couldn't really justify purchasing one. Alex was getting measured for a suit and I was bored so pretended to be interested so I could at least try one on.
Left as a passenger and returned as the driver. This has just happened again as I just got up out of this seat to see Alex peddling a cycle rickshaw home whilst the driver sat comfortably in the back.
Beautiful lakeside walk in Udaipur
Being immature whilst searching for some Japanese gardens. Alex also got his bum out multiple times in the city palace in Udaipur, I was in hysterics most of the time and I'm 99% sure an entire family also saw it but were too embarrassed to say anything.
Overlooking the Dhobi Ghat - laundry area of Mumbai - an amazing amount of washing goes on here, surrounded by high rises. There are 1026 open air troughs where washing is done but they wouldn't let us in to have a better look around.
Eating a delicious dinner with Shirin and her family - I've forgotten the name of the dish sorry Shirin!
Contemplating our delivered order. The strawberry ice cream on the right was delicious, however the item on the left was just weird. It's name for a start is a 'Royal Falooda' - and usually this would have put us right off, however everyone in this place was drinking them so we thought we'd better join in. Just to give you an idea, the Royal Falooda includes vermicelli noodles as one of it's ingredients, seeds of some description, ice cream and rose syrup.
Now I have only just confirmed the time we are flying to Bangkok tomorrow and it is 11.55am - I had been telling Alex it was 7pm so as you can imagine this has put our last minute shopping plans into panic mode. Sorry family but you may be recieving some Thai themed gifts instead of Indian.
I am incredibly excited to reach the islands in Thailand and go for a long awaited swim - the next blog will feature our luxurious beach front bungalow and the pristine beach in front of it. This will be one of the first places where we have actually pre-booked a place to stay. Here's the link for anyone who's interested: http://www.phangan.info/hutsun/index.htm. Scroll down and have a look at the photographs, we're staying in a beachfront air con bungalow. I'm grinning with excitement here.
As per usual I have no time to proof read nor time to add as much to this blog as I'd like but I have to be up at 7am or earlier... to head to the airport (it's 11.07pm here now) so I'd better head to bed. I promise to make a few posts when I get back to NZ with fantastic, gramatically correct and flowing writing and even better photos.
Lots of love,
Drive by shot which captures Mumbai well I thought. There are taxi's like the one in this photo (and the one I was in when I took this photo). Their meters are really old so they have print-out charts in the front which convert the sum on the meter into more accurate rupees. One driver tried to charge us a horrendous amount after which I demanded to see the chart "no no, no no" he said. So Alex jumped out and started writing down his number plate whilst I proceeded to tell the driver we'd be informing the police of his behaviour and not paying. The chart was swiftly passed back to me. Thanks for the good advice Shirin.
Alice! this is a Mumbai santa set, bet it's nothing on scene to believe's though huh?
Eating coconut in the street, Mumbai.