Tuesday, February 16, 2010

14 Feb_ Mumbai, My Valentine

Parting is such sweet sorrow, and today I spent the day being a tourist in South Bombay. It's a little overwhelming- amazing developments of highrise office and apartment blocks are being constructed, there's a new sea-link from the north to the south and with a 50 Rupee toll you can save a good 45 minutes of commuting through congested potholed streets, while enjoying the sea views from this modern road hovering over the ocean.

I made my way down to Colaba where Kunal lives, close to Naval housing. Colaba is a posh part of town- one building even has its own helipad!

The rest of the day was spent eating and walking. Always a great combination. We started at Cafe Leopold and walked down to the Gateway of India, a huge arch built to commemorate Queen Victoria's arrival to the city- a notion that is so outdated now.

Then came coffee at the Taj Palace hotel, the grand dame of them all right on the waterfront. With views overlooking an immaculate courtyard and pool area, we really felt like royalty here.

Next we walked around some more, strolling along Marine Drive and people watching.

We then went to the INOX cinemas and got a movie tickets for me to watch Valentines Day with Kunal and his girlfriend. They had already planned on it, and now that I was stuck with them, I had to go. Talk about being the 5th wheel on that date!

Next came ice-cream at Naturals; by far the creamiest and freshest tasting ice cream I've ever eaten. Fresh strawberries and cream flavour... this experience makes me question everything I know about what tastes good. We get used to all the preservatives and processing that goes into food in the west, and it's not until you try something really good that you have to reset your taste scale! I used to think Cold Stone Ice Cream was the bees knees, and now I know better.

What other 'best tastes' could be shattered? How about the holy grail of the burgers- In-N-Out?! I almost don't want to know if there's a better burger, as I'd rather stick to the devil I can get my hands on once in a while.

After tea at some wonderful Raj-era tea house whose name escapes me, it was back to INOX, for 'Valentines Day' the movie-what an awful film. It was a great brochure for Los Angeles though! I could really see myself living there some day :).

And finally dinner was at The Gordon House Hotel- they do an amazing "Mongolian stir fry" where you pick your food raw and it's cooked up in a wok for you.

So as the night came to a close, I reminisced about my time here- I barely scratched the surface of things to do and see here, but that's ok, it gives me something to look forward to for the next time I come. And I had a different kind of experience this time, less touristy and more getting to know how people live here, hanging out with locals is always a better way to get to know a city than just seeing buildings I think. Today was an appropriate day to be in Mumbai, as I really do love this city.

So on to South India, which promises to be a vastly different landscape... Kerala- the garden of India, here I come!

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