We arrived in the plush, modern airport missing one of our large cases, but they gave us a small amount of money to buy essentials for a day or so. We caught a prepaid taxi to our hotel in the central Fort area of the city. The Residency Hotel ($75 per night) in the Fort area was a recently renovated place with a good size, modern rooms split across two nearby buildings. The first thing we did was to wander the narrow, busy streets in search if of pharmacy. We found a place easily enough and we didn’t need to show any prescription to get them. I managed to find some custard apples too, which I was pleased with.
The next day we walked down DN road. We hadn’t got far before we came back as I felt out of place in my shorts. After getting changed we returned and saw the High Court building, the University and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum previously known as the Prince of Wales Museum. It was a large, ornate building, built in the Indo-Saracenic style, with a large dome. We followed the audioguide learning about Brahma, Vishnu, Shiba and Ganesha. Afterwards we watched an interesting film about the history of Bombay. Starving, we left to find the nearest McDonald’s where we had Maharaja Mac, made with chicken as they don’t eat beef. It tasted very different.
We then pressed on to the Gateway of India where we stopped to take photos, and suddenly lots of local tourists wanted their picture taken with us too, which was nice. We saw the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which suffered the Pakistani terrorist attacks in 2008, and popped into Starbucks round the back to escape the heat and humidity before getting a taxi back to the hotel.
We then ventured out again to find a supermarket to find some soya milk or rice milk. We ended up walking to the glorious Victoria Terminus then taking a taxi to a large indoor food market called Crawford Market where a market guide took us around until we had found the fruit and milk we were looking for. Afterwards we took a taxi back and found that our missing case had been delivered.
The next day, after visiting a couple of computer shops, we went back to the hotel and walked to a nice restaurant near the Prince of Wales Museum but they were closed until dinnertime so we took a taxi to Antilia house. Belonging to billionaire Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, it is the most expensive home in the world. It was a fairly ugly modern building, and apparently he doesn’t use it because there aren’t enough windows facing east, which is bad luck. We then agreed with the taxi man to take us to Juhu beach in the north of the city. It was a long ride but the Sealink portion, built out into the Indian Ocean was nice. The beach was crowded, even at sunset, and a bit dirty but quite interesting too. On the way back we asked the driver to stop at Wankhede Cricket Stadium for a picture, which was nice. We then asked to go back to the restaurant from earlier and we had a gorgeous Indian meal before retiring for the night after getting my shoes back I had left with a lady to be cleaned.
The following day we took a taxi back to the airport to catch our Jet Airways flight to Kathmandu. The Indians seemed to have twice as many people as they needed to check and double check the tickets and passports, but we got through quickly enough.
What an interesting place!