Coming into Mumbai's domestic airport we got to see a fair number of shanty town looking dwellings, contrasting what I'd read about the metropolitan downtown area. We booked a prepay taxi and headed outside to the taxi rank where, to my surprise and child like joy, they had incredibly stereotypical Indian taxis that look like they are from the 50's. They are called Black and Yellows (for their paint job...), have bench seats, usually no wing mirrors and are dented to hell. We took a ride in one of the mini van type ones to our hotel in Downtown. Alas, this was an hour and a half away... Sweaty!
MEAT and Other Delectables
As previously mentioned Gujerat is predominately a vegetarian province and we'd miss meat, along with cheese and eggs at the school. Thus, as in Rajkot, we promptly pigged out on the heaviest meat/cheese/egg dishes we could find. Mumbai is very much like Bangkok in some ways, there are lots of market stalls down the main Bazaar road in Colaba (the district we were staying in), street vendors are everywhere and my favourite - juice bars. Freshly squeezed juice practically on tap. Nom nom nom. On our last day we picked up a selection of spices to take home from a local supermarket. Damn it's cheap to buy spices in India. We bought about 4 or 5 kilos split between a variety of spices and the bill was barely £5. Win! Garam Masala seems to be the thing to get, it's a mix of a selection of spices that you can just chuck in with some meat and you've got a full curry.
I couldn't talk about our time in Mumbai without mentioning our awesome hotel. Hidden away down a side street in central Colaba, Hotel Bentleys is a few minutes away from the Gateway to India and completely secluded from the hubbub of the main road. It even had an old school lift. So. Much. Fun. We were the first people to use our room since it had been refurbished which meant it was possibly the cleanest room we'd stayed in all trip. The only downside was the pretty solid 'mattresses' we had to sleep on, but there was free breakfast so who can complain?!
Aaaaaaaaand home time! An interesting journey to the airport... Our 'booked' taxi involved the hotel front-gate-man getting us a taxi on the day. The driver turned out to be pretty drunk with reaction speeds to match which wasn't so bad until he clipped a guy knocking his phone out of his hand. Rather than stop he just gave the guy an angry look, shouted and carried on driving. He was a very angry man. So very very angry. Once again the airport was rammed with armed guards, even a mounted sentry post on the way in! Then it was home time on our nine and a half hour flight home.