Today has been difficult, and another day of heart wrenching firsts. On the way to and from there were some classic Mumbai street scenes, less traffic and pollution because it was Sunday, but very Mumbai. I had some pictures of slums to include, but having now been into one, sat with women and girls, well I’m not showing people’s suffering.
This is Haji Ali Mosque, a special site that you drive past so often here. At high tide the causeway floods making a holy island refuge.
After ward I got the taxi to drop me at Gateway to India from where I wandered back to the hotel. I needed the steps and the air and the mental space lost in the throng.
Watching these (thousand?) guys playing cricket in front of the High Court made me smile, a lot.
And it’s always good for rebuilding the soul to take dinner at Gaylord Restaurant. I’ve been coming here since my first visit to Mumbai, it’s a total institution for the city not just for me. The waiter “remembered” I was there for its 50th birthday in 2006 haha…
I have just walked into my favourite restaurant in Mumbai – Gaylord’s… gorgeous old world charm, fantastic food and tonight a crazy 50% off, no bookings, it’s a celebration of 50 years of Gaylord’s – what amazing timing! Incense, flowers, chiffon and suits, mirrors, chandeliers, massive crowds, brightly sari clad women floating like so many butterflies… in the crush out front the doorman’s response to “How long for a table for 2 persons?” was “1 hour. More than 2 persons, 2 hours.” So I catch his eye, raise my eyebrow and call out “1 person?” and he says with a classic Indian grin and head wobble, “Half an hour. Go straight to the bar Madam, no table yet, just bar!” So Madam’s on her second half price vodka fresh lime soda! How did it take me so many trips to India to think of vodka, lime soda? A table will materialise in time. For now all that matters is to be here.
Mind you I must tip too well coz there’s a waiter here who recognises me from two years ago, another superb grin… I did come every night for a week two years ago but even so, am I that memorable? He is only human after all.
Have to stop writing to eat! Cottage cheese cubes coated in saffron skewered with tomato, onion and capsicum then baked in the tandoor till soft… Spicey Goan prawn curry…. Sweet black dahl…. Garlic naan to soak up the gravy – you know all those times you got told off for wiping your plate with your bread? Not here, it’s mandatory!! Then this incredible dessert it’s this amazing toffee caramel cream cheese ice cream stuff! And dessert was free – the whole lot was $20! I wonder why I don’t lose weight in India!?
Totally stuffed I wandered out of Gaylord’s back toward the hotel via Marine Place and a photo opportunity of the Queen’s Necklace.
While I was sitting trying to get the panorama to work this old dude came and sat next to me, chatting like he knew me from 2006. We started reminiscing about places we’d both visited in Rajasthan, our favourite temple at Ranakpur. Hilarious. He and his best friend, the young struggling actor were out for a walk and just stopped to chat with a crazy Australian lady.
This morning was another first. Cannot tell you how many times I’ve been driven past the big Ganesha Temple in Mumbai, well today I went in. For peace, for prayers, for healing – to give thanks.
And on the way back? Well, I always see the man selling berries