23rd November – Insania insomnia!

What day is it? Where am I? I don’t think I’ve slept properly for 72 hours. I’ve been constantly looking at the time and getting very agitated that sleep doesn’t come. It still hasn’t occurred to me that I can sleep whenever I want to!

Reflecting on yesterday’s post, perhaps I over-played things. We’re still here, no one got hurt, no one threw a tantrum, and we stayed in a five star hotel for gawd sake! Typical Westerner missing home comforts? Perhaps.

Checked in Hotel Diplomat, which is mid-range in price but a stones throw away from the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, so not too shabby. Our room, however, is right next to some building works. Yes, I know there’s plenty of other noise about, but after a night in luxury this seems a step back.

Anyway, finally time to embrace Mumbai!

As mentioned in last post, cash is rare at the moment. You can withdraw 2000 rupees max per day. But using a 2000 note is a no go – nowhere has any change, not even the State Bank of India (we tried). Lucky for us, the guys working here knew someone who knew someone, so we got some change. Full credit to Hotel Diplomat.

When we were in India just under four years ago, I noticed that locals rarely make eye contact or speak to a white woman. I guess it’s seen as intrusive? I identify myself as a strong feminist, so the lack of communication and eye contact does get frustrating, especially when I’m paying for something on debit card and they say ‘thank you’ to the man! Just walking around the streets of Mumbai you see empowered woman walking to work, in coffee shops, even drinking beers in pubs (Indian Pale Ale of course), so it isn’t a patriarch society purely for men. But maybe the local men believe that speaking to a white mans wife isn’t as a thing you should do? I really hope that it isn’t a practice that has remained from the Raj days. On another note, Steve doesn’t agree with me on this, he thinks that they talk to both of us. I’m not so sure. I feel a bit ignored at times.

A summary:

Places – Gateway of India. Fantastic structure, it was built in 1911 to welcome the arrival of ‘some’ British King and Queen, and what an arrival! Funnily enough it was also used as the dock where the last regiment of British Rule left India in 1947, therefore seen as a sign of their independence. Supposedly a lot of Bollywood films use this iconic place for a good old danceathon too.

Colaba – area of South Mumbai, ventured off the beaten track (aka got lost) wondering the streets, the best way to see real people with real lives.

Woodhouse Inn – if you are after a beer and a pizza (who isn’t?) in Mumbai, this is the place to go. I had a Margherita which to our surprise was very good, top touch was adding roasted garlic chunks on top. Dee-lish.

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loadsa money!
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plenty of these noisy tings about
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mumbai routemaster equivalent
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