Saturday, 29 November 2008

I,m having lunch at the swanky revolving restaurant on top of the ambassader hotel next to my budget-50 quid a night-hotel its just off marine drive and overlooks the cricket ground where england will play india tomorrow! nice
2nd day Thursday november13th 11am We unload my bags from the taxi,I give him the 750 rupees fare from the airport about £12 I was told at the airport to just pay the fare,no more,he looks at the cash then at me he turns his palms upwards and says nothing else,is that it so I say what do you want do you want me to kiss you,he says no kiss more money so I give him an extra 100 he still looks at me,so I say that’s it enough its more than a ten percent tip don,t be greedy so he smiles gets in his taxi waves and drives off. I,m surrounded by a legion of bellboys squabbling to take my bags to my room for 10 rupees a bag. I check in at reception on the 5th floor they show me to a room after they have all gone and shut the door I sit on the bed and look around I discover theres no window on further inspection I discover theres no toilet or shower fuck is this what you get in Bombay for 50 quid a night.I,m exhausted its 12 noon Bombay time but for me its 6am London time,I lay down on the bed and fall asleep.I wake up to find someone shaking my arm I look up to see an Indian man.wake up sir we change rooms now,without answering him I follow him down the corridor to another room he,s carrying all my stuff,so after giving him the obligatory 10 rupees I look around well this room is slightly better,it has a shower,toilet and sink and A/C but its no bigger and still no window,it feels like I,m in a prison cell a single bed a chair a coffee table a dressing table and a rickety wardrobe with bent metal hangers it feels like 1950s England in black and white the one attempt at decoration is a small picture on the wall which you would struggle to get 20p for in a charity shop.I look at the clock it says 6pm I,m thinking do I go back to sleep or what so I order a pot of tea from room service have a fag and think no I,ll have a little look at Bombay.I go up to the roof,to call it a roof terrace or roof garden would be too grand its just the roof.. I look over the parapet at the street below its seems like Bombay,s in full swing,the six lane highway down there is chock full of traffic and the wide pavements full of moochers,I can hear it and smell it from six floors up.I take the lift down to the ground floor,it,s one of the old fashioned ones with a lift boy I give him a 10 rupee note as I get out then another note to the doorman I,ve got a wad of small notes in my pocket that I changed at the airport. I was hoping to find a bar or restaurant with tables outside where I could drink beer and smoke cigarettes like I,ve sat at in france and spain italy and Greece but as I was to find out no such place exists in Bombay you cant smoke in the restaurants and they don,t have tables outside .Shit just my luck,I,ve come to the wrong country or maybe the wrong continent.I discovered later that the Indian government bought out its draconian anti smoking laws in October of this year the law says smoking and spitting is strictly forbidden in all public places and that includes the parks and the streets.So you can only spit and smoke at home it does seem that they regard smoking on the street the same as gobbing so as I,m walking down the street with everyone looking at me i don,t know if its cos I,s white or if its cos I,s smoking.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

this is the roof terrace of the hotel i,ve just had breakfast two fried eggs on toast and a cup of tea can,t smoke anywhere in the hotel so i come up here there,s no restaurant or bar so this is it
2nd day Thursday 13th November We head out of the airport towards my prebooked hotel the taxi driver tells me it,s a 90 minute drive he starts moaning why couldn,t I find a hotel closer to the airport .The taxi feels like its rattling apart and I swear I can hear bits falling from it. I,m sweltering I,m wearing a heavy long sleeve shirt and trousers and I,m hanging out the window,he lets me smoke a cigarette in the taxi,I would have clocked him if he said no.stop for cofee I tell him I,m parched so we stop in a hole in the wall workmans caff in a shanty town.I sit on the kerb drinking milky coffee watching the mileau of hooting,honking,tooting traffic go by in no particular direction.its hard to tell if they drive on the left or the right side of the road here,it seems there are no rules.I go in the caff an see men eating from square tin trays like TV dinner plates one portion curry sauce little heap of chopped onions and nan bread,no knives forks or spoons as they eat with their right hand the left hand is for wiping their arse..the meals cost 10 rupees about 15p I pay for the coffee 10 rupees they probably overcharged me but I don,t care.We finally make it to the hotel through mile after mile of slums piles of rubbish multitudes of people thousands of beat up honking black and yellow taxis going every which way..

This is me after the first night in bombay for some unknown reason you step into an old rickety lift as you enter and the reception is on the 5th floor
1st day Wednesday 12th November 2008 My sister Pauline drives me to the railway station at Torquay for the 2 .20pm train to Paddington I change at Reading then change at Hayes for the airport bus arrive at Heathrow at 6pm in plenty of time The flights at 9pm so three hours to kill drink cans of beer and smoke cigarettes out on the concourse rush up to departures and board the plane drink half the bottle of brandy get pissed and fall asleep.Wake up in a daze as the plane touches down in India Mumbai Airport Phwoo I,m in India Make my way through customs and immigration and baggage claim some bloke tries to take my suitcase off the carousel I holler at him and he runs off.Go to the prepaid taxi counter and pay for a taxi to my hotel 750 rupees about £12 .Finally make it outside the airport for my first fag in 12 hours sweltering heat it must be 100 f .Search for my allocated taxi no.497 chuck all my gear in the boot what a wreck of a car an old 1972 morris oxford