A Travellerspoint blog

Mumbai fish and Bombay duck

Where life isn't always a picnic

sunny 36 °C
View Indian Caves and Temples Tour 2011 on Grete Howard's travel map.

In stark contrast to the bureaucracy surrounding the visa process, immigration in Mumbai was a breeze. Another stamp in the passport, another tourist arrives, another addition to the ever-growing arrivals-form mountain. I wonder what really happens to all those forms – they sure don't read them properly, as I know mine was completed incorrectly but nothing was mentioned.

The airport is full of warning signs about not accepting the offers from touts for taxi rides, cheap hotels or shopping, so we were very pleased to be greeted by a driver with a cheeky smile and a sign bearing the word: Mrs Grete. I didn't, however, actually see any touts, so maybe the campaign has worked and the warning signs have put them out of business.

Mumbai is an onslaught on all your senses – the first thing that hits you is the heat as you emerge from the airconditoned cocoon of the airport. Then the noise, the bustle, the pollution, the poverty, the never-ending traffic. Life in Mumbai appears to be lived on the streets, right down to the family of five who had spread out their blanket and were enjoying a luscious picnic with their tiffin boxes and bundles of bread. Not on the pavement, not on the grass verge, but on the streetside of the parked cars.

Having met through a travel website (Virtual Tourist), Aadil and I have been virtual friends for a number of years, before today finally meeting up in Mumbai, where Aadil lives and works. Heading out to a restaurant for something to eat, Aadil insisted we stayed well back on the pavement while he hailed a cab – with tourists in tow, the price of the taxi immediately trebles.

The Indian coast is known for its seafood, and as we are travelling inland next, Mumbai seemed to be the best place to try some of the delights of the ocean. Guided by Aadil, we ordered the local king fish, prawn biriyani and Bombay Duck – which isn't duck at all of course, it's a long, thin fish called bombil. We surprised the waiter by asking if we could have it spicy – apparently 99% of tourist want their food very mild when they order. David got quite excited at the prospect of some draught beer, so we were rather amused to be served two cans of Kingfisher Draught. Oh well, it was welcome all the same.

After a long flight, a night without much sleep, the delights of the common cold, the heat of the city and a couple of beers, it was time to head for an early night.

Posted by Grete Howard 05:05 Archived in India

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Glad you enjoyed the seafood and hope you have a great time on this trip to India as well!!!

by Aadil Desai

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