Holy Cow Bombay!

You've read Shantaram right? It's a classic, if a little hefty, tome based around some real life events in Bombay's underworld in the 1980s. Jo and I were both reading this book, coincidentally, at the beginning of our relationship and now, on arrival in Bombay/Mumbai, its stories came flooding back as we walked the streets of the city's southern Colaba district. We found ourselves staying, purely by accident, in a hotel on the floor above the India Guest House, we downed a few beers in the atmospheric Leopold Café, we imagined ourselves flying down the Colaba Causeway on a Royal Enfield motorbike with our hair flapping in the breeze (ahem) and we determined to not do anything that might lead us inside the Colaba Police Station.

That kept us busy for about a day, and then we started to really revel in being in a big city for the first time since we'd left London more than two months previous. Little things at first, like there being pavements. We had got so used to walking single file, often in the gutter, to avoid speeding rickshaw and motorbikes that flew down narrow lanes designed centuries ago for people and donkeys, that it took us a while to realise we could actually walk side by side here. And in cosmopolitan Mumbai men and women holding hands also wasn't frowned upon as it had been in Rajasthan. Although in Rajasthan men holding each other's hands was just fine... we even saw army soldiers doing it.

Back to Mumbai... after two months we were well in need of a change in diet. The curries, thalis etc had all been great up to now, and we'd even found ourselves asking for things to be Indian spicy (not just Western spicy), but we were both crying out for something different and we found it, joyously, at the Indigo Deli where we both chomped down on some medium-rare Holy Cow. Mmm... And it would have been rude to not wash it down with a bottle of Malbec, even if it was only lunchtime.

And talking of booze, it was great to be back in a drinking culture again. The following evening we went to Indigo's posh sister restaurant (ate more delicious cow) and got stuck into its cocktail menu. Which gave Jo the courage to approach Bollywood's version of Brangelina and get chatting, and for us to piggyback onto a Mumbai business student Santa pub-crawl and go clubbing.

Jo with Saif Ali Khan
...and again

We were also lucky enough to be in town for the India vs England T20 cricket match, a limited-over evening game which was perfect for two non-aficionados of the sport. And seeing England win with a epic 6 on the last ball of the match made it all the better.

Next stop Goa and the beach (and Christmas!)... and not long till our friends arrive :)


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