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Nicola in Southern India

Thu March 17th 2016

Nicola is currently on her 7th trip to India!  She is travelling with a small group friends and experiencing the South for the first time ... here is her latest email:

Well we arrived in Mumbai on Saturday morning. Met the lovely Parveen in her resplendent blues and greens kurta. We set off off across the fabulous new bridge that takes 45 minutes off the journey to south Mumbai.

En route we stopped at the dhobi ghat. The biggest outside laundry where shirts skirts and all things dirty and jeans, thousands of jeans, are washed then dried, ironed and then delivered home. Every day !

We then drive along the lovely bay of Mumbai; white sandy beach with people playing on it. But no swimming. Too polluted and dangerous.

We check into the TAJ Palace Hotel.  We are taken to a beautiful room for a cool drink and an easy checkin. Here we are informed that if we wish we can all be upgraded to a suite. Hmmm. What to do We are all so tired but perk up at the sound of a suite. They are all different and lovely in their own way.  Shower.  Something to eat and we are back out on the bus for some late afternoon sightseeing.

First off to the Crawford market. A huge area with every sort of product live or dead.Our mission was the Textile market. It was a mass of fabric,colour, people and heat!Incredible India was back. And despite jet lag, conversion rates in our head and being jammed packed a few scarves were purchased (of course)but not me this time !!

We launch ourselves outside to the fresh (???) air.  30 degrees outside felt cool. We walk along the street of fab fresh produce and lots of street food vendors. It's 5pm and snack time. Puri, Dosa, samosa, pilaf and a yummy bread wrapped around potato and fried.  The colours and smells were tempting - but not for us today!!  Onto the lighting street.  Lights of all kinds; shop after shop of pretty twinkling lights.  I kept my hands out of my wallet - it was only day one!.

Back to the bus and into Gandhi's Museum. The house of a friend that he used to stay with has been converted into a museum. An Amazing series of dioramas showing all the key events in his adult life. Finally we drive to Malabar Hill and the hanging gardens. A misnomer I would have to confess. But a nice view of the bay Wearily we wind out way back to the hotel through the traffic. We had actually only been in India for 7 hours. And done so much.

So whilst somewhat stunned at such a contrast of 'everything' to our senses. we managed to understand that as part of being in a suite we get lounge facilities including free drinks from 6.30 to 8pm. We weren't that tired!    A medicinal gin or vodka or 2.  And we were all in bed by 9.30pm!

Phew

I won't go into the next few days. It's just too fabulous.

But there has been a gap in between writing the above and sending it. We are now in Pondicherry. This charming French town on the east coast.

Just about to watch the cricket

Bye for now

Xxx