Mumbai – Story – My Wacky Party Life

My wacky party-life

I’m staying at a hotel in Bandra that has three restaurants within. They were all open and operating at loud full-swing yesterday. Today, they are being torn-apart, all three are closed. Apparently they are to be joined together to form a multi-level KFC.

After several hours of local wanderings all I have found to eat so far today was a stale, greasy muffin at a coffee chain. They had other food items, but I recently found myself quite ill from eating a pre-packaged sandwich at a competitor. I cannot assume adequate freshness even when it comes to expensive coffee shops that cater to foreigners. If that nice-looking wrapped sandwich was made a week ago, I would be the one who pays. I had left the hotel in search of sustenance, and finally I have circled back. It’s after 3pm and I am hungry.

The front desk manager tells me that I can, in fact, have lunch upstairs on the terrace. I find my way there and find the terrace is piling-up with debris and is rather in the centre of a construction zone. I am approached by the restaurant manager who explains at length why I cannot eat there, as if it were not obvious. I beg him to help me find food and lucky for me he knows the perfect place. He walks with me down to the street and points across the intersection to a doorway flanked with speakers with the sign, “Rude Nightclub” above. Well, how did I ever miss that?

Two little guys guard the door and don’t speak a word of English when I try to ask them if they serve food. (I still can’t quite conceive it, and the bar music is loud on the sidewalk.). I’ll see for myself. I’m led up a staircase into a dark, hyper-noisy nightclub which, oddly at just after 3pm, is at about one third capacity. I put-in my noise reducing ear plugs and take a seat. I take a photo of the ceiling, which is covered with broken table legs and rolls of barbed wire. A huge banner, “spoils ur bad mood,” fills the far wall.

The volume, even with my dense earplugs, is incredibly loud. The powerful bass thumps my whole body. My chest especially is reverberating. Even if my ears are protected from abuse, it seems like the rest of my body isn’t. I am completely mystified what makes this an appropriate venue to recommend me. I’m wearing shoes, slacks, a button shirt, and a fedora. I look neither like a party animal nor a hippie by any stretch. Is this really the only nearby food source appropriate for a foreign digestive tract?

Upholstery fabric covering the chairs simulate newspaper pages except that all the topics are definitional and relate to pop culture. “iPod is a line of portable media players invented and marketed by Apple. . . . . .An automobile, auto car, motor car, or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers . . . .” Additionally, there are joke sections, which are terrible, “Why are you stupid today? Anyway, I think that’s very typical of you.”

Chinese food is somewhat common in India, and I am pleased to order lemon chicken since my body doesn’t always welcome spice for my first meal of the day. What arrives is a creamy, lemony curry concoction unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. The waiter serves it from bowl to plate as if serving for the first time ever. It must be nerves, I think, that everywhere I dine my server is so slow, awkward, and clumsy. Or perhaps they always make the new guy serve the foreigner because no one else wants to. That creates a repeating experience of continually being served by novices on their first day.

I watch the crowd around me as I eat. With a corner table, I can view the entire room. The music is so loud, I eat quickly so I can leave soon.

How much fun is this daytime nightclub? I never once saw any group mingle with any other group. Groups of 2,3,4,6,10, all completely separate. No one dancing and too noisy to chat. People are drinking and having snacks. Who likes this?

January, 2013.

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Mumbai – Photos with Narration – Megatropolis of Bombay

With more than 15 million residents, this sprawling city is also a haven of interest for the foreign traveller. I stayed in four locations over three weeks and experienced sensory overload every day. A brilliant adventure for my brand of interests.

20130212-130116.jpgMy first Indian commuter train ride. People start to disembark before the train comes to a stop!

20130212-130323.jpgInside a train going from Kandivili to Juhu. The Indian railway is the largest employer in the world with 1,600,000 employees! 55,000 trains at the edge of their lifespans move millions of passengers every day.

20130212-130712.jpgThere are quite a few people who live in India.

20130212-134724.jpgThe Gateway of India is Mumbai’s most iconic landmark.

20130212-134958.jpgElephanta Island is a ferry-ride away from the India Gate. Famous for the Elephanta caves, so named because the Portuguese found an ancient elephant statue here.

20130212-135214.jpgAlways cute but mischevous!

20130212-135402.jpgThe Elephanta caves are elaborately carved into the rocks.

20130212-135545.jpgI wrote a story about my visit to Elephanta. I spent the day with German friend, Martin, and Indian friend Gautam.

20130212-135758.jpgThe docks of Elephanta.

20130212-135900.jpgSeagulls flying with us during our return to Mumbai. Check out the videos I made of them!

20130212-140055.jpgMen gather before going to temple on Sunday Morning at Vile Parle, Mumbai.

20130212-140227.jpgOops! I did not notice the instruction at the bottom of this sign until after I had broken it during my visit.

20130212-140440.jpgIt’s difficult to see through the bug screens into the nursery of this orphanage, but my videos are easier to see.

20130212-140751.jpgThe beaches in Mumbai are not for swimming, they are for taking strolls in the cool breeze. Juhu beach is one of several havens to escape the enormous city and is very convenient. It is also a venue for illicit trades in the evening, which were very out in the open.

20130212-141310.jpgLocal colourful.

20130212-141434.jpgCreative wiring at my flat rental in Mulund. (In the building entrance.)

20130212-141635.jpgThe kitchen of my flat rental in Mulund, Mumbai.

20130212-141813.jpgThe squat toilet of my flat in Mulund, Mumbai.

20130212-142101.jpgColourful laundry hangs wherever it finds a place. Visual stimulation is everywhere and I will miss this kind of interest when I return to Canada.

20130212-142359.jpgMy neighbors in Mulund, Mumbai. Wherever there is an empty space, people will set-up home. Come to think of it, there is no empty space.

20130212-142613.jpgThere was a really nice feeling of community in the building where I had my flat rental. People kept their doors open to the hallway whenever they were home to come and go from each others flats. These flats were all one-room plus kitchen and bath, so the families were completely visible from the hallway. They only closed their doors when sleeping or when not at home.

20130212-142950.jpgThe open sewers don’t smell pretty.

20130212-143106.jpgFriendly stray dogs lounge in the street.

20130212-143223.jpgI rarely saw rubbish inside bins anywhere in India.

20130212-143412.jpgSuch a fun name for a dairy!

20130212-143715.jpgSmell the dairy freshness! Yummy!

20130212-143851.jpgBlending in with locals and with the sign at these caves in Sanjay Ghandi National Park.

20130212-144138.jpgMore ancient caves carved into rocks in this large park that separates the Western and Eastern suburbs of North Mumbai.

20130212-144519.jpgThe “lung” of Mumbai, Sanjay Ghandi National Park.

20130212-144655.jpgCrowds on the streets near Mulund station, Mumbai.

20130212-144926.jpgCheerful street art in the small back-streets of Bandra, a fashionable district of Mumbai.

20130212-145634.jpgBandra, Mumbai.

20130212-145739.jpgBandra backstreets, Mumbai.

20130212-145859.jpgHidden backstreets in Bandra, Mumbai.

20130212-150022.jpgI retreat to a five star to take a few days break away from the excitement and chaos of India.