Monday, 2 March 2009
Bombay or Mumbai
The first thing you discover in Bombay is that there's a lot of confusion about the name. My host Mrinal, who is Indian born and bred, calls it Bombay, but to Oliver and Henry Briggs (pictured, ages 5 and 3, they've arrived from England a few months ago), it's Mumbai and they loudly corrected me when I 'got it wrong'. Since their parents were hosting me for an afternoon of luxury poolside at the Marriot Hotel, I wasn't about to argue with them.
Next thing you discover is that if you try to do to much, you flake out, because it's very hot. And the traffic is incredible, Bombay has lots of signs discouraging 'honking', which frankly everyone is ignoring. But with the help of an assertive driver (and Mrinal is a very assertive driver) you can see a lot. We did the grand tour, covering churches, the zoo, beaches, mosques, and the obligatory Slums with their impressive recycling industry. And cricket being played everywhere, though many of the bowlers need their actions reviewed by the ICC.
Also climbed up to a fort at Kernala about 2 hours from Bombay, hottest slowest walk I've ever done. Lots of wild monkeys eyeing our food. Most impressive part of the fort is the caves cut into the rock pinnacle at its centre, which house enough water for an army to withstand a siege for months.
Off to Oz tomorrow.