So today we actually got up at a decent time and took the car downtown at 11am. On weekends, traffic isn’t all that bad really, so it only took 90 minutes or so. We’ve given up on trying to remind our driver to keep the A/C low, so we sit in the car with long sleeves or jacket. We let him drop us off where he had picked us up yesterday, which is right by The Prince of Wales Museum, now called the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastusangrahalaya (just like the Churchgate and Victoria terminals, the airport, and all the roads have been renamed a few years ago, but everyone still seems to call them by their colonial names).
First we needed a coffee. Even though that’s probably the most touristy area there is in Mumbai and even though (or maybe because) Ksenia is wearing a saree, she definitely gets stared at. Not in a hostile way, it’s more like a big what the fuck? Some women seem to appreciate it and talk about her smilingly (or maybe they make fun of that stupid blonde Westerner trying to look Indian). Anyways, the coffee is great, as always. Walking from there along the Gateway of India is not so great. It’s a bit of a circus there and the hawkers are a little overeager.
Somehow I imagined walking down to Cuffe Parade, which is an office/business area around the World Trade Center might be nice, but it turned out to be boring highrises. On the way back we saw a number of sadly deteriorating villas, which seem to have seen better days and would look fantastic, if they got renovated. Some of them are actually locked up and seem to real estate speculation objects. Still, there were a few quite nice ones as well. Then we hit Colaba Causeway, which is pretty lively, and since we had heard of the Leopold Cafe, we went there to get some lunch. I guess we weren’t the only ones who had heard of it, because the place was packed with Westerners, and even the Indian looking people had an American accent. Besides, we waited 15 minuts without anyone coming to our table, and by that time we had read the menu up and down and sideways and were still unable to find much else other than Italian, Chinese, and only the odd Indian item.
Well, that was that then, so we just left and went to a place across the street, which turned out to be the real deal and had great food and fantastic fruit juices. Our doctor had told us to keep our hands off any drinks with ice in them, but we figure in small doses it’s got to be just like vaccination, so we didn’t worry about it too much. It’s late evening now, and it seems we were right. We are still trying to get the hang of eating the bread with just the right hand and apparently we are making progress, because our forks remained untouched. For all the apparent inequalities that women face around here, one thing appears to be no problem, which is breast-feeding your child in a restaurant. Try that in the United States, and you might get arrested, here it’s thankfully all good.
Finally, we went to the museum, which was actually quite nice although sorely missing some benches and air conditioners. Foreigners pay 300Rs instead of the regular 50Rs, which seems fair enough and includes an audio tour. Unlike a lot of museums in say Germany, which appear to get no visitors whatsoever, this one was bustling with Indians. So bustling in fact that Ksenia got her legs grabbed by some guy, but he really was just trying to get hold of his little kid, and it was actually quite funny.
So after all that walking, we were ready for a drink. We had walked by The Sports Bar and T.G.I. Fridays, but those were pretty much the last places on earth we had in mind. The TimeOut Mumbai Nightlife section came up empty, but today’s Times of India had a brief mention of a place called The Myst in the suburbs (they are really not suburbs, but just streched out extensions of the city). Finding that place was a bit of a challenge, but it turned out to be near the mall that Ksenia had spent most of Friday afternoon. It was a kind of lounge bar/restaurant, playing Eminem followed by Enigma. That would be ok, but the CD unfortunately kept skipping on both songs and noone seemed to notice or care, so we ended up having to listen to each one for about half an hour, which was a bit too much, even though the cocktails were quite good and sitting outside was almost pleasant.