People don’t believe me when I say “My India” as if I claim it to be my very own. What I mean when I say this is that my experience here is very different and unique to the average traveller visiting. I put this down to having some truly special and amazing friends who take good care of me and show me all the many wonderful faces of this beautiful and dynamic land.
I’ve started this trip in Mumbai and after 8 days am still here, loving the city. I visited first the Air Cargo India 2012 conference, organised by STAT Times and my friend, Priyo Patra. I was the guest of his at The Leela Hotel Mumbai, a fabulous 5* property which is worth every penny! Stunning interiors, incredible food and a luscious pool to die for.
During the conference we visited a number of venues as we had a fair few functions as well as my friends and hosts like to show their guests a good time. Finishing the week together at the Comedy Story in Pheonix Mills Mall, followed by drinks at famous Leopold Cafe and then a typical street food style meal on the back of our car at Bademiyas.
I’m now at my second accomodation in Mumbai, staying with my dear adopted family here, the Katgaras. There two sweet boys keep me busy with spin classes, ipad games and trips to the park. Aunty takes me to the mall, for lunches and in house massages and Uncle and I talk business and go out for dinner with the boys.
It’s also all about the events here in Bombay. 3 nights in a row now we’ve had functions and activites. First night was a wedding reception at a very prestigious, palace like, home in South Bombay. Second night was the red carpet launch of a flagship store for Raymond, mens clothing store. Finally I went to the Kula Gooda Art market which happens once a year, promoting charities, handycrafts and arts here in Mumbai.
Although I have pretty much listed all the things I have done so far, there are a few perks and highlights I must add. Here are the top 10:
- Being asked by Conference organisers to present gifts to the International freight and logistics speakers after a round table discussion.
- Spending the entire Saturday in the 5* hotel room with a group of friends, recovering from the night before by ordering countless club sandwiches to the room and watching you tube clips.
- Having a bar tender at the Novotel Juhu Beach pour shots of vodka into my mouth from the bar whilst some respected elder business colleagues watched on – embarassment
- Dancing to my favourite hindi song, “Sheila Ki Jiwani”, at the final function of the Air Cargo conference
- Watching my friend and host get ripped into by his comedian friend at the Comedy Store in Mumbai
- Seeing Haji Ali across the water lit up like a discoteque for a muslim festival
- 50% off cocktails at the stunning AER bar on top of the Four Seasons Hotel
- Playing snakes and ladders with my two favourite boys + their dog whilst eating Freddo Frog chocolate from Australia.
- Getting a round of applause from theTop Spin India teacher in the spinning class for my galliant efforts in the first spin class.
- Trying to pay 2000 rupees (A$40) for a 200 rupee massage (A$4) and having the humble and honest masseur tell me in broken hinglish that it was only 200….. awkward.
So this is just the beginning. Stay tuned and phir melange (see you soon)