How to Escape the Claws of the Grammar Police

The Daily Post

If superfluous commas, misplaced apostrophes (looking at you, it’s/its, they’re/their!), and sentence-ending prepositions make you flinch in horror, you’re in the right place. We take grammar seriously at The Daily Post; my fellow editors and I can often be found quibbling and nitpicking over tenses, modes, and — you guessed it — punctuation. Good writing, though, isn’t merely about adhering to rules. It’s also about knowing how and when to break them. Today, let’s talk about grammar — and the kinds of liberties you might consider taking with it.

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Part 2… Mumbai to Goa!

In this next chapter of “Melissa and Tim Blogging all over the World” we go to a club, eat exploded food, partake in rickshaw racing at 2am, get chased by dogs, get stared at, nearly miss our flight to Goa, regret eating some chillies and sleep through a whole party…

Day 3

Slept nearly all day after our trash on back at A Jay’s house.. Woke up and kinda didn’t know where we were!  Played a game of travel Scrabble.. Now.. Let me stop and explain… This is serious stuff guys –  Me and Tim are currently having a bit (read huge) Scrabble war – this has been ongoing for a long time now and also in the UK.  Now we are travelling this has moved to the faithful travel scrabble pack.. Many MANY sessions have been had thus far and this bloodshed of language skill doesn’t seem set to cease at any point (we had a few go’s at “The Simpsons” top trumps  card game but it didn’t quite cut the mustard the ways old scrabble scrabs does, and we got to know the cards to well too quick – Bart = good card, Happy little Elves = shit card). Both couldn’t be bothered to go out to eat so ordered some “Chinese food” (spelt Cheeneees fad on the menu) from the hotel room service.  We ordered soups first which were delivered by another grinning bell boy that spoke to my tits (which again amused Tim no end), these soups were rather nice.  The main dishes arrived and were in a word disgusting (make that fucking disgusting) I will leave that there as it still makes us feel rather bilious to think about the congealed plate of jellied MSG riddled dog food *cough* I mean chop suey. Luckily it was only about 150 rupees (around £2.10). Decide we are going to brave it outside to get some proper food as we are still very hungry! We trot up the very busy and dusty main road in Juhu, over the potholes, dodging the unmentionables on the road, patting each street dog that comes to sniff us and waving off rickshaw drivers that try to give us a lift (walking down a street in  Mumbai isn’t that straight forward when you are a WHITE white person!) . Have a quick stop at a kiosk to buy some crisps to “tide us over” before we get food.  As Tim is choosing them I hear a little high pitched mewing from the side of road, look to see a tiny, tiny kitten about 10 feet away from us.  He’s so little and covered in dirt and is just crying and crying for his mum… I point it out to Tim and he quite sensibly tells me there really isn’t anything we can do and we shouldn’t pick it up in case the mum comes back.  He is creeping out closer by these parked motorbikes that a group of men are standing around and crying and crying – its so sad. Then these men throw a tin can at it!! The poor little mite runs back in the bushes.  We start to walk off and I off course am blubbing all the way – tell myself I need to harden up, this is India for crying out loud but its the first kind of cruelty I’ve seen and it was ever so sad as we just feel so helpless to do anything.We walk to past “Juhu beach” which is a beach in every sense of the word – it has the sea and the beach but you its not really one you would like to have a paddle in a bikini on a lilo in – put it that way.. LOL the big signs recommending no swimming.. Wasn’t going to thanks! Not as bad as beach the beach on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent but along those lines! (FYI me and my sisters lost pairs of shoes in the “sand” on the Isle of Sheppey –  sucked off our feet into the oily bog that was the beach) we swerve the hawkers and beggars that spot us a mile off and duck into a restaurant to order some food.  When it arrives they have done this weird thing to the top with beetroot shavings and those cheesey potato snack thingies you get at Christmas.  This makes it look like its blown up! LOL Get rickshaw back to hotel and feel quite exhausted with what was supposed to be a quick jaunt up the road!

Day 4

Thursday: Wake up and head to where Flic’s is staying in Lockawalla.  We’re off to see Talvin Singh at the famous Blue Frog club in Mumbai this evening with all the guys. We get ready and I start to feel very fluey and unwell.. We’ve got to day 7 of our malaria tablets and this means taking 4 tablets in 1 day so I figure this has something to do with it.  We’ve been warned by most people since we got here that taking malaria tablets will actually make you feel very, very unwell and the only place really where the need to be taken is Goa and even that is very, very low risk unless you are going into jungles and stuff (which we wont be!) majority don’t take them as no need (wish we’d known this before we forked out for the buggers!).  We all pile into a taxi and head down there.  By the time we get there I feel so awful – like so fluey and no energy at all.. Last thing I really want to do is go to a club but I’m also really excited to see the club!  Both of us are! Tim isn’t feeling great either.  Then in the cab something suddenly dawns on me.. . I realise I  have locked my backpack back at the flat with the padlock and that the keys are locked inside it!! Dammit! You can imagine the look I get from Tim can’t you.. What a dufus!! Oh well will deal with it later!   That is so totally a Melissa thing to do! The Blue Frog is in Lower Parel which is the business district of Mumbai, and a totally different world to what we have seen – they even have a TGI Fridays for goodness sake! Its a very rich part of the area with lots of nice buildings including the world’s tallest residential building.  Walking through some dusty back roads you finally clap eyes on a huge back lit origami style frog sculpture on the wall, and here is the blue frog.

Nothing much very different entry wise to a London club… A queue, a metal detector and a bag search (and 800 rupees entry each – about £10) We enter the club’s outside space… It looks very nice thus far, a throng of people milling around so we figure it must be quite a busy night inside.  The doorman opens the door for us and we step inside to the plush surroundings of the club, its lovely and cool inside and first thing we notice is a massive queue 5 people deep at the bar! Looking around its a beautiful club.. Not so much a club I would say more an intimate live space.  Its basically 1 room with a bar at the back, and a stage at the front. Around the room there are these huge “pods” I guess is the only word I can think to describe them! Huge holes randomly cut into a frosted perspex “hill” which runs the entire way around the dance floor.   The perspex serves as a light box which colours change every few seconds.. This is done in a gorgeous pulsing way rather than it tackily flashing from colour to colour… green to blue to purple etc etc… It’s very tasteful and calming.  Inside these holes are dinner tables and chairs for table service, they are scattered into the hill in various places.  Judging by the people who are sat at the tables i’d imagine these are sold at a very high price!  There isn’t any need for any other lighting in the club because of this – its gives the whole thing a look which is hmmm…  Barbarella via Fifth Element.  Like a strange futuristic club on a distant planet – very cool.  Talvin singh on the other hand was a totally different matter! LOL I can’t ever remember watching such a side show.. What a load of self indulgent twaddle! It felt like we’d crept in his house while he was trying out some new stuff at home and he didn’t know we were watching him.  Never have I seen a so called musician have so little regard for the fact there was an audience watching him, the time of night he was playing and the fact these people had paid to come in and listen to some music goddam it! He’s stood there with a huge “Talvin Singhs Festival” banner behind him on the stage (this was a 2 day “festival” at the club where he invited guests to play alongside him) the banner has a huge photo of him – fresh faced, young whipper snapper of a lad.. Hmm very strange as the guy in front of the banner is about 20 years older than the picture, a lot fatter and with a lot less hair.. But.  We wont hold that against him.  Anyway he has some tablas, a mic and a mac book next to this.  He is occasionally giving the drum a tap, then playing a sample (nothing exciting a la Jamie Lidell i.e sampling and looping some sounds he has just made – this was just clicking to play a sample of a beat or a noise, very lazy, very boring!) a few times he may have actually given the drum a succession of taps – almost like he was PLAYING them! Cue cheers from the crowd.. Woo ho
o! Then (wait for it) he puts.. A tea towel over the drum and plays it *sigh* listen mate its now 1am in the morning and these people need some beats.. He announces someone to join him on stage – oh at last something might actually happen! On comes a guy who shares a remarkable likeness to Rocky who runs Cargo and this dude is wearing what appears to be a sleeping bag.. Come on now I think – this may actually be quite cool.  The guy sings a little over the top of Talvin tapping the drum and people clap…  Its then i realise I feel REALLY ill (I think this debarcle tipped me over the edge) so me and Tim disappear to get some food up the road in the hope it will revive me.  A biryani later and I feel slightly better so we head back to the club HOPING it may have got a little better music wise (seeing as its now 1.30 in the morn and the club shuts at 2ish)We walk back into the venue and FINALLY he is playing a drum and bass sounding track, the dancefloor is finally moving! Then… 2 seconds later it stops and goes back to the nonsense he was doing before *groan* the dancefloor stops and people are again just kind of shifting from foot to foot… I grab me a Tim a beer and we head to the outside area.. We’ve had enough of this nonsense! The outside is lovely – very well lit with seated areas and has these pipes running around the top of which puff out little cloud of steam, there is Grey Goose area and we sit down to drink our beers here.  Some gorgeous cigarette sellers come over with lucky Strikes and we tell them no thank you – only to be told they are free! Tim of course doesn’t need to be told twice that he can have a pack of free fags! LOL.  I’m still not feeling the best so we decide to go back in and get ourselves a Vodka and redbull in the hope it will sort me out.   If you ever come to India you will be advised to stick to local beers and spirits as anything imported will set you pack a hefty sum.. These came to £15 for both!   Suddenly we realise the music has just got really good! We look round and Talvin singh is no longer on stage.. The night has finished! Its just some CD or an I-Pod they have put on while the crowd clears out!  Hilarious!  We all start to leave and good news is that the vodka and redbull has sorted me out and I feel  10x better than what I did.  So… the verdict… The Blue Frog as a venue? Amazing space – really beautifully done… I can’t see it as a club though, defo a live space – 100% worth a look if you are in Mumbai.  The night on the other hand – a complete and utter waste of time, energy and money.  I actually felt a little angry with the man for his patronising display of self indulgence, totally conceited.  Does he actually think that people are that uneducated musically that they can’t spot “I really can’t be bothered, but no one will mind – they’ll love me anyway”?  I really believe he felt he could get away with more or less playing to himself as he is Talvin Singh, no one will mind as he is the man.. People will clap to the sound of him blowing his nose..  I can’t speak for the Indian’s in the room that night but it didn’t wash with us buddy!After the blue frog we headed to Kini’s flat in Bandra – she is a DJ in India and a really nice `girl – she totally holds court when she speaks, very funny, lots of tales to tell and most enjoyable listening to them being told in her broad Indian accent! She lives in a beautiful flat (bandra as I said before is the kind of arty/fashionable area – comparable to Shoreditch or Dalston) the place is very Bijou and is decorated in such a style as well, very arty – seats on the floors, cushions, lots of little creative touches and trinkets – beautiful.  Me and Tim agree if we lived here we’d love such a place.We stay for a few drinks and then head back to Lokawalla as our bags are there.  We leave in 2 rickshaws and the drivers decide to race each other along the roads – its was VERY funny at the time but looking back now we realise it was rather dangerous! The Indian roads are literally a succession of pot holes! We get back and as we’re now quite tanked up I’m ready to deal with the fact I locked myself out of my backpack!!!  We have a drink of old monk and coke as soon as we get there and then I attack the padlock with a butter knife!  It takes me about 15 minutes of sawing and good old elbow grease but I get that fucker open!! How I managed it with a butter knife I still really couldn’t tell you! We stay up drinking until nearly the crack of dawn and then decide to hit the sack.

Day 5:

Friday: Woke up VERY late unsurprisingly – slept very well  which was funny considering the sleeping arrangements! There is quite a few people crashing at the apartment so the only bed Flic could kindly offer us was hers – we all slept width ways across the futon on the floor and amazingly we all fitted (4 of us!) and got a great night sleep with plenty of room! Tim was feeling very, very unwell when he woke and stayed in bed a bit longer reading – by the sounds of it he has same thing I had yesterday, we swear its those bloody malaria tablets.  We arrange to go to my good friend Tony’s house who I haven’t seen in years – he is now living in Mumbai.. We were supposed to go and see him after the blue Frog last night but we didn’t want to rock up at silly o’clock in the morning so decided to go today.  We head in a rickshaw with our luggage (which I can now get into!!) and begin the usual hassle of trying to get a driver to understand where we want to go.Tony lives on the top floor of a private apartment complex.. Very, very nice and it was so cool to see him again, he’s an absolute star and we immediately feel really, really welcome – he’s ordered pizza from pizza hut for us!! Pizza hut hut hut! MUCH nicer than the greasy UK Pizza Hut pizza and exactly what the doctor ordered given how we are both feeling! His pad is lovely and has a HUGE roof terrace over looking Mumbai so we sit outside to eat and catch up.  He tells us lots of tales of Mumbai including some amazing stories about how it is in monsoon season – the water can go up to your waist in the streets but still the locals get out and go to work.  There is only one place that delivers food and they come in a boat to your door!  We also talk about the street dogs and tell him how much we like them, he makes us laugh telling us about his “own” street dog that he’s called Ralph that he feeds, he sees him eating all kinds of nasty stuff out the bins too! Someone put a collar on him and now he walks round thinking he is the man..! LOL He also advises that we never do anything other than give them a scratch or a pat on the head as lots of them have sores on their body in places we can’t see and they might bite of we accidently touch them.  He also tells us to be careful of them in the middle of the night – they turn into different creatures! Sometimes if you see 10 or more of them on a street corner they break into a kind of pack mentality and maybe attack you! Eek!We’re supposed to be meeting the guys to go to the Blue Frog AGAIN tonight as Shane who is staying at same place with Flic (great guy who we met when we went for the meal on 2nd night) is playing there, so we leave Tony’s to meet Flic and Russell – 20 mins later and another rickshaw driver taking us on a merry journey round in circles and we finally get there and jump into a taxi with them.  On the way they break the news that we are not on the free list, its now after 12 so we realise its probably not worth going as by the time we get there we’ll only have about an hour and will be paying full price on the door.  We decide to get out at bandra and have a drink there instead – Flic and Russell carry on in the taxi. We have a little wander around Bandra and its now nearly 1am – most of the bars shut at 1 so we have to hurry! We find a place called the Hawaiian Shack bar – pay 1,000 rupees to get in for both of us – that also get you a book of drink tokens as well as entry.  We walk past the shot gun welding security guard on the door (and you thought the security in London clubs was bad! LOL) and into the bar – its playing uber tacky music, is really really busy and seems to be a hang out for the locals.  Within 2 seconds I feel massively uncomfortable and want to leave! Every single man in the place is STARING… As a white woman in india you get used to men staring but the people in Mumbai have this certain expressionless look on their faces ALL the time, and when they are staring its the same look.  After a while this dead fish eyed expression gets a little uncomfortable to say the least – they look like they want to kill you!  I also have my flipflops on and am 5 foot 1 so I feel so so  small – its just a bit scary! At the back of the bar there seems to be a few groups of Westerners so we head that way and order a drink.  I tell Tim I don’t really want to hang around (currently 30 men with unblinking stares at me) and he agrees! They play Boney M and for a second the disco transports us and we don’t care about the starers but then the track finishes and the staring is still there! We make a sharp exit and jump in a rickshaw back to Tony’s.  Weirdly after what Tony was telling us about the dogs a group of 3 of them along the main road try to attack the rickshaw as its driving along!! We’ve never seen them do that before! Very strange! It was actually really funny as apposed to scary as they had no chance of catching it as it was bombing it along the road. We AGAIN have nightmares with the driver and a 15 min journey takes about 40 as he gets totally lost! We finally get back and sit up with Tony going through track after track of wicked music and we all do a music swap of bits and bobs we have.. A really nice rest of the evening and we are gutted that we bothered going out at all – wish we’d stayed in with Tony and are sad we didn’t hook up with him as soon as we got to Mumbai – would be nice to have some more time with him!!

Before we go to sleep we have the TV on and watch the Indian version of “wipeout” its the most hilarious thing I have ever seen – even funnier than tekeshi’s castle the Japanese version – these Indian dudes in shiny unforgiving tight catsuits making fools of themselves falling into water and off platforms.  The catsuits leave nothing to the imagination and do little to dispell the old rumour that Indian blokes have tiny ding a lings!! LOL. He kindly gives us his bed for the night and we  hit the sack.

Day 6:

Today we leave for Goa!  Woo hoo! We’ve really enjoyed Mumbai but my GOD its hard here! Coming from the madness of London smack bang into the most overpopulated city in the world has been HARDCORE.  Being woken up every morning – not be the alarm, but by the smell from outside  – the noise the dust, the dirt the poverty.. God it has been something!  We are both SO glad we came here though – its been an experience and we have met some brilliant people and seen things we never thought we would!  Either way though we couldn’t be looking forward to Goa and the beach more!We leave Tony’s for the airport – and nearly have a head on crash on way to airport! Stupid motorbike driver on wrong side of road heads right for our rickshaw!!! It all goes in slow motion – very weird! The cheeky fucker then has go at the rickshaw driver!!! We arrive 1 piece and get our e-ticket printed out from the ticket desk, go through the police check and then head to the check in desk – all smooth so far! When we get to the check in desk the lady takes our tickets – and tells us – this flight was 5 days ago… “WHAT?!!” there must be a mistake surely?!! But there it is plain as day we had booked ourselves on the flight for the 22nd instead of the 27th – we are SO sure this is not the case even to this day and wonder if its a scam! OK when we booked the flights it was the night before we left, we’d been packing all day and it was close to 2am so we were very tired but I asked Tim to check and double check everything was right and we both did several times before booking.  Something is up here! The lady tells us there is nothing she can do, but if we hurry there are a few seats left on the flight.  I tell Tim to wait with the bags and I run back through security, back to the ticket desk and ask the guy to book us on the flight.  This will set us back £135 EACH when the original flight was £35.. bloody HELL! But nothing we can do about it! He books us on the flight and takes my card for payment.. I wave to Tim to say everything is cool so he disappears off to get in the queue for check in while I pay.  Then the guy comes back – saying my card isn’t working in the machine and I should go to the ATM on the other side to get cash – he tells me I have to hurry up as he is leaving his shift to go home in 5 minutes!! I run over and for some reason i can’t get cash out either!!! Eek!! Tim is on the otherside of the terminal and can’t see me!! Fuck fuck fuck! I’m waving and waving for what feels like 10 mins and he finally sees me – runs back with the trolley and tells me to try with his card.. I then realise I have left my cash card in the ATM!!!  My god!! Run back and luckily its still there!  Then run back to the guy at the ticket window and give him Tim’s card.. he comes back.. This isn’t working either!! Argggh!!!  We are now also getting close to the end of check-in time and I’m starting to errr shall we say flap?!! Remain calm.. yeah right! SO… I go back to the ATM to try to get cash with Tim’s card – same thing.. It wont let me get the money out.  I’m now close to tears and me and Tim try to swap places so he can try but the police stop him.. They say we have to go all the way back out again and then come back in.. jesus. Christ.  Finally Tim is out (LOL he had to push past ALL the people who were going the opposite ways with trolleys of luggage!) we run to the ATM – he tries his card, no luck. I’m actually getting tearful  at this point.  He then tries his card with a smaller amount and bingo – the money comes out, likewise the same thing works with mine.  We leg it back over to the window and the bugger has gone home for the day.. Grrrr! We then have to queue up again and start the ticket application all over again – filling out the forms – but then £135 each lighter and verging on a heart attack we get the tickets and CHECK IN! On the way back we bump into Flic and Russell who are coming on the flight with us – they have tried to check in only to be told their tickets were cancelled!! Its seems as someone else used their card to buy the tickets for them – they can’t get on – cardholder has to be there with them.. Seems its not just us having a bad day!! They have tried to get on the same flight but its now full up! We feel really bad for them but have to go as our flight is boarding – we leave with the plan for them to get a later flight or tomorrows flight and we’ll meet them in South Goa. When we get to the boarding gate Shane is sitting there…! We nearly forgot he was coming too! The plan basically is to head to South Goa as its a girl called Supreea’s birthday party at a hotel, she is an old friend of Shane’s and someone Flic met the last time
she came to Goa.  Feels a little strange going now Flic isn’t coming, we are KINDA gatecrashing a strangers party! But its cool we can hit the hotel from the airport with Shane.  Get on the flight – all very nice, modern and feels like we are only in the air for 10 mins! Then we touch down in beautiful green, lush Goa – the atmosphere couldn’t be more different from Mumbai – you can feel it in the air as soon as you get there.  We sort a taxi and head to the hotel, stop on the way to get some beautiful bananas from the side of the road and some pakoras (Indian battered vegetables) these ones have green chillies in them too – HOT but very delicious! Its now getting dark and we wind through the Goan villages – all very beautiful and the people just seem happier here along the way.   We go over this really, really skinny little bridge over a river and its so cool – the driver says “don’t look down!!” LOL its a bit of a drop and the bridge is so small only 1 car can go at a time – brilliant.  Me and Tim are agreed we love Goa already.  We suddenly hear music and the warm sounds of people laughing and shouting and realise we are at the hotel – we weren’t expecting this at all!! I thought it was like a hotel, hotel!! This place is called Mata Shree and is beautiful right in the middle of no where and by the looks of it – the party is in full swing!  We pull up and straight away are welcomed in by everyone – Clayton, the guy whose place it is – takes us up to our rooms.. He’s a really cool guy, older, bit of a hippy and a real character we get to learn! We dump our stuff and then head downstairs.  Tim tells me he isn’t feeling well again (toilet trouble and sickness) and so we sit down with a couple of drinks.  I grab and old monk (70 rupees for old monk and coke – that’s £1.. DANGEROUS!) and decide to order some food – We order this absolutely beautiful king fish with mash potato, absolutely delicious.  Tim is now looking very worse for wear and is not even touching his food – this is a huge sign that he MUST be REALLY ill – nothing comes between Timbo and his plate of grub.  I think he’s just being an ill bloke at 1st but this makes me realise he must be feeling terrible.  We pop up to our room and then BOTH of us are taking it in turns in the loo… oh dear!! Regretting eating those chillies now! Ouch! LOL.  Tim starts to feel sick on top of this.  We play a game of Scrabble (ha ha – party still going on downstairs!) have a lie down with a view to joining the party in a bit when we feel better but end up falling asleep, wake up and its the bloody morning!!! We missed the whole frickin party!!

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Melissa & Tim… Blogging all over the world!

Hello world! So here’s our blog – we’ll be getting it out to you in bite size pieces – prob 2 days at a time so there isn’t so much to read! Although we have been here for 14 days now we have decided to have a little holiday for a fortnight so the writing has only just started! Please click to receive vis email or I will be adding the links to it in the facebook group as well.. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_135046779886604 Tim & Melissa xxx

Day 1:

Its Monday 22nd November – day 1 of our travels – D Day is here finally! No more work and no more waiting! Woo hoo! We get to the airport nice and early – most unlike us and completely out of character (thanks to Kate Dawson giving us lift!) to see us off British style we have full English, a cuppa and an orange juice at a place at the airport, when we get the bill there is a beautiful “up yours” reminder of what a rip off dear old blighty is. Glass of orange juice £5.50 each.. LOL bye bye London.. bye bye. On the plane for our 8 and half hour flight – flying with Jet airways – never flown with them before no idea what to expect. The experience was rather an amusing one..Travel stewards couldn’t care less! No safety instructions (just a vague video in Indian that no one was watching|), no-one bothered to come round to make sure seatbelts were done up.. lady in front of me had her seat right back all the way through take off! I was sat next to old Indian couple – very sweet – she told me I gave her a good impression of British people and that I was very nice girl (heh heh). Food was very nice – curry served twice! I was also very lucky to have several brats behind me who were kicking off all the way and kicking my seat ALL the way… *sigh* sod’s law that one! 1 of them kept running up and down the aisle.. Boy was I tempted to stick me foot out! At one point the woman with aforementioned brats swung forward and nearly slapped a dirty nappy in my face that she was holding!! Lots of turbulence.. weeeee! Watched Inception (quite good I suppose – bit of a Matrix rip off), Tim gets quite far in Who Wants to be Millionaire game, and I listened to Sergeant Pepper and Led Zeppelin.. Felt all British and bit emotional.. Had sneaky patriotic cry when Tim wasn’t looking. A drunk man kept kicking off and was told to pipe down or they’d restrain him at the back – was nice to have something juicy to have a rubber neck at! You should have heard some or things he was shouting at this old dear that looked like Gail from Coronation Street.. We were cracking up! At the other end the police were waiting for him.. Dear oh dear! Rubber glove time!

It’s now Tuesday 12:30am Indian time we arrive in Mumbai.. Long wait for the baggage and kept laughing thinking about Lee Evans sketch about the airport and the bits with the bags coming out all flustered when they are on the baggage carousel. We meet our pals Flic and Russell at the other side but by time we have luggage we have lost them! Come out of airport hit straight away by the smell of Mumbai.. Its not pleasant is all I will say. Kind of like sitting down wind from a dog’s arse that you’ve been feeding cheese for a week + the smell from the pedigree chum factory + sewers + a stagnant pond. Lots of people just having a kip in random places… Like the floor for example… Suddenly realise we are in middle of India with no where to stay and no idea where our mates are and no way to get hold of them! After a 10 minute panic we just manage to see them before they get into a taxi and grab a number. We then have to ask gun toting security men where we can get a hotel, sort one and get in taxi. Indian traffic is HILARIOUS! Lots and lots of beeping of horns – we both crack up everytime someone beeps – which is a LOT. Roads are absolute CHOAS and seems the way to cross a road is to just walk out in front of traffic.. Not looking forward to testing this one out! Drive past the slums – mental.. Tim tells me not to be too surprised if I see someone doing a poo in the gutter.. LOL. (He’s been to Mumbai once before on a business trip) Goodness gracious me! Get to hotel – very nice – ordered some food. On menu they have: cheese and cheese sandwich, chilly cheese (sic), chilly cheese and cheese, dinner costs about £2 for the both of us. Watch shallow grave on TV – even though we only left Britain yesterday it feels REALLY strange to hear English accents! Go to bed and have great nights sleep.

Day 2:

Wake in the morning and have 1st Indian shower – was very nice and hot water too, which we weren’t expecting! Have 10 min debate over whether its OK to use water from tap to brush teeth and decide it’ll be fine. We go down and have curry for breakfast, then head to back to airport to sort another hotel for next night as the one we are staying in is full up. See lots of people sleeping in strange places again – funniest choice for this afternoon… It seems that a wooden pallet is a comfy place for a kip. Manage to sort hotel which is in a place called Juhu – apparently a nice part of Mumbai. Get a proper old school Indian taxi – absolutely DOPE! Driver is very old dude who proceeds to chuck our bags in the boot and ties the boot down with string! MUMMY! He can just about see over the top of the HUGE steering wheel. See slums in daylight – just mental.. People EVERYWHERE like everywhere – people literally living at side of road, in gutter, in central reservation on road, so poor.. Hard to get head round how poor. Old ladies, babies – mental. See lots of street dogs, make that LOADS! Very pleased about that! Driver stops off somewhere and we encounter our 1st beggar. Girl of about 9, very polite calls us sir and ma’am asks for chocolate, then money, then anything.. Heartbreaking.. But we have to man up and be strong as this will happen a lot – the money sure wont be going to the little girl, more like the man who is waiting at the end of the road. I end up giving her my hairband which she is absolutely delighted with. We both feel a bit choked really. Driving along more people, donkeys, dogs, beeping.. Mumbai is NUTS. We get to the hotel and they tell Tim they are not open until 7:30pm!! Its now the middle of the afternoon so we sit and wait in a cafe. After about 40 mins we realise where Tim asked wasn’t actually the hotel.. LOL.. the hotel is behind the cafe (what are we like) We check in and my tits get spoken to by the grinning bell boy that takes our bags up. We then head out in our 1st rickshaw to meet Flic and Russell at their apartment in a part of town called Lokawalla. Rickshaws are mental and very cranky – just being in one gives me the giggles. Me and Tim agree they are brilliant and that we want one for back in the UK, in fact a whole fleet that we will paint to look like black taxi’s (anyone want to invest?!). Stopping at traffic is a bit hardcore in 1 of the most polluted cities in the worlds though! Dust, exhausts, THAT smell (don’t make me go there!) and beggars running up to the car. Our rickshaw driver gets “lost” – they do this a lot to scam money – but to be honest we are talking them sneaking it up by 50 rupees – that’s literally under a quid so who cares really! The place they are staying at is lovely with a view across some woods, lots of eagles flying in the sky. We eat and then head back to the hotel with a view to meeting them later on in the evening. Have a kip, watch tv – see things are kicking off with the students back home (go on the students!) and also with North Korea and feel very far away! Wake up in the eve – spend about 20 minutes trying to work out the Indian tap system so we can have a shower… Notice we have a gate crasher in the form of a pigeon nesting in our bathroom fan – that’s cool Tim says he can eat the insects. Head in a rickshaw to go and meet Flic, Russell and a guy called Shane who we met at their place earlier. Meet them outside the KFC in a part of town called Bandra – this place is supposedly the Shoreditch/Dalston area of Mumbai. We stupidly wait for them on the street corner and are harassed from every angle straight away by beggars… Old woman carrying a baby who must only be about 18 months pleads with us for money.. We retreat into the KFC to wait inside there. We look out the window and watch this family living at the side of the road. The baby the old lady was carrying in literally crawling around in the gutter with all the crap, rubbish and dirt. Its just incomprehensible. I watch the dad playing with them and they are all laughing and smiling. This has to be one of the strangest place on earth, even stranger is how quickly you get used to it. The guys finally arrive and we head to a bar called Elbo Rooms – all the way up the road a couple of little boys follow us, hands out for money. We pass a building site and the guys point out the Indian health and safety – the scaffolding is made of bamboo and tied to some trees is a huge net to catch the builders if they fall off! We arrive and have a few drinks with the guys who are already at the table a guy from Leicester called Uri, local guy called Viral (very funny bloke), a DJ called Debbie who we met back in the UK and we have more than few laughs over some beers. We then decide to go to a sea food place they know that does amazing food. I jump into a rickshaw with Uri and Shane and we talk about hiphop and they tell me lots of cool stuff about Mumbai. At the restaurant we have THE most amazing food ever, prawns so fresh they taste like they jumped out the sea onto your plate. We have originally decided to stick to a vegetarian diet and also fish just as we were told the meat in India was no good. After talking to the guys we realise this is ridiculous – the chickens are all free range running about and are not fed on water and crap like they are in the UK. Animals are actually looked after very well in India – you can see this just by looking at the wild street dogs. With this is mind the next dish is chicken – delicious, we then have fish and stop for a breather, and for everyone to go outside and have a smoke. On the way down we pass 3 live crabs in a cage at the bottom of the stairs that we will be eating later! The guys are all very funny and really, really amazing people – Viral bumps into a few old friends outside and they invite us to a party at their house later (uh oh!). Back in and 4 old monk’s and coke later (old monk is a very cheap and tasty rum over here a whole bottle is 120 rupees – just over a quid! We’re told its the “thunderbirds of India” as in something you everyone gets drunk on for the first time when they are youngsters) we’re all feeling very merry as the delicious crabs arrive! What an amazing evening – we feel very blessed to be hanging out with such nice people on our 2nd night here – our tummys hurt from all the laughing. Viral in particular is very funny – he says things like “be cool.. Like John Travolta” in his strong Indian accent – top bloke. We go to pay the bill and for 8 of us eating 4 courses with 4 drinks it comes to £11 a head – unbelievable! We then make our way to the party at Viral’s pal’s house.. An AMAZING pad.. Lots of marble flooring, very cool with a kind of mezzanine level above, its just the 8 of us plus AJ (the guy whose house it is) and his friend. Lots of very deep and interesting conversations, lots of booze and some really good music (have been very impressed with the music in India so far actually). AJay is a film maker and a very, very cool guy, very interesting, he makes us all feel very welcome. We end up trashing on until 7am! I doubt this will surprise any of you! When we go to leave in the morning (the walk of shame India style) its actually POURING with rain! I go sailing all the way to the bottom of his marble drive at the front of his house on 1 flipflop and end up in a muddy puddle at the bottom. We manage to grab a rickshaw after about 10 minutes in the heavy rain, get in it – drive about 10 yards and the engine cuts out! The driver tells us we have to get out and get another one. We wait for another 10 mins in the pouring rain and then grab ANOTHER one. We all pile into this one and then the driver decides he doesn’t want to take us to where we need to go!! LOL so we have to jump out and hail ANOTHER one! Funny thing is that if this had happened in London after a night getting on it, then we would’ve gone nuts – we just found the whole thing highly amusing! We finally get back to hotel order some cigarettes and beer from the hotel reception – sit up talking about how lucky we have been to meet such great people on our 2nd night and then finally crash out.

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