Continued from Mumbai Day 3 Part 1.
I crossed under the highway, and things do look slightly better on this side of town.
And this is David Sassoon’s bust. I’ve seen his name at other areas in town. Once one of the richest man in Bombay. An orthodox Jew originally from Baghdad. Made his money in trading cotton and opium. Can I call him a drug dealer?
That was that. Coming here made me look up David Sassoon. Learned something new.
The entrance to Victoria Gardens. This all used to be the Sassoon’s property. I believe there’s a zoo in the gardens, hence, all the kids. Yes, this area is much nicer than the other side of the highway.
Ali Haji Mosque is out in the middle of the ocean with a narrow causeway connecting it to the main land. I believe the sea washes over the causeway during high tide and you can only access the mosque during low tide. Well, it seems to be low tide right now. Here’s something else about Mumbai. Even though it’s right next to the ocean, I can’t smell any of the normal smell that I associate with the ocean and the beach. The water smells like nothing.
Not a minute after the previous photo, a massive rogue wave washes over the entire causeway. Shit! My shoes are soaked through now. To everyone behind me, I must have looked comical jumping around trying to avoid the water that could not be avoided. I was a little frustrated that I’ve got soggy feet now, and thought about turning back around. But, no, I must soldier on. I already came all this way.
All over town, I see these heavily armored vehicles. I am guessing they are here to prevent terrorism. Nice armored vehicles, but the wheels and tires look pretty pedestrian. All that armor, and all you have to do is put down a nail strip.
I walked in, and was immediately notified upon entering that they are only serving brunch at this hour. It’s 3:30PM…Isn’t that lunner? Or lunper? Either way, I was hungry, so sure, why not. Then I was notified that it was a buffet(they love buffets here in Mumbai) and that it would be 2200 rupees. That’s pretty damn pricy at around $45!!! Then these two magical words were uttered, “Open Bar”. Which way to my table?
I ended up not drinking that much. Maybe 3 drinks. Why are none of my friends on this trip with me to India? It’s just not as much fun drinking alone. The food was fancy, but I don’t think I could have eaten $45 worth. They did have beef on the menu which was certainly a major plus for me. I miss BBQ!
I think I’ve seen everything I’ve wanted to see today. I almost didn’t make it to Indigo because my shoes were wet. Now, I am going to go back to my hotel and take off my wet shoes. Take off wet shoes that you’ve been walking around in is one of the greatest feelings.
Speaking of my hotel, it is the best fucking hotel, EVER!! I don’t think I’ve ever stayed anywhere that comes remotely close, and here’s why.
For starters, the water is safe to drink here. Not a big deal except in India, that is top luxury. Everything is nice, as to be expected for a five star hotel. That’s fine and dandy, but the quality of the staff is where it sets itself apart.
When the taxi dropped me off, I went to the concierge’s desk and asked whether they could help me get a refund for my Kingfisher and India Air flights that were cancelled by the airline. Roohi, who was working at the desk happily agreed. She said that if I can provide her with my ticket number, she’ll gladly call them for me. I had tried to cancel my Kingfisher airline tickets online, and their system is down on purpose. I told Roohi that I heard from other Westerners that they’ve called, and have been put on hold for an hour with no help. Nope, that didn’t faze Roohi at all. Just bring her the ticket info and she’ll deal with it. AWESOME!!
I went up, got my ticket info and came back down to the concierge’s desk. There were three older Canadian travelers asking about their train tickets. They were on the waitlist for Unreserved 2nd Class non-AC, which is the lowest class, and Roohi was trying her hardest to discourage them. Yeah, they are clueless and have no fucking idea what they are getting themselves into.
I saw mice in 2nd class AC and that’s the second best class. What the Canadians are trying to board is actually 6 classes below the class that I saw mice running around in. I’ve talked to people who have ridden in 2nd class non-AC and this is what they have to say. Mouse, cockroach, people going through your bag, people vomiting on you, kids shitting in the train, and people groping you while you sleep. Yup, those are all the things that has happened directly to other travelers who I’ve met on this trip who have taken 2nd class AC. On top of this, it really can get dangerous because some of these people aren’t just poor, but actual poor violent criminals. I mean, you wouldn’t want to walk on the poor dangerous side of town with gun fights. Just because you are a tourist doesn’t make it any safer for you. If anything, you are more of a target.
I had to interject and told the Canadians about how it’s not a good idea. Eventually, I talked them out of it and they’ll hire a car for their travel instead. Good!
I went back up to my room while Roohi called the airlines. In about an hour, she called me back and told me that she called them, and was put on hold but was finally able to get through to them. They said that I would need to call back tomorrow(Monday) when their have regular business hours, and that the airline would need to speak to me because they would need to get info from me. Well, I guess I am back to square one to where I need to call for myself. I think this is where all other hotels stop with their services, but not here. Roohi said that she works tomorrow afternoon, and if I like the continuity of working with just concierge, she’ll gladly call the airline again tomorrow, be put on hold, and when it’s time for me to speak, she’ll just transfer the line and put me on the phone then. Awesome!
While I had her on the phone, I told her that I wanted to see a movie(Agent Vinod), and asked her where I could find a theater. She said that there is one within walking distance of the hotel, then added if I wanted the hotel to look up the times and purchase a ticket for me. Errr, fuck yeah! I picked a time, and she said the ticket would be delivered to my room.
About an hour later, the ticket shows up. It’s an actual paper ticket, so someone from the hotel walked to the movie theater and bought a ticket. I wonder if there’s an extra charge for this? Either way, it’s worth it.(When I checked out, I checked my bill and there was no extra service charge for the ticket)
Then, it was time to eat dinner. I’d been out all day, and had a really late lunch, so I decided to just grab something to eat downstairs.
I’ve never seen balsamic vinaigrette hold surface tension like this where it tries to stay in a sphere instead of just flatting out at the bottom. I wish it would always do this so I can get half balsamic and half oil easier when I dip my bread.
During dinner, at one point I asked for my water to be refilled, and it wasn’t refilled for a couple of minutes. Then I asked again, the server had forgotten while helping others, he came back with the water pitcher and asked if I wanted some dessert, like a tiramisu. Sure, why not, he upsold me.
I’ve already read hotel reviews about people raving on and on about how they had the greatest experience there. I’ve stayed at many of those hotels, and never felt that way. Those people have never stayed at the Trident in Mumbai.
I am the only single traveler in this entire hotel that I’ve seen. All the other single people are older and are very business.
To be continued at Mumbai Day 4.