Anyway...Little Henry (South African), Big Henry (Kiwi) and I meet at the Hyderabad airport on a Friday afternoon to catch our short flight to Mumbai. Nicco (English) would be meeting us in Mumbai on Saturday. I let these guys plan the entire trip including the hotel choice...which frankly scared the crap out of me. The three of us arrive into Mumbai and promptly get the shadiest cab driver I've ever had in India. Whatever...if it's important for him to charge us an extra $2-3 for a $1 fare...he can probably use the money more than I can
. So we get dumped off at what looks like a huge temple...turns out it was. A Hare Krishna temple....ok....that's nice. Where the hell is out hotel? We wander around and finally found it...turns out the hotel is actually a Hare Krishna hotel and was built around the temple itself. Inside there are dozens of Hare Krishnas and tourists checking the place out. We walk what felt like one full mile through corridors and hallways until we reach out room. It was damn nice actually considering what we paid. No TV, but three beds, AC and hot water...sold. We get cleaned up and hop into a taxi to meet a friend we know from Hyderabad...Sindura (or Cindy) and her Kiwi boyfriend Jonathon. Cindy is a former Miss India and originally from Hyderabad and she told us to meet her at a local restaurant that she highly recommended and then we'd head off to a club or two. I get to the restaurant with the two Henry's way early so we proceed to drink every single bottle of Corona that they place in front of us. After many months of nothing but Kingfisher, a bit of Corona tasted like heaven. Cindy and Jon arrive with some of their other friends and we have a great dinner before heading off first to Firangi Pani (which was great) and then finally to Poison. Cindy has a connection at Poison which is one of the hottest clubs in Bombay...and we get the royal treatment including the VIP line and VIP section. The owner took a liking to our loud group and starting sending shots over and the entire group had a good time until 3-4AM
Saturday morning, the Henry's and I hire a car/driver from the hotel for the day and head on down to the city center which is a herculean effort in itself. Our hotel was up in Juhu in the northern part of the city...so getting to/from the city center is about a 2 hour task. Whatever....we wanted to hit Leopolds and a couple other spots in the city so down we went. Nicco called around noon to say he had arrived so we told him to hire a car and come on down. When he showed up after his two hour journey, we told him we were ready to head back to the hotel...I think he almost cried. :) We ended up at another bar and had some lunch before making the decision to head back up north to the hotel. Because we knew our journey would be long, we got some roadies in a bag of ice and headed up north....stopping to pee about 3 times because Big Henry's bladder is the size of a walnut. Back at the hotel we got cleaned up and headed to Olive for dinner...great food...so different than anything we have in Hyderabad. After dinner we got the low-down on some clubs to hit and after torturing our poor driver going from place to place...we finally found one at the JW Marriott and went in for $75 cover charge...each. I hate the India club scene...I really do. We got some drinks for that ridiculous cover charge and eventually left at 2AM to find another party. At an after hours club we are headed out when Little Henry and Nicco start chatting up two local girls...these two girls say we can follow them to another party
. Big Henry is convinced these girls are prostitutes so he decides he wants to know what he's getting into so he asks them (to their face), how much they charge. I've never seen two girls move away so quickly...they literally left skid marks from their heels they were going away so fast. We race auto rickshaws to another party but eventually the rickshaw that Big Henry and I are in loses Nicco's and Little Henry's. So we head back to the hotel at the ungodly hour of 4AM. At the hotel/temple, we notice that there are a lot of Hari Krishna's praying in the temple so Henry and I decide to go pray with them...as respectfully as two guys off the street reeking of booze can do. It was bizarre, but I think we pulled it off without embarrassing ourselves of pissing of the worshipers. Good times.
Sunday we wake up, shake off the hangover, pack and get ready to leave. As Nicco is in another room, Big Henry calls down to the front desk and orders a bunch of room service to his room plus asks is someone can come up and talk to him about the Hari Krishna faith. We go down and check out of the hotel and decide to head over to the JW Marriott and have Sunday brunch before our flight back home. At the JW they staff tells us that brunch doesn't start until 12:45...so Nicco asks if we can hang out by the pool until then. They ask if we're staying at the hotel and Nicco says "we just checked out". Note: We "technically" did just check out of a hotel...just not the JW
. Big Henry and Nicco hop in the pool...Little Henry stayed dry...and I hopped in and back out when I saw the Marriott security force mobilizing against us. Turns out the Nicco had signed us in at the pool desk and he wrote an illegible room number down. They pool police started trying to track him down in the large pool and each time they got close, he and Big Henry would dive under water and swim away. I saw what was going on and started heading towards the exit and was asked multiple times to stop because the manager wanted to talk to me. By the time I got into the hotel building (from the pool area), I was in a sprint and my only focus was to escape Marriott Jail. Little Henry was hot on my heals and told me not to worry....everything was cool. Turns out he was sadly mistaken. We both got outside, I waited in a rickshaw while Little Henry waited by the main entrance to the hotel. Nicco comes storming out and hops into the rick shaw with me and yells "Go go go!". Pool Little Henry didn't know what hit him next...a swarm of Marriott Pool guys form a circle around him...and refuse to allow him into a rickshaw. Turns out he and Big Henry both had to pay 800 rupees for their swim and Nicco and I met them at another hotel where we resumed brunched and laughed at their misfortune.
Even though I was hanging out with a bunch of crazy people, I had fun and the only thing I regret is that somehow in the melee my camera got stepped on and the screen is a little effed up. Oh well....good trip.
With a few people in our expat group leaving us, a few of the boys decided to head out for a weekend to Mumbai (Bombay). I should have probably reconsidered going with this group as I was the elder of the group and probably the only one who hasn't been to jail (I think I'm joking on that "jail" comment...but after hanging out with these guys...I'm not so sure it's a joke anymore).