Aug 18, 2006
I left Mumbai at 5am on a Saturday morning. My hold on ordinary life is now so weak that part of my reason for this was to miss the 'rush-hour' traffic. I didn't regret it though
. It took about 50km to get out of town, and by 9 o'clock the traffic and the heat were both increasing to discomforting levels. Since by this point it was over a month since I'd actually ridden anywhere, I didn't fancy a long day in the heat. The ride to Vasai, the next small town up the coast, was not overly taxing, but was all on the national highway. Dual carriageway rides tend to be quite quick, but monotonous, as they take you around rather than through the smaller towns, polluted by endless trucks honking their horns and not leaving cyclists enough space, and baking hot as there are no trees for shade. The only comic-relief was provided by the roadsigns, which appear to have been composed by the Maharastra state minister for doggeral. Poetic gems such as 'lane driving is sane driving' and 'safety's intention is accident prevention' made me chuckle every ten kilometers or so.
After Yols left I spent a few more days in Mumbai, hanging out with Jimmy and Enda. Partly inertia, and partly my desire to sample the infamous local speciality 'Bombay Duck'. The dish is mainly famous because it isn't actually duck, it's fish that's been dried in the sun, on the beach. As is often the case with local specialities, Bombay Duck is actually quite hard to find, and even harder to eat. Translucent and glutinous, it is palatable only because it's so delicate and bland you don't really notice it. On the plus side, at a bar I was delighted to discover that Bombay Mix is not just a British invention, so Mumbai scores a par for local delicacies. (Though Bombay Sapphire is still out of budget)