Seafood, Salon time and Suitcases. Adios India!

Trip Start Oct 17, 2012
Trip End Dec 24, 2012

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Flag of India  , Maharashtra,
Friday, November 9, 2012

Yesterday morning we started the day off with a visit to Mount Mary Church in Bandra. Set on a slope, in a pretty sleepy residential area, it was surprising to see that even at 1130 in the morning the place was filled with people sitting, praying and contemplating. Though nothing like the extravagant churches I've visited around Europe, I liked the simple art on the wall depicting various scenes from the Bible relating to the Virgin Mary rather than the extravagant gilded examples of what I've seen elsewhere.

For lunch, we visited an old favourite, the seafood chain Ghajalee. When we first came here it was just one restaurant, but its popularity has even taken it to Singapore! We ordered bombil which is a fish particular to Bombay, also called Bombay Duck (for what reason I don't know as it's eel-shaped if anything!), crab, prawns and pomfret. I'd been waiting a long time to tuck into and dismantle a freshly cooked crab so that was my dish of the day!

For dessert, we headed to Bombay Blues another well-known chain for another old favourite: sizzling chocolate brownies! The dish came on a hot plate with a rich chocolatey brownie surrounded by nuts on top of which perched a glistening white scoop of vanilla ice cream. The waiter holding his genie lamp like gravy tray of fudge worked the magic on the dessert as he poured from a height the warm chocolate sauce letting it fall over the brownie and to its sizzling fate on the hot plate. We all tucked in demolishing it in seconds! It was great, and no picture can really do it justice, you have to go there to try it!

With full bellies and only a couple of days left 'til our flight to Singapore, where our adventure begins in earnest, we decided to pamper ourselves in preparation. We went to Freeda's salon in Pali Hill for facials, also popular with Bollywood stars, then round the corner to Juice for manipedis.

After a nice relaxing evening pampering we set off on a night time trip Chowpatty Beach to eat kulfi and falooda on the beach. On the way we stopped off in Mahim to eat Kichda, a meaty wheat porridge that had run out the day we had gone to Mohalla. Kichda is one of my favourite foods so it was great to have a second round of it before leaving!

Reaching chowpatty my cousin Iram went straight to the "baraf gola" stand. This is a peculiarity to Bombay. Essentially its ice on a stick dipped in multicoloured persep syrup with lemon and masala. Being mainly water based, Sabina and I stayed clear of it but it was amusing to watch my uncle and cousin devour it while failing to spill some on their chin!

We ordered Kulfi and Falooda, freshly made and delicious! Then we moved to a pan stall. Pan is made from a betel plant leaf filled with sweet sugaryness. There are many varieties and they all taste fab! We went for the calcutta variety and the panwalla insisted on feeding it to us with his own hands. By feeding I mean shoving it down my throat ! It was still great though!

Today, Sabina did the impossible and woke up before me! After we had both showered and dressed we headed to my parent's apartment to start packing! Packing completed we headed to my other uncle's Papu's for lunch, where another one of my food list items was checked off- Jeff's samosas! Not as smooth and crunchy as I remember, they were still yummy!

For our final pampering session we headed to nearby parlour 21, for an Indian hair oil massage. Our heads were nicely prodded and coiffed into submission, great relaxation given our mid haul flight in a couple of hours!!

We made one final trip to my designer Minal to pick up the printed trousers and skirt she'd made me specially for this trip and trial Sabina's sari blouse. Our last stop in Mumbai was at Riddhi; an art tribal jewellers on Hill Road. When I had visited him before Sabina had come I'd forewarned him we'd be back! He looked happy to see us and him and his shop assistants happily helped Sabina to pick out her accessories and both seller and customer left pockets filled and smiley faced!

Tonight we fly to Singapore! The real part of our journey is soon to begin and I can't wait. I'm writing this while waiting for the taxi to pick us up to take us to the airport! Bags have been packed and repacked, passport ticket and hotel reservations checked and rechecked. Now we're both tentatively sitting whiling the minutes down for our cab, both wondering what the next couple of weeks has in store for us!

Nazaakat xxx
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