Sunday 11 February 2007

-- or perhaps not

Booking a hotel in Mumbai proved a nightmare last night. I tried over a dozen, including several visits to the Indian equivalent to directory enquiries where hotels had changed numbers, and eventually found somewhere in a fairly grotty hotel (according to Lonely Planet) with shared bathroom. (Pity I lightened my load by throwing out my flip flops, brought for just such occasions.) So much for my plan to finish the trip in style in Mumbai. Perhaps it's just as well, as I shelled out 1845 (over 20 quid) for Hotel Vellora. Still, at least I had two hot showers for my money.

Of more concern is my continuing health problem: I'm beginning to be concerned about possible kidney/high blood pressure problems and have emailed Chris to ask our doctor if I should try and see a doctor in my last hours in Mumbai.

My continuing fatigue means I'm spending another morning doing very little, in preparation for the afternoon flight to Mumbai. It all seems horribly familiar given that I spent my last two days in India last time being ill in Delhi.

One good thing is that the hotel slid a Sunday newspaper under my door at 6.30 - 'The Asian Age'. It includes lots of syndicated articles, in particular from the Spectator and New York Times, for example, Allan Massie writing on the genre of crime novels, and a good review of a book on India by Edward Luce 'In spite of the Gods' which I will look out for.

One little snippet, which encapsulates this multi-lingual, multi-religious country: when Sonia Gandhi (Catholic) made way to Manmohan Singh (Sikh), he was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Tabdul Kalan (Moslem) in a country where 81% of the country is Hindu.

It is also sad that I have missed the Mysore trip. Still, I'm not feeling too down at the moment, despite this sad blog entry.

Well, here I am marking time at the airport. There are only two terminals, but at 50 rupees, just over 50p, for an hour, this is very reasonable. The computers are in a corner of a cafe and once again I am struck by what a sweet tooth Indians have! It makes me feel good that I am not the only one. As in the icecream parlour yesterday, they are tucking into pastries, icecream and cakes. Indeed everywhere one goes there are stalls selling food and it is not unusual to see families sitting down on railway platforms, tucking into a meal. I have seen one or two overweight young people and I wonder if this will afflict more of the middle classes.

Feeling OK at the moment.

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