Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Photos - India Night 2 - dinner
Some of the early December crew. Dr Y and S (look hard and you'll see him), Kelly (aka Tower) and Joy (USA), Amani, Bob and O and J (cropped from pic). C was too unwell to attend.
We ate at a lovely seafood restaurant, feasting on lobster, prawn and other culinary delights - all coated with the obligatory Indian spices, which Bob and I love. We met two couples from SI and conversation quickly turned to fertility, surrogacy, cycling, EPS, transfers, and all things baby-making related. Really, where else in life would you meet complete strangers and on first meeting get down to picking through the nitty gritty of their fertility issues, their hopes, dreams and fears. Joy and I hit it off immediately. She walked into the restaurant, a golden glowing expectant mother, with the biggest most friendly smile, and I thought: "Oh Thank You Lord, another tall blonde in Mumbai!" I think the first thing I said to her after hello, was "How tall are you?" Five feet, six inches. So I was still taller than any woman on Indian soil. Bugger. I wanted someone to share the stares with me.
Dinner was fun, but all too quick. Joy and teased our husbands and dr S, becoming increasingly competitive with both or praise and our jestful insults. She was so much like me. She looked like me, laughed like me, and even pulled in her chin when she smiled for a photo, then remarked: "I'll bet my face looks fat in that one, take another one." Just like me. Our bond was instant and I was looking forward to catching up with them at the hospital the following day. The other couple, also from the US, were really sweet, and husband J very funny. Poor O was obviously in a great deal of discomfort from cycling, and suffering from nausea. We thank O and J for coming to dinner when O should have been home safely tucked in bed.
The lobster. It was huge, but I don't know where the "oversized one hell of a BIG lobster" pic has gone. Check out Dr S. He looks like he already has half a lobster crammed into his chubby little cheeks. Couldn't you just pinch them?
Feeling satisfied and tired, dinner wrapped up and we decided to walk back to our hotel. Ah, it would be the last night at The Emerald. I had convinced Bob I had paid my penalty for trying to safe a few dollars and booking accommodation that really didn't suit me. He agreed we would go to the Sun and Sand, my original choice of hotel, the following day, albeit with jibes about me wanting a ten star hotel. Not fair! Three days on the streets of Mumbai, with its noise, dirt and chaos, really deserves at the end of the day a larger room with a mini-bar that works. While the hotel is basic, it is clean (except for the cat-pee smell), but I guess I wanted to really super-enjoy our holiday, not camp out in student-like digs. Been there, done that. I also wanted internet, my SI forum addiction was raising its ugly head. I had to get online.
We walked back along Juhu Tara Road towards The Emerald, Bob with GPS in hand. It was a lovely evening, we were happy, there were people out on the streets, enjoying the beach, or just sitting in the doorways of their shops watching the world go by. I loved the activity. Perth closes down when the sun disappears and everyone disappears into their own little cocoons of security. In Mumbai sunset seems to bring the people out into the streets. There was still much to see and appreciate, but again, a lot to try and avoid. The packs of street dogs really got to me. I wanted to set up an RSPCA shelter for them so they would be well fed and cared for (though in all likelihood they would be unsuitable for rehoming and probably euthanised). They seemed happy enough, scavenging in the corners of the night for whatever tasty morsel they could find to sustain them. Most of them were not too skinny, though a lot were branded with old scars, that I assume were earned through coming worse of in doggy gang wars.
My feet became tired, my shoe had broken and Bob couldn't locate the hotel on his GPS. We decided to accept an offer of a ride from from one of the ubiquitous rickshaw drivers milling around. You cannot walk down any street in Mumbai without at least thirty rickshaw or taxi drivers pulling alongside you offering you a ride. Relieved, we settled ourselves under the cramped canoopy of the back set and said "The emerald Hotel please". And the driver did not move.
"Out," he commanded in heavily-accented English.
Out? What is this out business? we queried, then tried again.
"The emerald hotel. Juhu Tara Road."
"Out," he barked again, then revved his little moped motor while not moving.
It suddenly dawned on us we were not getting a ride.
"50 rupee," I told him to which he replied. "Out."
It suddenly dawned on me. We were actually being chucked out of a rickshaw!
At that point Bob's GPS unexpectedly whirred into action and located the hotel. He laughed, realising why we were being denied a ride.
"Am, it's just around the corner," Bob advised me. And it was. We bid farewell to our not-so-friendly would-be driver, walked the twenty steps around the corner to our hotel and flopped into bed, unwashed, dirty, overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of Mumbai and the day's profound meetings, and happily passed out.
Posted by Phoenix at 10:01 AM