A Travellerspoint blog

Mumbai delivers

sunny 33 °C

So we finally arrived in Mumbai after a 17 hour train journey from Jodhpur. The journey was surprisingly comfortable (relatively speaking) and gave Charlie and I the chance to finally get our teeths stuck into an Indian metropolis.

Having spent the majorety of our time discovering Indian Gate, Colaba, Chowpatty beach, the Museum of Mumbai, CST central station and numerous bizarres/markets we really feel that the last few days have been akin to a European city break. In fact, Mumbai feels very much like London in parts - the architecture has lots of British influence form the early 20th century and the distinct red buses and CST train station feel very much like the heart of the big smoke. Needless to say we have had some much needed city fun.

We experienced our first Bollywood movie at the cinema this evening - fully Hindi with no English subtitles - and were amazed that we had to stand for the Indian National anthem before the film started! However, we did leave at the interval (yes an interval for ice creams!!) as neither of us can speak Hindi...

...of course Mumbai would not be Mumbai without us managing to see a one legged man, bleeding stump and broken tibula exposed from his fly infested wound, begging for money outside of a posh public school for 5 year olds. The kids were more interested in antagonising us than the sight that we were gifted with. This is of course India at its absolutely most craziest and saddest. Having said that - What else would you expect en route to the Odeon in Southend High Street on a Friday night?!

Ross and Charlie xxxx

Posted by charlieandross 08:37 Archived in India Comments (2)

Food Highs and Lows

sunny 25 °C

Hello everyone,

As you know from Ross's last entry, we have both been ill, Ross first and then me, he looked after me superbly (I'm not a good patient, hate fuss and think I know best....and he managed to put up with me for 48 hours and make me better) what a star. We've also got to know eachother in ways we'd rather not....but hey ho, we knew it would happen.

The last few days have been all about recovery, so we've been playing a lot of cards, drinking a lot of flat coke (good tip Miss Dixon) and eating Lays crisps. We just want to be well for our 15 hour train ride from here to Mumbai on Monday evening - we're both really excited about Mumbai, not least for the food, so I thought I'd give you a run down of food highs and lows........(we are not loving the food so far)

Highs: Lassi, Ginger Marsala Chai, Steamed momo's (Delhi street food), a kind of shredded wheat with warm milk and cardomon drink (Jodhpur), 1 Veg Jalfraizi (Agra), Chickpea and tomato stew with hash brown type pots (Jodhpur street food), Rasmalai dessert (Agra and Jaipur), Lays crisps, a stinky knobbly fruit with big seeds and juicy pulp (tastes much better than it sounds).

Lows: Potato bomb curry (Jaipur) - disgusting oily and luke warm- meant to be a local fave, Kulchi's (Jodhpur) nice but we think made us ill, lack of vegetables in Rajasthan generally, cold white toast, oily curry, Cold Thali with oily Roti's, overcooked Dhal, the list goes on. When we're all out of curry and there's no veg, it's been western style crap like potato fingers (chips), rubbery omlettes, Lays crisps - love them, but not for dinner, small flakes (small cornlakes that resemble the bottom of the box).

Generally speaking, most packaged things ae out of date, but we can live with that, we just didn't appreciate the lack of veg for a largely vegetarian country. As a meat and fish lover, I haven't eaten either for 3 weeks now and Ross is craving some fish and veg; and disturbingly, he's dreaming of Covent Garden Carrot and Coriander soup???! I'm dreaming of a roast rib of beef, and Italian fish stew, and I feel the need to bake..........cookies.

At least our appetites are back:-)

So guys, the next time you're moaning about only having a tin of beans and some granary bread in your cupboards, think of us....because right now, that sounds positively divine.....roll on Mumbai.

Love to you all, keep the messages coming, we have uploaded a few photo's and more are being downloaded as we speak.

Charlie & Ross.

Posted by charlieandross 01:17 Archived in India Comments (4)

Jodhpur, honey kulchi, lassi and toilet paper

semi-overcast 23 °C

We have been in Jodhpur (the blue city) for 4 or 5 days now with another few nights to go. We are staying in a charming 6 story haveli complete with our very own mini verandah - overlooking the wonderfully imposing Red Brick fort that towers above us. The Haveli is the perfect antidote for this city and at R900 (£11) per night is amazing value and very romantic by anyones standards. Jodhpur, unlike Jaipur - pink city, is actually very blue. This is a rather impressive sight from our rooftop terrace and at night we can see the whole city lit up from the floodlit hulk of the red fort...

...While Charlie and I have explored most of the city, the fort, and also the impressive Umaid Palace (one of the largest surviving art deco palaces in the world) we have also both been very ill - this time with real Delhi Belly. Fortunately we are both on the mend now. After using about 46 rolls of toilet paper, and pouring as much sympathy as we could each stomach on each other, we have another three days to recover before our journey onto Mumbai.

On the plus side; we have discovered lassi's (creamy yogurt, curd and saffron drinks) - a real winner! We also discovered Kulchi's - honey, potato and onion style samosa's. Unfortunately we think that the two we ate were the offending culprits for our illness!

Ross and Charlie xxxx

Posted by charlieandross 00:31 Archived in India Comments (3)

Superstars in the Pink City!

sunny 28 °C

After the chaos of Agra, Jaipur has offered a little more of the India Charlie and I were really hoping to see. Jaipur, or the Pink city as it is referred to, is a bustling and sprawling city with masses of shops, stalls, and markets selling anything and everything from second hand keys and electrical goods to scholars books and sweets. The people of Jaipur are much more friendly and have given us less hassle than the previous two destinations - this is certainly something which both of us are grateful for after the initial hustle and bustle of the early stages of our trip.

Our visit to the central museum and park was quite hilarious. I was firmly in the grips of Delhi belly (having not eaten for a day or two) and Charlie in the early throws of a chest infection - both of us were enjoying a rather peaceful afternoon in the park, taking things as easy as possible. And then, it happened, Charlie was descended upon by the 34th Jaipur Scout and Girl Guide troupe/pack. Charlie had become an instant minor celebrity - photos were taken, more photos were taken, Charlie dressed in scarf and beret, Autographs sought, kisses asked for!! It was all too much. I asked for calm, insisted the masses talk to her agent. I did not have the authority to deal with this kind of pressure...

...What would Baden Powell do? Quickly I gave the three fingered salute - it worked! Charlie was free from their evil clutches. Wait a minute, no, it had backfired - they came towards me, a 60 legged monster all beret and shorts. More photos sought, ques for handshakes, reef knots tied! What had I done?!! We embraced the leaders, told them stories about London, had our photos taken and pleaded for our freedom. It worked, we were free!

All in all - It was a surreal experience. Being in the minority is strange, fun, and also a little odd. However, being minor celebs for half a day was rather cool! I know what Peter Andre and Matt Cardle feel like now. Ahh the glamour of it all :-)

Next stop Jodhpur (the Blue city)...

Ross and Charlie xxx

Posted by charlieandross 05:24 Archived in India Comments (3)

Bad Food, the Taj Mahal and some nutty natterers!

sunny 26 °C

As we write this from Jaipur(we are playing catch up with the blog!), we feel relieved to have left the heavily touristy Agra....no surprise there really though - it is home to probably the most beautiful building Ross & I have ever seen. Like proper enthusiasts, we were up at 5 am on Saturday to collect our tickets and queue in the dark - so exciting and I really didn't know what to expect or how we would react because we've both seen so many photographs of the Taj. Walking through the gates sent shivers all over and once we were in the grounds and away from the initial other early risers, we both felt we were in a very special place. The highlight being the water at the back of the Taj, watching the sunrise and the birds circling - this has to be the most relaxing moment we have experienced so far....heavenly.................unlike the food in Agra - just awful. We have both never eaten so functionally in our lives and I have never witnessed Ross eat so fast - partly because we are famished but I think he just wanted to get the experience over and done with. Each restaurant offers 'continental' (pizza, omlette, chips) 'chinese' (spelled American Chopsy - not kidding), Indian (bland, cold indian food like we've never had before). We have eaten like this for four days....boredom and constipation in equal measure....nice!

Aside from the Taj Mahal, two good things happened. We met an incredibly interesting Man called Deep (who later greatly assisted us in getting out of this gastronomic hell) and who had the most amazing stories to tell as well as plenty of travel tips. Deep was the only cafe owner with wifi who was happy to stay open without fleecing us in such a touristy area, and he also made the best Masala Chai. He also seeemed to like us a lot but my gosh he liked to natter....more than me!

We also met Chris, a seasoned traveler from Hamburg who was on the last leg of a solo trip for 13 months. So, as you can imagine, he liked to natter too. Nonetheless, he was a sphere of knowledge and though he knows absolutely nothing about either of us, we know loads about him and all the places he's been which will no doubt help us greatly on our journey ahead.

We took a train to Jaipur last night at 17.30, arrived here dead on 22.30 to a much calmer City compared to Delhi. Aggressive touts and tuk-tuk drivers have learned the art of persistence, so we have had to up our game! We are staying in our first historical pad.....a 2 star Haveli complete with original features, stained glass and Indian charm at it's finest. Best place we have stayed so far, 4km outside the City - makes all the difference.

We will update you all on today's events (hilarious) tomorrow....

Family: Post cards have been sent to the littlens and the oldies from Agra.... please let us know if/when you get them!

Glad to see more of you subscribing to our blog. We are still having problems attaching all our photo's but here's a few for now.

Take care all,

Charlie & Ross.

Posted by charlieandross 07:19 Archived in India Tagged agra Comments (4)

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