Uncle Steve and Auntie Susan arrived on the evening of Tuesday, February 9th for what would be their 2nd visit to Abu Dhabi. Bec and I had to work on Wednesday, but that evening we ventured out to the Qasr al Hosn Festival which is an interactive celebration of the UAE’s cultural heritage. On Thursday, Uncle Steve and Auntie Sue explored Marina Mall and strolled along the Corniche. That evening, the four of us set off for the airport and boarded the red-eye to Mumbai.
We arrived in Mumbai at 3:00am and found our way to the Ascot Hotel in Colaba. The Colaba district of Mumbai contains the city’s oldest buildings from the English colonial times. We managed to get a little sleep that morning before heading out into the city. We walked up Strand Road to the Taj Mahal Hotel and Gateway of India. We fit in a little shopping at one of Auntie Susan’s favorites, Good Earth, which happened to be having a big sale. From there, we made our way to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival where we wandered through the sculptures, paintings, pottery, and craft stands. We later visited the oldest surviving colonial building in Mumbai, St. Thomas Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1718. We passed through the Horniman Circle Garden and emerged at the steps of the old Town Hall. By this point, we were ready to relax a little so we popped into the Hotel Residency Fort and enjoyed a Kingfisher. For dinner, we visited Mahesh Lunch Home, a popular restaurant that Steve and Sue had visited years ago. It did not disappoint and we thoroughly enjoyed our first of many Indian dinners.
The next day, we caught a taxi to one of South Mumbai’s most famous market’s, Crawford Market. It was bustling with activity and I was able to pick out some fish masala and vindaloo curry powders to take home. We continued on to the Mumba Devi Temple and had a look inside. We tried to find a large flea market named Chor Bazaar, but had a little difficulty in our search. We did find a nice market street before giving up and heading to Chowpatty Beach for lunch. We tried the house specialty at Cream Centre, chana bhatura, a chickpea masala with a large hollow fried bread. We burned off some of our lunch by walking down the promenade of Marine Drive.
That night, we stopped by Leopold’s Café for a beer before catching cocktail hour at the Harbour Bar in the Taj Mahal Hotel. The timing worked out perfect and Steve and Susan’s friend, Kim, who is in India for work, popped into the bar and said a quick hello. We finished the day with an excellent three course meal at the nearby Indigo restaurant.
We were well into our 9 day India trip and had an early morning pick up to head inland to explore some of the Maharashtra countryside.