India 2001 Travel Diary, Part 4

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© 2001 Giles Orr

Tuesday 15 May 2001, 0650

[map of the Sea Palace Hotel room layout]

The view is beautiful, looking out on the sea (although that area, and the washroom, are unairconditioned). We're in a classy neighbourhood, three blocks from the Taj (which is directly across from the Gateway to India).

The washroom is small and old. A lot of marble. The "shower stall" is just an indentation in the floor, with two walls made of curtains. I shower in just the "cold" water.

It's kind of amusing to wash (sanitize) your hands in water that's essentially a poison to us. The hotel supplies us with bottled water to keep in our fridge.

I got about seven hours sleep last night. Doug says he only got two ...

What I would have brought, in hindsight: a washcloth (none supplied), a towel (supplied, but no bathmat), hangers to hang the clothes I've washed. More Altoids, but that's a luxury item. 100% CoolMax clothes, no cotton (much more comfortable to wear, dries much faster when washed).

As evil as the Permethrin was to apply, I'm glad I did it.


This city has crows like North American cities have pigeons. But these aren't North American crows - they have a tall gray ruff around the neck.

If I don't "start shitting water" as Doug so eloquently puts it, I'm going to gain weight on this trip.


We ate at Chetana last night. The Wayside Inn tonight, right next door. It is, as Marc said, a hangover from the British Raj. Fish and chips first, mildly curried chicken and veg as the second course, and (the only really good course) custard with caramel sauce for dessert.

They want us to write journals, but if we want eight hours sleep, we have no evening time to write.

Today we had two lectures on art in the morning, and an almost American boxed lunch. Suspect vegetables in the sandwiches (I wondered, and overheard Marc commenting on it).

We had some free time in the afternoon, which I spent with Marc and Jim Bogert - first changing money, and then shopping, including Cottage Emporium again where I bought some more stampings.

Should provide enough for several friends.

The Taj Hotel.

At 1540 we all gathered in the lobby of the Taj (another colonial left-over, and far classier and more expensive than our hotel).

The remainder of the afternoon was spent on a walking tour in Malabar Hill, around the Banganga Tank and its temples. We were led by a very young and pretty Indian lady who has a degree in architecture and is going to Stanford next year. The heat was brutal, the humidity astonishing. My "Hydromove" shirt does wick moisture extremely well, but it's too warm. Back to the Coolmax.

Banganga Tank. More pictures of the area here.

The Tank area made for great pictures. Very bizarre culture and history. If I knew (and I don't), I might say "It could only be Indian." A temple crammed between two apartment buildings. The temple is small, open on one side. There is laundry hanging there, as it hangs everywhere in the city.

Most of us wilted badly in the heat. They took us straight to dinner, probably just as well as half of us might not have gone to dinner if they'd returned us to the hotel.

I sat with Doug, Janet and Fred. We laughed (what else could we do?) at the pair of rats chasing each other in a corner. Unlike the place last night, this one was open to the air, only ceiling fans to keep us cool.

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by giles