Incredible India

Our journey back to Delhi for our connecting flight to Mumbai was incredibly entertaining and enjoyable. It’s a five hour drive but with so much to see you can’t get bored. 

We hadn’t left Jaipur before our car had a puncture and ended up with a very flat tyre. Our stunt driver extraordinare pulled us off the road safely and got started on fixing it. He did tell us to wait in the car but what sort of monster would add their own weight to that of the cars for the poor man to try and jack up!? Hahahahaha. 

Standing by the road side we caused quite a stir, residents came out of their homes, and one chap passing on his motorcycle passed, then came back and asked our driver if he could have photos. Our driver told him to ask for himself so he did and naturally I obliged. I like it. I think it’s very sweet and flattering, I get it, I look very different. Although, if I had known I was going to be photographed this much I’d have tried harder to lose weight before I came hahahahaha....the camera adds 10lbs you know! So does the amount of curry and carbs I’ve been consuming. :) 

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Everyone was getting in on the act. Hahahahaha  

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India is a feast not just for the stomach but for every one of your senses. My eyes and brain ached for taking everything in.  

After our tyre was replaced we headed off on our journey to Delhi, a five hour drive might seem daunting but it passed in no time. Our driver stopped at the road side for us to feed the wild monkeys. He went and bought a big bowl of fruit to feed to them. 

It will remain with me as one of the best experiences of my life. Feeding wild monkeys on the Jaipur-Delhi expressway. :) 

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That’s the piece of melon I fed to this little chap. I love this photo.  We arrived in Delhi for our over night stop before our early flight to Mumbai.

That’s the piece of melon I fed to this little chap. I love this photo.

We arrived in Delhi for our over night stop before our early flight to Mumbai.

Mumbai or Bombay as the older residents still refer to it as is very different from anywhere we’ve been in India before. Although busy with traffic, it’s calm and orderly, no different to being in London, Paris or Madrid.  

In Dehli we shared the roads with dogs, cows, horse drawn carts, camel drawn carts and I kid you not down one road was an elephant, a working one, not just a wild one roaming around enjoying himself.  

Mumbai is more cosmopolitan. You instantly feel the difference. There’s still street dogs, not as many as other places we’ve been to. It’s not totally bereft of animal life, just not anything big and interesting. 

In Jaipur I saw a cow laying down in the middle of a busy road, I assumed the poor thing had died, but oh no, he just decided to have a nap there, and no one felt any need to moooooove it along (I apologise, but had to be done hahahahaha). It was extremely amusing and amazing as everyone tried to detour round him. 

On the drive from the airport you go past the slums of Mumbai. Even this was different to other places, these were solid sided dwellings, with real roofs, and a fair few had satellite dishes, which suggests two things, one the owner has a telly and two they have power. This was very different to what we have seen in other parts.  

This felt more hopeful. Although that said if you’d flown straight in to Mumbai you wouldn’t feel that way.  

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We stayed at the most iconic hotel in all of India The Taj Mahal Palace hotel. It has wonderful views of the Gateway of India and the surrounding sea. 

It’s a stunning hotel, if you don’t get to stay here then I can recommend the afternoon tea. It was equally as good as the finest afternoon teas in London that I’ve ever had.  

This hotel was built in 1903. Legend has it that JRD Tata, a leading Indian industrialist in the 19th century, was prevented for entering the Watson Hotel in Bombay on account of his being an Indian. The Watson Hotel had a big board outside that said 'Dogs and Indians not allowed’

On hearing this I could only cringe with embarrassment. But Mr. Tata built a very fine hotel.  And The Watson no longer exists as a hotel, that’s karma for you. 

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The veiw from our room was incredible. Another moment I will never forget on a trip of so many  memorable moments.

The veiw from our room was incredible. Another moment I will never forget on a trip of so many  memorable moments.

The outside looking in is equally as spectacular. I feel so lucky to have come on this adventure, and to think before I came I was quite nervous - of what I can’t quite remember now. 

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It was just after this photo that we had a queue of people wanting photos with me...and even some had them with Chris. It was hilarious.  

Everyone in India that we have met has been so friendly and wonderful. I wonder if people returning home after a holiday to Britain say the same thing? I hope so but it’s doubtful. Hahahahaha  

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The veiw from our hotel at breakfast was perfect. Everything has been. 

Mumbai has some wonderful Victorian architecture, a lot of which has been beautifully preserved.  

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You do have to be aware of pickpockets but that’s the same the world over, my friends wallet was stolen from his pocket in Borough Market in London just before Christmas, it happens, I haven’t ever felt worried here though. 

We only had one little beggar boy who kept asking us to go to the shop with him to buy milk and rice for his baby brother. I wanted to go with him, Chris having been to Mumbai a couple of times before had heard the story on more that one occasion wasn’t so keen. Anyway I couldn’t get Chris to go with him, so I offered the boy money he said “no mam, I can’t take money, come to the supermarket to buy milk and rice” 

He was very sweet. It was hard to say no. But Chris has heard this time and time again, it’s not to buy milk or rice, it’s a ploy to get you into souvenir shops. 

We started to head off away from him so he says in perfect English “oh alright then I’ll just have the money then!” I did laugh, cheeky boy. I gave him the money and we left.  

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Afternoon tea at The Taj Mahal Palace hotel is almost as iconic as the hotel itself.  

And drinking lassi and eating samosas by the pool also comes highly recommended by me. Hahahahaha I’m addicted to mango lassi. As I am most Indian food. I’m going to struggle when I get back home to eat my bland offerings...I’m also going to struggle to open car doors, or any doors come to that for myself! Hahahahaha how quickly we forget our humble beginnings. Hahahahaha  

No trip to Mumbai is complete without a visit to Marine Drive.  

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Top from Jack Wills, Trousers from Tommy Hilfiger, Shoes Salvatore Ferragamo.  

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Dress from Mulberry, Shoes from Jimmy Choo, Bag from Strathberry

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We have been blessed on this trip with things just falling into place, like it’s meant to be. I was looking for a ring, have been for years, I knew in my mind what I wanted but I hadn’t found it anywhere. Then our driver suggested one final shop, ring weary I reluctantly agreed  (yep, the purest definition of first world problems). The shop owner showed me loads of things that were not for me. And then I spotted it in a cabinet. A beautiful peridot ring. Unfussy and just perfect! Not only that but it fit me to perfectly too. I struggle with the ring finger on my right hand as I broke my finger a few years back and it made the palm side a funny shape. 

Peridot is my son Ben’s birth stone. I have a Sapphire ring which is Sam’s birth stone but I always felt something was missing. And now I have the perfect collection. I have a turquoise pendant for Chris’s birth stone so I have the full set.   

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Our good fortune continued when a long time business associate of Chris’s (the reason he’s been to Mumbai several times) posted on LinkedIn completely out of the blue, Chris messaged him to say hi and that we were in Mumbai. He was horrified that Chris hadn’t mentioned we were coming (we’re soooooo British in that way). Any way plans were made and we spent two evenings with them enjoying delicious meals and making firm friendships. We will return to Mumbai even if it’s just to catch up with Seema and Janak. 

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Dress from Michael Kors, Shoes from Jimmy Choo, Bag from Strathberry. 

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This beautiful skirt began its life as a beautiful dress. Long story short I saw a very beautiful woman in a dress from this designer and I fell in love with it. I ordered that particular dress but as I’m not 6 foot tall and skinny as a rake, it looked appalling on me. Not one to give up when I have my mind set on something I ordered this dress.  

The length was much better than the previous dress but the top half was almost obscene on me.  

Clearly the designer only wants tall, skinny, no boobed women to wear her clothes. On no level do I fall in any of those categories. hahahahaha.  

Chris said he loved it on me but I didn’t feel comfortable with extreme, x rated side boob (I wasn’t comfortable with that at 25 let alone 45) so I wore cardigans with it.  

I decided to take it to my dress maker to see what she could do, I put it on and said can you make this fit me? She looked at it and looked at me and said...

“no - you bought the wrong size!” Hahahahaha...in my defence I bought the biggest size they do, which is a U.K. 10/12. :0

So there you have it, if at first you don’t succeed - have it made into a skirt!!! Hahahahaha 

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Top from Jack Wills, Skirt (that used to be a dress, now custom made) from Athena Procopiou, Shoes from Hermes.

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It was a lovely dress, but having to wear cardigans to cover up was very restrictive. 

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We even got a chance to pop in to the head office of Algorithms to catch up with people Chris worked with all those years ago.  

I had met Lakshmi and Vinay when they had been in the U.K. implementing the new IT system at Chris’s work, about 13 years ago. It was wonderful to catch up with them. 

There are so many moments of this trip I’m never going to forget. And making new friends and seeing old ones is certainly one of them.  

From Mumbai we flew to Goa, the holiday within our holiday. This bit is just for relaxing and chilling by the beach. After the chaos (organised though it was, it was a whirlwind). 

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We arrived in the dark and woke up to paradise. 

It took me a few hours to decompress from our whistle stop tour of India. But now I have I’m loving Goan life. 

The food, the architecture and the people are very different in Goa. It was a Portuguese colony and has a very different look to the other parts of India  we have been to. 

It still has an Indian feel, and many Hindu temples, but it also has many Catholic Church’s and cathedrals too.  

I am presently struggling with my tummy...nope, it’s not what you think, not had any of that here actually. But I have been eating lentils and chickpeas like there’s no tomorrow, the food is soooooo good, too much fibre and the endless swimming yesterday has angered my hernia. Meaning everything is getting stuck. So now I’m doing less swimming today and drinking peppermint tea to ease the trapped wind and constipation  (If you’ve ever suffered with trapped wind before you’ll know its no laughing matter). :0

I’d rather struggle on without any form of medication as I find they all seem to upset your system for days.  

It’ll be fine. it will unblock, and sort itself out eventually. Thankfully nothing can ruin paradise.  

We haven’t really (I say ‘we’ but Chris isn’t a germaphobe like I am) we/I haven’t really worried about tummy bugs, especially here as this hotel has it’s own microbiology lab on site that’s constantly checking the food and water. Which is very reassuring for us....me! Hahahahaha.

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Bikini from Sainsbury’s, Bag from the NHS. 

Stoma bags are perfectly waterproof. But if you don’t fancy ‘risking’  (it’s not a risk you will be fine) a swimming pool, then sea swimming might suit you better. 

Stoma bags are perfectly waterproof. But if you don’t fancy ‘risking’  (it’s not a risk you will be fine) a swimming pool, then sea swimming might suit you better. 

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Oh Goa, you are a dream come true.  

It was at this moment Chris said “there’s no one I’d rather be watching the sunset with”.....to which I responded “errrrrr, I’d like to think so yes!”    He replied, “well it’s always under constant review”  :) This one!!!! Hahahahaha hahahahaha.   He lives dangerously. Hahahahaha. He’s been assured the entire time round India that a happy wife is a happy life, mostly by salesmen I grant you but they are wise words to live by. Hahahahaha    In all honesty, this has been the honeymoon we never had. After our wedding on Valentine’s Day 23 years ago we went to Somerset for 3 days to a friend’s cottage. And although it was really lovely it wasn’t quite this.   This has been our first - second honeymoon.  :) 

It was at this moment Chris said “there’s no one I’d rather be watching the sunset with”.....to which I responded “errrrrr, I’d like to think so yes!”  

He replied, “well it’s always under constant review”  :) This one!!!! Hahahahaha hahahahaha. 

He lives dangerously. Hahahahaha. He’s been assured the entire time round India that a happy wife is a happy life, mostly by salesmen I grant you but they are wise words to live by. Hahahahaha  

In all honesty, this has been the honeymoon we never had. After our wedding on Valentine’s Day 23 years ago we went to Somerset for 3 days to a friend’s cottage. And although it was really lovely it wasn’t quite this. 

This has been our first - second honeymoon.  :) 

Day after day it just gets better and better. How will we ever leave?  

Day after day it just gets better and better. How will we ever leave?  

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Bikini from Sainsbury’s, Beach bag from Osprey.  

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 .....and relax and dream of staying here forever. 

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This holiday has given us so much. India is truly amazing...a word I’ve over used since I’ve been here but how do you describe the indescribable? 

 

 *And a little bit of holiday advice. Don’t spray insect repellent over sun tan cream. I didn’t know this till we both burnt to a crisp yesterday, but it actually reduces the sun creams effectiveness.

We know now, every day’s a school day. Hahahahaha  

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...and with every day is a school day in mind these are some examples of Goan architecture. Absolutely stunning.  

 

If you’ve ever fancied a trip to India....what are you waiting for?!? Hahahahaha 

Our holiday was booked through Thomas Cook in Braintree with Kuoni. (I personally wouldn’t book with Kuoni direct, it pays to shop about for EXACTLY the same holiday);

Oberoi Golden Triangle

Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Mumbai  

ITC Grand Goa, Arossim beach  

No, I’m not getting any kick back or payment from any of the companies mentioned  (blimey I wish!! :) ) but we have been so blown away by the standard of the holiday I thought it’s worth mentioning. 

 

This holiday was brought to you solely by my fabulous husband. Thank you CD, amazing anniversary, here’s to 23 more years and 23 after that and 23 after that. Love you. X

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Bagged and proud... 

Although in most places in India it’s wise to dress modestly, in resorts swim wear is fine. I feel absolutely no need to cover my bag up. 

And to be honest everyone’s on holiday enjoying themselves, no one is taking a blind bit of notice of me or my bag. :)  

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 ....and my pride and joy and absolute stunner relaxing. This holiday has been a dream come true.  xx

 

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This is the view from our room, how are we going to go back to reality? :(  

 

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