Wednesday, November 12, 1997

Dinner last night was quite enjoyable. We left the hotel at 7:30 and traveled to the Holiday Inn at Juhu Beach, about 5 miles from here. The trip took about 20 minutes and traffic wasn't too bad. The hotel is right on the beach on the Arabian Sea.

We were met at the hotel by two Patni executives, one a VP of marketing, and the other a high-level manager. We were all looking forward to a cold Kingfisher, and we spotted a sign in the lobby that read "Today is a dry day. Liquor available to foreign passport holders only." We asked what this meant and were told that it is a government law that every so often liquor sales are banned for one day. They really didn't know how often this happened and the rule seemed to be largely ignored, as our hosts were able to share a drink with us.

We dined outside on the patio. There was a grill and kitchen outside also. For 'starters' we had chicken, prawns, and fish prepared with various spices and grilled. The prawns were done with garlic and were very tasty. The main course was a chicken with sauce dish and grilled pomfret. Again, everything was quite delicious.

While outside, we could see lightning all around us and by the time we left it was starting to rain. The drive back was in the rain, and it continued to rain most of the night, with a good bit of thunder and lightning. We got back to the hotel about 11:15 and I headed straight for bed and slept well.

We are again back at the facility. The training classes are proceeding close to schedule. Part of the daily ritual is to check my mail. The rest of the day is spent working on odds-and-ends related to work and periodically checking in on the class.

Thursday, November 13, 1997

Dinner last night was a simple affair at the hotel lounge. None of us was particularly interested in going anywhere for dinner, for two reasons - we were tired, and it was raining outside and to go anywhere would involve at least a 30 minute taxi ride. We had mini-pizzas. I went shopping and bought an amethyst ring for Barb and a blue topaz ring for me. I've got all of my shopping completed now. I watched TV for a while and went to bed about 9:30 and slept quite well.

I wasn't particularly hungry and had a cheese-peanut butter cracker for breakfast. Lunch was more of the same things that we have had.. soup, vegetable sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, etc. Brian and I took the afternoon to go check out the Holiday Inn at Juhu Beach and to do some shopping. As Brian is strongly considering staying there the next trip, he wants to see the area in the daylight. This is where we had dinner Tuesday evening..

The ride there took about 25 minutes, but traffic was much less. We told the front desk clerk that we might be interested in staying here the next trip and that we would like to see a room. We were showed a typical room on the regular floors, and one on the "Club Select" floor. They were both decent rooms. The Club Select room offered a few more extras and access to a lounge where breakfast was served. We asked about prices and with the GE rates it was much cheaper than the Leela. The clerk asked us where we were currently staying and when we said the Leela he said, "Ah, yes.. the gas chamber." I had been searching for just the right word or phrase to describe the area and that was it.

We then went shopping at the 'market' which were stores along the street. We stopped at the Cottage Industries store to look around and were quite surprised to find that compared to our visit to the one in downtown Bombay, this one had a VERY small selection of goods and the prices were 3 to 4 times higher.
I later found out that this area is called "The Beverly Hills of Bombay" as it is an upscale area where many affluent people live, thus the inflated prices. We found a shop that had some unusual items and spent quite a while in it. Brian bought several things besides the usual trinkets, including camel-bone necklaces and paintings done on a piece of silk. We also visited a 'grocery store' which surprisingly had a fairly good selection, although in very limited quantities. I recognized brand names like Kraft, Kellogg's etc. Brian bought some mango chutney and an 8 oz. tin of curry. The curry was 46 rupees, dirt cheap compared to home. He says that a small container (probably 2-3 oz.) is more than 3 dollars.

We finished shopping and decided to have a cold Kingfisher at the Holiday Inn. We went back there and sat outside on the patio overlooking the beach. I felt something hit my shirt and looked down to find bird crap all over it. We called a waiter over to ask for a rag to clean it up with, and he helped scrape it off… He said that it happens frequently. I hand-washed the shirt later.

We got back to the Leela about 5:15 and I started packing. We were to meet at 7:30 for dinner in the Chinese restaurant in the hotel. I had hot and sour soup and "crispy lamb with hot garlic sauce." It was quite good. I paid for dinner on my room. It was 8,677 rupees, or about $242. We then wandered around the shops again and it was 11:30 before we got back to our rooms. I was glad that I had taken the time earlier to do most of my packing and I was able to go right to bed.

Shopping Center at Juhu Beach
Grocery store at Juhu Beach
Bombay, Days 7 and 8
Bombay, the last day