Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mumbai: Day 3

Part III: New Cameras, Big Crabs and Spicy Chillies

What a long few days.

Work ran over (don't ask - very frustrating) and sadly, all of my free time that I'd planned in was eaten up. Yep, my entire free day - whoosh - gone. Well... Up until 4pm today at least... We had tonight "free."

Upon return to the hotel the doctor came to our room to check out Dan's bug bite and hooked him up with a prescription and a tetanus shot (all for $32USD including tip -- and that's with him making a hotel call to our room!) After picking up his meds at 4:30pm, we went to the "mall" located upstairs in a building connected to the Hilton Towers (our hotel) to pick up my replacement camera (see yesterday for the camera story). The concierge had located a store that carried the IXUS850IS (what my camera is called outside the USA.)

Dan and I arrived at the was a photography studio?
Shaded lights, an old desk and a few chairs blended in with the single computer and filing cabinets. I inquired about the camera. The owner had received the call from our hotel. He asked us to take a seat while he got on the phone and began making multiple calls about the camera, with "IXUS850IS" being the only part I understood with each call.

Finally he turned to us and said, "Waiting very BRAND NEW piece from factory." Um...yah, that's the point, no? I found it funny enough to immediately write down exactly how he'd said it.

One hour passes and we are still sitting on stools by the shabby chic desk. A runner arrived with a bag containing a camera, case etc.

"Your new camera!"

I opened the bag to inspect and the new box reads "IXUS800IS" not "IXUS850IS". It's the wrong camera...the one with the plastic back...the one most likely to break...I'm not buying it. Words are said from the owner to the runner. Calls are made. Phones ring. More calls.

He confirmed that the "IXUS850IS" is the one I want because if he goes to get it, it cannot be returned. I confirm. He waits. We wait. Phone calls in, phone calls out...
He suddenly decides to go himself to get it...

We wait. 1 hour and 45 minutes have passed.

A woman that has been in and out sits in his chair and strikes up a conversation with us. She's the wife of the owner, Nepalese and comes from a well to do family. This we learn in the first few moments as she let's us know that he father owns a large international hotel chain inquiring if we knew of it (which we did - you would. It's big.) We chatted and chatted and chatted... Chai tea arrives. The time moves so slowly in the dull low ceilinged florescent lit room. I get up and look at the photos on the walls of Bollywood and International stars as I'm told her brother-in-law photographs all the stars. She talks on about how difficult it is for her sister who is married and living in Connecticut in the USA. She asks how we do things in the USA, being that we don't all have help? Her poor sister has to cook the meals and take care of her two children all by herself! Without a live-in? Terrible, no? She then said how amazing it was when her nephews would come to visit, they would make their beds when they got up and could even get their own cereal, all at age 8! Her own children who are late teens early twenties didn't even do that. (They have household help and still live at home.) Interesting the differences in how people are brought up. It's cultural here to have household help.

We wait. 2 hours and 15 minutes. In times and places like this you have to wait. If you leave to come back later, nothing will get, We Wait.

Finally - 2 hours and 40 minutes later - my replacement camera arrives. Yeah!!!

Sadly it ate up our entire touristic evening, but I'll have a camera for the rest of this crazy world tour!!!

All of that waiting was very tiring (which I know sounds weird)...perhaps it was the lighting? We opted for dinner within the Hilton Towers hotel at India Jones. They serve food from 8 Asian countries. Yum! (Subsequently I found out that it had a very high rating - good call on our parts!)

The staff at India Jones was extremely attentive, with 2-3 people stopping by from time to time for different things. Upon deciding on our order, I followed our waiter through the kitchen to the tank in the back to select our crab... upon arrival I chose the only one they had. Boy oh boy was he BIG!!!
We started with the Rice Crackers and dip (left) and the Appetizer platter for two including my favorite green papaya salad! (right)

Next we had Singapore Chili Crab (left) which was a blue crab when I'd seen it pre-cooked (yes I knew it would change color-- but it was so pretty in its blue coloring.) We also had a Pomfret fish common to Bombay (right below).
Yum yum yum! They even gave us lovely embroidered cloth aprons to protect our clothing from the Crab-ness.

The wine was tasty, the service good and it was mere steps from the elevator that brought us to our room for a good nights sleep.
Tomorrow morning it's whirlwind touring of Mumbai on our way to the airport.

Then...Sri Lanka here we come!!!

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