A feature of this world tour, and indeed the previous one, was the ability of your correspondent to take off, at will, on a random walkabout of my current location and its surrounding area. Half Alan Partridge visits the BP Garage for tungsten screw tips singing Goldfinger, half fitful Ron Burgundy, searching for himself and an ill suited lactose based isotonic; the walk usually begins with plenty of one and ends with plenty of the other.

Today’s bucked the trend (Hello Eats!). Setting out with every intention of discovering Gandhi’s Mumbai base from 1917-34, the Mani Bhavan. I fell out, once again, with my taxi driver and found myself at the peacefully ornate Kamala Nehru Park in the midst of one of the city’s more well to do spots, Malabar Hill. It transpired that, once again, the driver had misunderstood me and, once again, I was miles from where I should’ve been.

I don’t know what Maharastri for ‘wanker’ is, so I called him it in English instead. Now, I appreciate there is something of the pot and the kettle to this shouty aside having worked in banking for over ten years, but seriously, in my experience the world over (well for the most part) taxi drivers really are the absolute pits.

Determined not to lapse into Burgundy territory, I summoned the reserves of my inner Partridge and had a stroll around this eminent area of Mumbai instead. Set overlooking Chowpatty Beach and the smog smothered skyline, this leafy, lofty area of the city is a breath of almost fresh air, a relatively tranquil spot perched on high.
I began my descent back towards Churchgate and Colaba taking in the many facets of Mumbaikar life. From the Malabar mansions, to the poverty battered beachcombers, you don’t need telling this city of immense contrasts has it all.

Needing respite from the melting pot and the melting heat I repaired briefly to the acceptable face of chainstore coffee franchises, a branch of Coffee Cafe Day. The Eskimo Iced Coffee (with matching air conditioning) was not a bad choice.
With the inner Burgundy still at bay, I headed down the promenade, past the maidens and Maidans, the hardy swimmers and paddlers, the more refined club bathers, the passive fishermen, the Gymkhana players, the coy canoodlers and the gora greeters and back towards the madding crowd…

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