The Waterstones Hotel, Andheri East, Mumbai. I shouldn’t be staying here. I’ve got the Australian economy to negotiate for the next month or so. £10 for a steak pie, £15 for a beer. If I buy a round, I will have to pawn my beloved Elstow cricket shirt. (Just imagine how much a Blunham one would go for, eh Nick?)

Monday evening, sat in Nagpur airport, with five weeks slumming it behind me and the thought of negotiating Mumbai by night, I’ve just committed the backpacker’s equivalent of sashaying down the wicket three balls into negotiating a spell from the opposition’s best left arm spinner on the fourth day in the baking heat. When you’re 55-4.

Weary after the late flight, the Sounds of the 60’s loving but basically useless taxi driver (though not in his choice of in-car sounds) and the communication breakdown between the online provider’s fiction and the hotel’s fact, I eventually get to my room.


The bed is bigger than Austria’s national debt. Four huge pillows lay tantalisingly on top. The mattress is easier than Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits. There’s a desk I won’t have time to sit at. A flat screen Plasma telly I won’t have time to watch. A minibar I won’t have time to drain. The bathroom features a cartoon by someone who dreams of being as brilliant as The Telegraph’s Matt.

Hot water! Instantly. Constantly. The travel beard goes (Hello Grandma! x) courtesy of the complimentary shaving cream, Bic-type razor and an old Squeeze album, though don’t ask me why I chose this as the soundtrack. The shower rids me properly of the dust I’ve been carrying around since Ahmedabad. I revitalise, reenergise and enjoy my sadly all too temporary surroundings.

Everything about the room admonishes yet justifies my decision to spend my last night in India in unalloyed comfort.

You can’t take it with you.

Just what I think as I ponder piking the Courvoisier and the Shortbread.

To the airport my good man. Jaldi jaldi….