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10/28/2014

Interview for 20 minutes: Visiting Mumbai in 3-4 days

A journalist of 20 Minute (French free magazine) contacted me for an interview! I would like to thank her for her interest in my experience in India!! Poor thing, instead of just answering her questions, I wrote a full article ;)

Here is what she could extract for her interview… In PDFand the link. And below my programme to visit Mumbai in 3-4 days!

Namaste Bombay! Welcome in this chaotic megacity… to say the least! Crossing Mumbai from the airport to the heart of the city already gives a good overview: you feel like moving from one neighbourhood to another without distinction. And everywhere : people, life, activity, even at night!

Diving in the chaos, past the hotel door, can be somewhat of a shock: it's hot, the streets are badly indicated (Mumbai has been able to ignore the concept of urban planning), where to start? A walk in Colaba is a good stretch for the legs: the Gateway of India and a detour to the mythical Taj hotel (ideal for a pee break). Then take a stroll around Oval Maidan, a huge lawn surrounded by buildings dating back to the British era, before pushing to Victoria Station. Eventually stop to watch the sunset on Marine Drive, or walk along the Indian ocean, maybe up to Chowpatti Beach to experience what a good bath is (but for locals only!). To help digest this first day, treat yourself with a beer at Leopold Café, a meeting place for backpackers and locals.

Malabar Hill is also worth a visit, with its hanging gardens, Jain temple, Banganga Tank and its beautiful mansions. Then take a taxi for the rest of the day to go see the Haji Ali mosque perched on a peninsula and Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghats, an open-air laundry. A drink at Aer, the terrace of the Four Season, will then be welcome, providing with stunning views of the city and a good change of scenery (from the poorest to the richest…).

 

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Bargain-hunting for the rare pearl in the markets (an antique at Chor Bazaar, a jewel at Zaveri Bazaar, everything and anything at Crawford Market) is a unique experience... More relaxing and less touristy: getting lost in Khotachiwadi, a neighborhood standing from the Portuguese era. A boat trip to Elephanta caves is also worth it if you don’t have the time to go to Ellora... Others will prefer a tour of Dharavi, the legendary slum and its industries, rather well organized and not voyeuristic.

A visit to Mumbai is not complete without a 'train' trip (the local metro), if possible at peak hours! Or without testing the street food (it's a little risky for the intestines but you don’t get nothing with nothing!): bhel puri, pani-puri, vada pao, Bademiya’s goat brains etc. The motivated (or just lucky) tourist who hangs around Regal theater may be rewarded with a figuration in a Bollywood movie... At worst, watching a movie is generally worth its weight of popcorn! And well prepared tourists can experience Holi festival and Indians throwing colour powders at each other, or the throwing of Ganesh (the elephant-headed God) statues for Ganapati...

One of my articles on the "Mumbai Incontournables": http://www.indiansamourai.com/archive/2014/03/06/intervie...

Other of my articles on Mumbai: http://www.indiansamourai.com/apps/search/?s=Mumbai

10/26/2014

When Indians decide to play football like big boys...

Well it's not sad! For example they are players (Peter Biaksangzuala) who manage to kill themselves by making a somersault to celebrate their goal:


It hurts.

In a nutshell, just a year ago (October 21, 2013), Bollywood stars, retired cricket players and industrialists, for a reason that is unknown to me, decided to launch the Indian Football League (ISL or Indian Super League). With at the head of the project Mrs Ambani (wife of the industrialist head of Reliance Group, the richest man of India if not the world).

There are 8 teams and I have compiled below a few statistics and data (average age, number of foreign players, owners) and I also compared to the Ligue 1, the french Championship, to get an idea of what the numbers mean! Like that, before stupidly repeating that this is a competition of grandpas, I see that there are just 2 and a half year gap in the age difference average. But it is true that the guest stars are quite not young...

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 Source: http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk

2 other articles I wrote on football in India: On feminine football (link); Indians and football (link)

06/20/2014

Indians and football

At the hour of the football World Cup, let's have a look at the Indian football prowesses...

 So you may know it or not but India does have a national football team! Created in 1937, affiliated to the FIFA since 1948 and currently ranking... 154th (out of 207)! india,sport,football,world cup,shoes

In the sixties, Indians were actually among the top 3 of Asian teams. They even qualified in 1950 for the World Cup (in Brazil) but refused to participate, at the last minute. It is unclear why, the inadequate foreign exchange reserves, the long journey by ship, the obligation to wear... shoes (obviously the only reason which has been retained in the popular imagination)!

 Some Indians do watch football on TV – but almost only matches of English teams (a side effect of the colonization) are broadcast...

 Anyway, Indians and sport is not really a love story...

 Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-26143796; http://fr.fifa.com/worldranking/rankingtable/index.html; http://www.sportskeeda.com/football/the-1950-FIFA-World-Cup-a-missed-opportunity-for-India/