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06/22/2013

Mumbai, maximum city

Mid-May a friend of mine made me discover an area of Mumbai I had never heard of before, Kamathipura, Mumbai's Red Light (inspired from this blog)! 

It was not easy to get there... Mainly because his driver (provided by the company) was not keen on going. Not only did he take us for a tour, but then he took me for an idiot, swearing that we had reached Grant Road station while we were at Marine Lines. When he started to show us churches I understood that he was trying to divert my attention to tourist monuments. All he managed to do is that I took out google map and guided him to the nearest junction of Kamathipura (Rusi Mahata Chowk)! 

 

Then we walked down Bapty Road and I started to act less smart and wonder whether I should start listening to locals: there were only men in this street, tottering and bloodshot eyed. Not cool... 

 

Walking ahead we fell into a crowd like you see only in India. An anthill... What surprised us and almost made us turn back is that we were in the heart of a Muslim area: prostitutes in such a place (with veiled women and all) seemed incongruous... 

 

At that point of time we reached a lane (the 9th lane I think) and I saw women on braided beds waiting for clients. I dragged my friend in this lane! But I must admit I mostly watch my feet and even walked a little fast – not that I felt unsafe but kinda out of place! And obviously I didn’t take any picture.  

It was completely trash, especially at night. Old women, young girls, skinny ones, fat ones (mostly fat ones), women, men dressed as women  – you can chose it all, especially since, Indian style, there are 10 of them per square meter – all in a dark, dirty alley, and overflowing with people, and in the background some kind of rooms where they do their business. It was all the more surprising in a country where sex is a taboo and showing your ankles is indecent. At the same time, God bless these women... Since in India you don't get sex until you are married and you don't get married until you are settled, you have a lot of 30 year old virgins and sexual frustration...

 

From there we wanted to take a taxi and we disturbed an old driver preparing his dose of crack.

Perfect to complete a tour in the "slums" of the city! 

 

Since it was my turn to make him discover something, I took him for a drink at Aer, the terrace of the Four Seasons, which offers stunning views of Mumbai, the "chic du chic".  

 

From the poorest to the richest in less than ten minutes… 

Incredible India in a day in Mumbai... 

Without hiding anything….

 

 

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Kamathipura (Internet pictures)

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Aer, Four Seasons (Internet pictures)

 

 

 

 

06/06/2013

My daily life in Mumbai - Walking back from work on the beach

After playing Mario Kart in the morning I decided to be Super Mario and walk back from work by the beach…

It was a good opportunity to try my new  Gopro video camera! Ok there is a (very) big scope for improvement but it gives an idea of what a trip it was!

With the soccer balls, cricket balls, dead dogs, crapping men, breed dogs, joggers, people starting at me, the bridge of trash and to finish crossing the slum with two weddings… But there was a beautiful sunset!

I have to say that day it was particularly tough man… With a horrendous smell all the way on top of everything…

 

 

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05/14/2013

Hunting for Nutella in Kolkata...

The first thing we did when arriving in Kolkata was to jump into a taxi and go eat rolls (the paratha roll with chicken and eggs is a local speciality) at Zeeshan at Park Circus. 

This is how we got to think of a Nutella paratha roll... An idea that wouldn’t just pass!! 

We therefore started our way back to the hotel walking and hunting for Nutella. 

 

The guy from the first stall had some! But when he asked me if I wanted india,kolkata,nutella,roll,zeeshanit in seeds or powder, I got confused... Indeed, he wanted to sell me some Nutrela (some kind of soya derivative)! 

 

The guy from the second shop had some Ferrero rochers and Kinder buenos. I could bet everything on him!  

Since he didn’t understand Nutella, I tried "chocolate paste" and his face lit up! And he handed over a tube of Colgate... (from paste he had come up with tooth paste!).

 

The guys from the third, fourth and fifth stalls did not have Nutella nor knew what it was, even in the touristic neighborhood. We therefore concluded that Nutella had not yet reached Kolkata – whether it is a good or a bad thing is not the question...  

 

So we thought of buying some chocolate and wondered how it would melt. And then we looked at each other, soaked with sweat and it hit us!! Two minutes in the ambient heat of the night and we had a chocolate spread!