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Monday, 6 October 2014

Lion Gate Mumbai

I wandered up Kala Ghoda with the express intention of taking a couple of pictures of Lion Gate, the entry to the Naval Dockyard but was shooed away by guards who, quite rightly, pointed to the giant "No Photography" sign on the wall.

A bit dejected, I carried on walking and noticed for the first time a brilliant mural on the external wall of the dockyard.  I'm not sure whether the no photography rule applies to further away from the gate but who can stop themselves taking a picture when someone pushing colour co-ordinated laundry passes a painting?

Painting on wall outside Lion Gate Naval Dockyard in Mumbai India

Thank you Laundry Guy for making what would otherwise be a boring picture much more interesting.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Urgent Passport Photo

We would all look much more dashing in our passport or other ID photos if we could pose like this:

The "model" is Akshay Kumar, for non-Bollywood fans he's a famous actor, and probably completely unaware that he's being used to advertise passport photo services.    Image theft is terribly common and I went to the bother of getting a copy of the original from a website which offered free downloads.  I'm confused whether I stole the image or not.

I'm also not sure whether I've broken any copyright laws by taking a picture of a stolen picture but I would dearly love to pose for official identification pictures in shades, with my collar up and a fabulous fake background.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Juhu Beach

Mumbai's beaches are busy places, but there are moments of solitude to be found.

Religious observances can leave a lot of debris

but it keeps the beach cleaners busy

and the pigeons are well looked after too.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Treat?

Currently appearing on the back of Mumbai buses.

treat, hirnandani, hospital, childbirth, advertising, advertisment, wrong, funny, India
 Hiranandani hospital has an odd idea of what a "treat" is.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Shore Leave

I like holidays and travel, I like historical sites and interesting markets, I like trying new food and finding out about different ways of life.  But I also like sitting with a book and sometimes not even reading it and for that there is not much required, just a shoreline:

Something to sit on:

And if possible an astounding sunrise or sunset, I'm not picky;

Alas this beach is a bit further flung than my old favourite beach in Goa which was voted "Best beach in India" and so got very popular and difficult to book for last minute getaways.  I had to travel all the way to Indonesia for this one so I'm still on the lookout for my own new version of my perfect Indian beach.

If you've got any suggestions, please send them my way. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Kolkata Quickie

I'm squeezing in one last holiday before work starts again and am in Kolkata visiting friends, eating and taking pictures.

I'm working on trying to take pictures of people from the front, I am reticent doing this as I've mentioned before.  rickshaw pulled puller kolkata calcutta
I tend to bumble around new places with the odd google search or tourist map to help me on my way but this time I signed up for a guided tour with Calcutta Photo Tours and can't recommend the experience highly enough.

I was guided around markets, places of worship and residential areas by Manjit, an exceptional story teller and gifted photographer and had an absolutely fantastic time. 

I learned so much about the city and enjoyed the experience so much that I've already decided to do another tour when I come back in December. I went on the Culture Kaleidoscope tour, next time I'll be mooching around markets

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Airport survival skills

I'm pretty good at sleeping on the go but I aspire to this level of sleeping skill. 

sleeping, airports, surabaya, indonesia,
A member of the ground staff at Surabaya International Airport catches a quick nap and still manages to look pretty professional while doing so.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Theiving Monkeys

 I am not a huge fan of monkeys, thieving little primates that they are.

The Husband however is enthralled by them so when around monkeys I usually snap a few pictures of them to pay him back for the hours he hangs around waiting for me to take pictures of things that he has no interest in.  Above Batu in Indonesia he was as happy as could be with frolicking monkeys stealing food from tourist:
This little monkey liked melon,
  This little monkey liked rice

This little monkey liked sweetcorn

 ... and this little monkey masterminded the entire raid.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Indonesian postcards

I'm in Indonesia, one of those places I have called "home" as I spent my High School days here.  It certainly has a comfortable feel about it as so much is familiar.  I'm able to get by in rusty and grammatically simplistic Indonesian, it makes me ashamed of how little Hindi I speak - about a dozen phrases and two cuss words.

However I feel I'm missing out on the usual tourist pictures, yesterday I saw a group of Dutch tourist clicking away merrily at a becak - a cycle rickshaw and I thought "why, it's just a becak?" However, with apologies for  not showing the usual sights - so far not even a paddy field or a water buffalo although I've seen plenty of them, a few pictures from my holiday in Indonesia.  Things you can buy:

You could buy an owl in the bird market

 and caterpillars, presumably to feed to birds.
You might fancy a painted, live, hermit crab as a pet.  I had no idea that this was a thing until I googled it, I can't imagine that a hermit crab makes any more interesting a pet if it happens to be spray painted with an angry bird or a hello kitty.
You can buy bubbles in the park, I nearly did that.

You can buy fruit everywhere.
Or a ticket on a twelve hour bus ride to Jakarta complete with live karaoke and a dedicated smoking area.
I have not bought any of the above.  as I've mentioned before I am not a good shopper.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Vada Pav

I'm Scottish so partial to potatoes, fried foods and anything between white bread.  I am unable to understand why the Vada Pav has not ventured into Scotland, it would become the national dish in no time at all.
deep fried deliciousness
As a menu might describe it; "A fluffy potato patty enrobed in crunchy batter nestling in a soft bun generously slathered with chutney". Best eaten immediately and often.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014


I love all the patterns and colours and shapes surrounding the infant in the simple white shift.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Waiting zones

Mumbai is a crazy city and I love it.  I like the bustle and hustle and the noise and the smells, well almost all the smells.  I've got very comfortable weaving my way through the people and traffic and enjoying watching and joining in with the masses of people getting on with their lives. 

Recently my eye has been drawn away from the action the business and the activities to the quiet waiting that happens everywhere.  People, entirely comfortable in their spaces just waiting.  I do a lot of waiting too, just standing and watching and waiting to see what happens.  Here are two fellow waiters I watched recently:

Well, it's Mumbai, if  you wait long enough something's going to happen.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Balloons of Bombay

I've posted on the big balloons before but I'm still not over them.  How many balloons are sold in a day?  Who is the Balloon Master?  Why are the ones in the packets puny specimens?  How much would I have to pay to get a genuine big balloon?  What would I do with one if I actually bought it?

Who buys the giant balloons of Mumbai?
 "This is a BIG, big balloon" he said, "The biggest" I agreed.

Meanwhile, dejected,  just a street away a balloon seller hawks a smaller big balloon.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Vintage Point

I'm not a car buff, I categorise cars by simple parameters; "big", "small" and their colour but I do appreciate "pretty" and I stumbled on a whole heap of pretty parked up at Kala Ghoda. 

Bently hood ornament parked at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai

Just sitting there in the car park at were beautiful old Bentleys and Buicks, I knew they were thus because they had their names on their hoods.  They had just been unveiled and were on display prior to taking part in the Mumbai Vintage Car Rally on Sunday.

There was just me and one other camera toting person happily clicking away, a real luxury in camera crazy Mumbai.  There were a lot of officials and mechanics all hovering around awaiting the inevitable onslaught of the photo opportunists. Later I spent a happy ten minutes watching men standing proprietorially beside the cars while their partners snapped them looking proud  but at this stage I had space and time and felt strangely exposed.

I've grown so used to craning and jostling and working on avoiding hundreds of others with cameras that it was odd not to have to, odd but lovely.

By the time I moved on the crowds had moved in and the young men in official white polo shirts were starting becoming agitated about caring for their precious charges.

I said "goodbye and thank you" to the man in the mirror and he said "Thank you for loving the cars without touching".  I hope his day wasn't too stressful.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Pantry and a personal gripe.

Pomegranates are delicious and this season has been the best I remember.  On a visit to The Pantry off Kala Ghoda, in a little lane just to the side of Fab India I found the best pomegranate drink ever.  Pomegranate and sweet lime.

The Pantry is a lovely little place, all pastel colours and teashop retro chic decorated with prettily painted kitchen utensils and other ephemera.

Big windows and white tiled walls create a lot of light and the open kitchen and glass cases full of bakery goods make for a relaxing space.

Food is served on rather stylish teal boards and the menu offers a good range of pies, sandwiches, salads and soups.  Local produce is favoured and there's free wi-fi.

The coffee is good too, very good.

Now to my personal gripe.  The Pantry has signed up to the social media initiative Treetins which encourages strangers to share tables and build relationships.  They have the cute little flags on the table which are popping up in restaurants all over Mumbai. They also have a regularly changing menu and specials.

They also have free wi-fi and throughout the restaurant people were taking advantage of it.

Now I get that it's useful, it helps people keep in touch, it can pass a lonely lunch or snack as well as a newspaper can.  I wasn't alone I was with the man and a very close friend.  I ordered soup, it came first, that's fine,  as a starter it should.  I tried conversation, questions, comments, suggestions, I got only vague grunts in response.  I even offered to let them try my soup! Nothing!  The two of them sat pecking at their phones like demented pigeons.  Eventually, just before their mains arrived they happily turned their phones to me to show how they had updated their status and had conversations with people who were online to say they were at The Pantry.  I bloody KNEW that!  At least they had tagged me into their comments so I knew I hadn't eaten alone!

I should have got up and moved to another table that was waving it's little flag but all the people eating alone were also pecking away at their various pads and phones.

I've decided that I prefer places without wi-fi but I'll go back to The Pantry and beg my companions to stay off the bloody social media at least until the coffee comes.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Why shopkeepers hate me.

I love shops and markets.  I'm a happy rummager. I'm a terrible shopper.  I like to look, prod, poke and photograph things but I hardly ever buy them.   Shopkeepers do not like me.

With the exception of cushions and books I don't like to be surrounded by clutter.  I like the look of it, but not the practice so I take pictures of the shiny fanciness that catches my eye instead.

Here are a few things I haven't bought recently.

I did not buy any hair sticks or bangles from this man despite them being shiny and lovely. You can see I'm never going to become his favourite customers.

I did not buy even one little Ganesha despite them being the "cutest things ever" because I already have one which was gifted to me.

I did not buy this pretty mirror which so nicely reflected a wobbly Rampart Row because I thought the buildings looked lovely in the distorted reflection but I would look less so.

I did not buy lovely glass versions of the chilli and lime amulets to hang above my door because I don't have any nails strong enough to hammer into the concrete wall. These are the things
I came closest to buying recently. I liked them a lot so I used the picture as a
new blog header to ward off the virtual evil eye.

I've just carried out an audit of my decorative items. I own 6 paintings, two small decorative boxes, one Ganesha, twenty eight cushions and seven tea light holders.  I have a hankering to replace some of the cushion covers.  Shopkeepers of Mumbai, prepare to celebrate.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Bollywood Abridged

Film posters are found all over the place.  Any relatively flat surface will do, although sometimes it takes a bit of ingenuity on the part of the poster pasters to cover irregular surfaces and sizes.  A case in point, here's the poster for Dhoom:3

 ... and here's a compressed version:

Well done Mr Bill Sticker.