Farewell to Mumbai

December 18th 2010
Published: December 18th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY


1600 metres and cool enough for a fleece...
I have been cursed by a transvestite.

At least I think I have, and that would explain why it is snowing at Heathrow.

You see, I was waiting at a traffic light in Mumbai when a ‘hijra’ – he may have been a hermaphrodite, a transvestite or just a man in a sari – came and asked for 10 rupees. When I refused he pulled a threatening face, waved his hands over my head, and said something nasty. And then it promptly began snowing in Heathrow.

After three months my time in Mumbai is over. Tomorrow I fly to London. On Monday, theoretically, I fly to South Africa to spend Christmas there with my family and breathe some air that doesn’t have to be chewed.

I said farewell to Maharashtra last weekend from the state’s highest peak, Kalsubai.

Then last night Tom and I made our way back to Toto’s Garage Pub where we had been for drinks on our first night in Bandra, and laughed at the bad mix of Bon Jovi and Beyonce while the middle-aged servers walked around in orange dungerees.

And tonight we are going to have gin and tonics beside our rooftop swimming pool, and reflect on how I will probably never have the opportunity to do so again.

Tomorrow I will take my last black-and-yellow cab to the airport. The plane will probably take off over Juhu, and maybe I’ll be able to look down on Madh where we went hashing and Manori where we went climbing and realise it really hasn’t been so bad here after all.

Oh, and I am travelling with hot pink fingernails, having been for a manicure and pedicure at the local beauty salon. My feet are starting to look like proper climber’s feet so I was a little embarrassed to present them for polishing. I was even more embarrassed when I noticed the beautician had 11 toes in total, and every one of them was far better kept than my own.

Many of you know my next trip is a six-month cycling tour starting in January with my friend Kate Lord. We’ll be starting from Istanbul, and aiming for Trondheim. This blog will not be updated, but you can follow us on our not-quite-finished and (very) homemade website: www.cyclingnorth.com.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It’s been nice travelling with you.



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