Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Queen Messed Up Our Plans!

Today's plan was to walk up Colaba Markets to the Gateway of India Plaza, then negotiate a taxi tour of all our favourite spots - Mani Bhaven, Gandhi's residence in Bombay, Banganga Tank - an ancient fresh water supply tank with religious overtones, Malabar Hill - the posh end of town, Jain Temple and the Hanging Gardens.

Taxi tip: The black and yellows are the very basic metered taxis with natural air conditioning, (open windows). Many of the old bangers have now been forced out of service by the authorities. Blue and silver taxis are air conditioned, better quality and more expensive. Drivers dressed in a khaki uniform are employed and are less flexible, ones in plain clothes are owner drivers and are more open to negotiation. The base meter rate is currently set at 21rps in the black and yellows, with most city venues accessible for around 50p. Outlying destinations around the city, no more than £2 equivalent. A full city sightseeing tour should not cost more than £5. Unless a fixed price journey, such as a tour has been agreed, always request the meter is reset on entering the taxi, if the driver refuses, their registration number is on the windscreen, note it, tell him he will be reported, get out and find another. Note that regulations are not as strict as you may be used to in your home country, so don't be surprised if the black and yellow cab you are about to climb into has four bald tyres. Most of the ones with holes in the floors are now gone. I last used one of those in 2012.

As we walked up Colaba it became obvious there were lots of European types in town, many displaying little yellow stickers bearing the number 13. I tried to start conversations with some, but they were reluctant to speak to me. (Perhaps they thought I was a local hawker in disguise). I eventually found a lovely Australian couple who were willing to enter into conversation with a stranger, who informed me that the Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth was docked today. I passed on some advice in answer to their questions, and we decided to change our own plans.

Things were not good, as by coincidence I had chosen to wear my own P&O Cruises branded T shirt today, so we too were being pestered to buy goods at twice the normal price and more, and priced in US $ as well. Today was not a good day to negotiate a taxi tour.

We hopped in a metered black and yellow right there off Colaba and asked the driver to take us to Malabar Hill (120rps - around £1.30). From there we could walk around the Hanging Gardens, built on top of a fresh water supply tank for the City.....

Behind this hedge is the Parsi cemetery. It attracts lots of birds, as it is the Parsi custom to leave their deceased to decompose in the open air until there is nothing left. The birds quicken that process!

A lovely young Indian couple on their own vacation stopped us to have their photo taken with us again. We feel like movie stars! I got the photo they wanted as well today.....

Visit The Jain Temple, just a short walk down the hill.....

Then a further short walk downhill to the Banganga Tank.....

From there it was another £1.30 taxi ride back to the hotel and to cool off by the pool. Today has been very hot sunshine.


  1. I think Parsi are Zoroastrians? One of my UN colleagues from India was Zoroastrian and mentioned the dead a laid out on top of round towers for the vultures to eat. They also worship fire!

    1. You are right on the nail Tom, the Wiki link I included provides more information and Zoroastrians? are mentioned in the text. Apparently the Parsi, an Iranian community were persecuted as so often minorities are, and they left the country as refugees during the late 19th century, many fleeing to and settling in India.


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