London >Bangkok > Mumbai. Thai Airways TG317 19:30


What you notice most about a flight to Thailand and a flight to India is the smell. The Thais sort of smell neutral yet the Indians, in no unpleasant way, smell of curry. There is a distinct aroma etched in to the very fabric of their clothes and skin that personifies the essence of curries. Its not chillies. Chillies just burn and if they any odour the Thais would reek of them. Its cumin and ground coriander. Two very pungent spices whose aroma lingers and infects stuff around you. Its like my nostrils are being prepared for whats to come. I am sitting next to an old Indian couple who are wrapped up in blankets to protect from the air conditioning. The old man is even wearing a bobble hat.

Its just occurred to me that I have spent the last 22 hrs in an air-conditioned environment. 16 of those hours in the air. Never done that before.

Arrive at Hotel Elphinstone in Mumbai at 23:30. I was not expecting much so therefore I was not disappointed. After the usual form filling (everything is hand written in ledgers, must be a ex colonial thing) I asked is it safe around here. The reply was yes, with a reservation after 12.00 pm “When the druggies come out”. With that I popped out and bought a bottle of water and two red labeled Kingfisher Beers which to my surprise and delight are 8% proof. Why do you need drugs?


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