Friday 5 October 2007


The day began with a solitary hunt for a better hotel, while Wala went on sleeping on account of not feeling too well. The hunt was successful and the prey was of prime quality.

The hotel I hunted down was the Regent Hotel, right next to the venerable and lush Taj Mahal hotel. I walked up to reception just as three guests were checking out. After enquring about double rooms and rates, I was told that there were two rooms available (no doubt the ones vacated by the leaving guests at the reception) and that I could see them and decide which one I wanted.

I planned to get the cheaper of the two rooms, which cost the same as the fatiscent room in Hotel Strand. This cheaper room was very nice indeed, and I was going to take it, until I saw the super deluxe room. This room blew me away. Walking into the room, I found myself in the room reception hall, with windows overlooking the hotel corridors, separating the bedroom and bathroom from the entrace. Centralized air conditioning, cable TV, gorgeous flood lighting, marble throughout: the only surfaces that were not marble were glass or mirrors. The bathroom was amazing, with a spacious shower and a big bathtub.

We took it easy and enjoyed the room in the morning. We eventually decided to venture out to see the Gateway of India and the outside of the Taj Mahal hotel. Then we walked up north from Colaba to the Fort and beyond, absorbed in looking around and spotting interesting people and bargains.

The streets were lined up with markets, bazaars, and stalls selling everything you can think of. We picked up a newer copy of the Lonely Planet guide to India for a bargain price (that IÂ bargained down to 750 rupies from 1095). This proved to be a sensible purchase, as we discovered that the hotel in Kolhapuer we had picked based on recommendation in the older guide was described as "the saddest hotel in India". We resolved to cancel our booking.