Thursday, August 24, 2006

Crisis narrowly averted

I can't describe how horrible it feels to open your wallet in a Mumbai shop and reach for your credit card, only to realize it's not there. This morning I discovered I was missing my Master Card. Terrible thoughts rushed through my mind. I've never lost a credit card before. I rarely use the thing, since I came well stocked with traveller's cheques. I did a little backtracking in my mind and figured the last place I used it was Leopold's restaurant in Colaba, where they offer tourists a 10% discount if they used their credit cards. That was on Monday. I dashed out of the store, hopped in a taxi and we gunned it over to the restaurant. I had pretty low expectations, but when I asked the cashier if they had my card, he pulled up a stack of credit cards two-inches thick left behind by all the other dumb tourists. Mine was on the bottom of the pile. Phew. That called for a Kingfisher then and there.

My flight to Delhi is booked. I got a great deal. $120, taxes included. It's about a 3 hour flight. I'm flying Kingfisher Airlines, a discount carrier that launched recently. I wonder if they serve beer? I also have a reservation for a return flight to Shanghai that's about $100 cheaper than what it cost me to get here. Unfortunately Air Canada said all the seats the first week of September are booked. But that's what they said about my flight from Vancouver to Shanghai too, so I'm just going to show up at the airport and try for standby.

I have a day of back-to-back interviews tomorrow. Then in the evening I'm hooking up with my friend Anupam. He's invited me to stay with his family for the weekend. I get to live the life of a Mumbaiker. Can't wait.

My buddy Jamie sent me an e-mail today saying how much he liked the food entries in my Blog. He pondered what it would be like if I kept writing after I returned. Here's an exerpt from his e-mail:

i think it would be hilarious if you keep doing the blog once you get home.
i can only imagine the entries...

"i'm sitting in a tim hortons right now, eating a chunky chicken salad sandwich. it's on a 5 inch whole wheat roll with a butter on one side. the tomatoe is dangling perilously from the edge of the hastily put together sandwich. i swear my sandwich stewart must be having a bad day as she actually tried to get away with out even giving me a pickle. bitch."

Well, as it happens, today I had my best meal in India so far. It was a Gujarati Thali, a vegetarian dish from the province that Ghandi called home. They brought out a variety of side dishes, including my favourite, spicy pickle. Then they set down a large flat round stainless steel plate, with about eight small steel bowls on it. Into each bowl they poured a different vegetable mixture, ranging from hot to sweet. You’re given a variety of breads, and you scoop up the food with the bread. Each dish was bursting with flavour and completely unique. I didn’t realize it, but it was a buffet of sorts. Each time a bowl neared empty, or my bread ran low, the waiter would rush over and give me more. You wash it all down with a yoghurt drink.The cost was 120 rupees, or about $3, not including the beer I ordered. Why don’t we have this meal back home? Maybe we do. I gotta check.

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