There is a moment in every travelers journey where no matter how strong you think you are physically, no matter how many preventive vitamins, elixirs and herbs you take, you just get sick! This was the case when Alisa and I hit Mumbai, one of our favorite cities and the most anticipated part of our journey. No sooner had we checked in and unpacked our bags, the minor flu Alisa had been fighting turned into a full on illness. I promptly tucked her in with strict instructions to sleep and drink water with massive rations of Vitamin C.
L-atitude tip: This illness was unusual. We always travel with grape fruit seed extract- our miracle elixir. One drop every morning with orange juice has kept us well through many intrepid L-atitude adventures.
Luckily upon arrival we had secured the loveliest of drivers who would prove to be my main shopping companion for the next few days until Alisa recovered. First stop a quick trip to the Chor Bazaar. It is very difficult to visit Chor bazaar for a short amount of time, it?s actually a maze of streets and alleyways filled with centuries old ephemera that some would call junk. Here you can find old photos, coins, antique chandeliers, Bollywood posters, cooking utensils, you name it. This is one of my favorites all time bazaars and I knew it was best to tackle first.
Next stop- a two hour drive to the outskirts of Mumbai. Traffic here is as bad if not worse than the other big cities in India. There is not much you can do but sit back and take a Zen approach to the traffic. Just get used to the idea you will be arriving late everywhere, trust me no one even seems to notice. After a fruitful scavenge through the wares in a non-descript warehouse it was back to the hotel to check on Alisa.
She was still in need of rest so I took myself off for a stroll down Colaba causeway. This is not for the faint of heart. Basically it?s a street side bazaar, selling the best and worst tourist items in Mumbai. I bought great leather hippie sandals and assorted toe rings, which can also double as knuckle rings. This is an aggressive shopping strip used to the tourist trade, it's definitely worth the walk. Just be careful you do not get ripped off by the overly ?friendly? merchants.
I decided it was best to let Alisa sleep so I took myself for an early dinner at my favorite hotel, the Taj Palace. This hotel defines the exotic luxe charm of India, staying in one of the Palace rooms here is an experience that should be on everyone?s bucket list.
L-atitude tip: Definitely visit here for a drink, tea, dinner or just a stroll in the lobby.
My days started to fall into a rhythm of meeting our driver, sitting through hours of traffic, sweating, starving, finding the most incredible treasures, feeling really pleased with myself, followed by more traffic, more sweating, more shopping, checking on Alisa, a swim, dinner and finally well deserved sleep.
When a few days past and Alisa was still not feeling better, not to mention the recent outbreak of Dengue flu in Mumbai. We decided to phone a doctor and get Alisa anti-biotics and a blood test. It was exactly at this moment when Alisa looked up at me with great seriousness and said "Please promise, whatever happens don?t let me die in a four star hotel!? I promptly called the Oberoi Hotel and after the doctor left so did we to our new digs fit for an urban princess. It was not surprising that after only 24 hours of care under our new butler and concierge, Alisa started to make a remarkable recovery.
L-atitude tip: Getting sick in India is actually way more convenient not to mention less costly than the states, all the doctor?s will come to you and its costs next to nothing plus you get excellent medical care.
With Alisa back in good health and most of the shopping business behind us we concentrated on seeing friends and local designers. We met Honorine's Fanny Boucher and had a wonderful lunch of South Indian cuisine at Amba scarves designer Hema Patel?s beautiful home in the Malabar Hills.
We ate countless nights at The Table- the ?off the moment? restaurant in Mumbai. One night we were joined by my friend Bandana Tewari, Vogue India?s features editor and Mumbai?s number one ?it girl.? We also visited Maithili Ahluwalia at her magnificent boutique Bungalow 8.
L-atitude tip: This is a must go to store, its spread over three floors in a magnificent colonial building and is the home to a vast array of covetable items displayed in effortlessly chic style.
As our time wound down, and our purchases grew larger, we faced the idea we had to leave Mumbai and our luxurious basecamp at the Oberoi hotel and head back to NYC. Below is a list of our favorite haunts in one of our favorite cities.
The Taj Hotel and Palace
Apollo Bunder, Opposite Gateway Of India, P J Ramchandani Marg, Colaba Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005, India, +91 22 2641 0531
The Oberoi Hotel
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, Nariman Point, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 400021 India, +91 22 6632 5757
The Table Restaurant
Kalash Peshi Building, Near Hotel Suba Palace Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Apollo Bandar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005, India, +91 22 2282 5000
D.Popli & Sons Jewelry
Readymoney Building,Battery Street, Colaba, Mumbai,MH,400001 India
Near Radio Club, Opp: Basilico Cafe Grants Building, 1st, 2nd & 3rd floors, 17, Apollo Bandar Rd, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005, India, +91 22 2281 9880
1 Reay House, Best Marg, Colaba Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India, +91 22 2287 6276
17-25 Nandlal Jani Road, Off P. D' Mello Road, Wadi Bunder, Masjid Bunder (E), Mumbai
Raghuvanshi Mills Compound Senapati Bapat Marg, Mumbai +91 22 2495 1954
Located near Bhendi Bazaar in South Mumbai
Colaba Neighbourhood in South Mumbai