Thinking back to Jan 2001 and Mumbai
On 2001 Jan 14, after a delicious meal of Udon (850JPY) and Beef Curry on Tonkatsu (1000JPY), we took an ANA flight from KIX to BOM that lasted 9:45! As the major financial and entertainment capital of the country, I was surprised at how old-fashioned BOM looked, and similarly, was taken aback that there were dirt roads! Coming from the US and Japan just the day before, it was shocking to not see asphalt everywhere. Tip of the day: I learned here that the horn is part of a very different traffic protocol than what we use it for here in the US... lots of little toots and beeps here and there to let the vehicles to your left and right know that you're not there because no one is really following the painted lines. LOL!
Two guides had picked us up, and my observations above were made on the 45-min ride to the Taj hotel called the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. Our room was in the Palace part IIRC. It does cater to Western tastes for sure, but I wouldn't have had a problem with it if that wasn't
the case. The pool was nice, and Internet access was available (275Rs/INR for half-hr or 550Rs for a full hour). Gotta pay the bills and check e-mail you know. Had dinner that evening in the hotel "cafe"... turned out to be around $24USD. If our ears weren't that wet, we would've gone out to eat instead.
The next day, we took a tour of the city which included Gandhi's residence in Mumbai/Bombay. We had lunch at Leopold's Cafe -- yes, we're 2 for 2 if you're keeping score with the atrocities on the day I posted this entry -- and had kebab, tandoori chicken, and garlic naan. We did some window shopping but didn't buy anything. We checked out of the hotel at 5p and went back to BOM to catch a short flight to IXU -- that is a different story for a different time. (We actually came back to BOM several days later but stayed at the Orchid instead of the Taj on that leg before heading off to our next destination, Jaipur.)
Ironically, several months later, we stayed at the Marriott at WTC3 in NYC. Perhaps people should avoid staying at places that we've lodged at... they seem to become terrorist targets. :P