The opposite of slumming it

For the first time in nearly a fortnight, I managed to sleep properly last night. Partly it was because there was a bolt on my bedroom door (I’m paranoid about sleeping in hotels by myself, regardless of which country I’m in), but mainly it was because I wasn’t attempting to rest my head on a pillow that smelt like it had been stuffed with something that had died several weeks earlier.

Being away for over three months, I’m having to be careful with my dosh to make sure my Nuffield Scholarship grant goes as far as possible. While I’ve not been crazy enough to stay in hostels, I have reigned in my hotel costs to about £60 a night – nothing fancy, but enough to make sure I got somewhere which I hopefully felt safe in. And boy, has £60 bought me some smashing places. I can’t wait to write my Expedia reviews….

Having spent a couple of nights in fairly basic lodgings out in the country though, I decided to splash out when I got back to Mumbai and up my limit by a tenner. I tell you now, it’s the best £70 I’ve ever spent.

Someone warned me about the social disparaties I’d see in Mumbai, but I didn’t think they’d be illustrated quite so well by my hotel room. This place puts my flat back in London to shame.


Not content to loll about on the king-sized bed, pick your clothes out from your illuminated wardrobe or kick back on the leather sofa? Well that’s okay, you can just watch the 32″ TV through the window in the marble-finished bathroom as you soak in the bath:


All pretty snazzy hey? I just wonder what my neighbours directly below my window think of it all:


These shacks are actually pretty salubrious compared with some of the slums I’ve seen today. The slums are such a huge part of Mumbai that you almost become immune to the squalor once you’ve driven through them for an hour or so. I’m almost ashamed of myself for being able to get over the shock of them so quickly.

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