Navsari Day 7/8 – 17th / 18th Jan

Activities were very limited for the next two days, I got hit by some bug that may have got me from some eating and the toilet had became my best friend!

Quick visit to Dr. Sanjay B, he gave some homeopathic medication along with antibiotics – in classic India style, tablets were all loose and provided in small plastic bags! Had to remember which one was taken when.

It was then resting :(. Only made some short trips outside to catch the Navsari glimpse, eating out was now a definite no no!

Fruit market in Navsari

Dilesh & family all arrived on the 17th, house was now much more lively!

Just missing Bhavik!

Last day in Navsari was simply collecting and organising all the shopping, a couple of morning calls to stores that had not delivered our shopping by the time promised – luckily all arrived by the afternoon and we were able to get it to a freight forwarder on time before they closed for the day!

Navsari was mostly done, tomorrow morning we were headed back to Mumbai, getting a ride with Vishal to the train station – he had already organised a car :).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Navsari/Surat Day 6 – 16th Jan

Early rise, our Surat car was booked for 9:30, aim was to get back quickly and not waste time visiting malls and unnecessary places – learnings from last trip!

It was just mum, Nita and I going, Dad decided to stay back – not the shopping guy, this actually did work well for mum, no one to rush her !

Driving to Surat, a normal sight here, Highway is blocked by bulls…

Car was there on time, by 10:30 we were in Surat in the Lal Gate area, first stop was Vivah and then Paris. Not many times you are the first ones in the store- this was one of those moments, the shutters were just opening and we were there outside, felt very weird waiting for the doors to open!

Shopping commenced. Just after midday we finished off Vivah and we’re heading to Paris, when Nita and Mum saw a fruit seller – sorry no idea what that stuff was but it did taste good!!(I saw need to record these names)

It was Paris next and it finished just after 2. Still had not had lunch, found a Udupi restaurant close by, headed there – I remembered the great Udupi place in Valsad that we had been to in the prior trip!

Getting to Udupi, it was not the same great environment but we were in no mood to find another place and needed quick refueling.

Ordered a couple of Dosa’s, masala and Mysore. We opted for the butter cooked option for the extra yumm taste – never tried that before – will see if that is actually any better or just a money making exercise?? Mum requested the masala be provided separate and not inside the dosa, this was a good idea as I found out later, kept the Dosa’s so crispy!

The Dosa’s were soooo soooo good!! Two Dosa’s were perfect to share between the three of us. What a tasty and fulfilling lunch, and the cost was so so so cheap!!!! Do not judge Udupi at Lal Gate based on looks, food here is amazing ⭐️.

Took an auto back to outside Vivah, our driver was coming to pick us from there.

Whilst waiting for our car pickup, noticed a street side vendor selling men’s kurti’s and he had a yellow one. Cost was only 300INR!! Bharti kaki had mentioned something about all being dressed in yellow for one of the days during the wedding – whilst I was not too keen on it previously, at $6 AUD, this was a no brainer. No trial rooms there, simply tried it on the streets and even though the largest size available was slightly tight, decided to buy it and convinced myself of loosing some weight before the wedding – well that is the plan, not sure if I will stick to it though??!

Next was a visit to a Jewellery store, a place Nita and mum enjoyed!

Around 4:30pm, we were all done and returned back to Navsari.

Dad was surprised to see us back in Navsari during daylight, all our previous visits to Surat always had our return post dinner – this was a good change πŸ‘.

Coming early allowed us to quickly go out to enjoy Neha & Pooja’s favourite chaat wala – Raju Samosa!

This place is sooo amazing, Pani Puri to die for and the Serv Puri was wow!! Chaat fix done, now for a quick walk through the bazaar.

On the return leg to home, Nita wanted to stop by at her Aji’s place – it was a good thing, we met up with her Masi and Masa from Toronto and Rupal Masi and her daughters!

Whilst there, got to try some fresh bhajiya that Rupal & Vanita masi had made. Was nice catching up with them all, tomorrow Rupal masi and family were heading back to Mumbai.

Got home and saw Doc and family arriving next door to his Aji’s home, and just then we could hear a load wedding procession going through the streets near by, we all ran there and danced a bit in that “Baraat” – no idea whose Baraat it was but who cares!!

Doc then forced me to come over to his Aji’s place for some drinks. Was good just chatting with Doc, Tina, Pushpa kaki and Doc’s Aji – she is super nice, still remember the first time we came with kids, our first meal was at his Aji’s place and my girls so loved it – something’s you just do not forget!

Got home soon after and mum and Nita had finished cooking dinner – fish was on the menu – yumm.

Around 9pm, the fire truck came by to refill our water tank – the joy of Navsari and its water problems 😬.

It was then time to call it a night – tomorrow we could sleep in, no rush!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Navsari – Day 5 – 15th Jan

Lazy start – Slept in a bit – recovering from the big night at Jayesh’s place. Not many times I get to have a relaxed breakfast with mum, being in Navsari together, these moments were treasured 😍.

For lunch it was off to Ramanand restaurant, for us, a visit to Navsari is not compete without a meal here. Highly recommended place!!

The Serv Puri was amazing, next was the sabjhi and butter roti – just wow !! I could became a vegetarian here 😜.

Recharged, now for some local shopping, off to the recommended new outlet – Chandni, this place is big , over 3 levels! This is massive for Navsari. It has everything, menswear, ladies wear, electronics, personal items and lots more – a first true department store here.

Nita got into browsing the ladies wear and we ended staying there for a while. It was funny, Nita would try on an outfit and I would say – “yeah that looks good, is that for Neha or Pooja?”. This continued without me really realising what was happening and turned out at the end she bought a lot for the kids and only a couple for herself πŸ™, Doh!!

Enough shopping , and it was back home, mum & Dad had invited Dilip kaka and Bharti kaki for dinner.

Dinner was good, lots of chatting around how each ones visit had been so far.

Finished off not too late, tomorrow was an early start, off to Surat….for more shopping 😬

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mumbai Day 4 – travel to Navsari & Makar Sankranti

Today we were headed to my grandparents home town – Navsari. Had booked the train ride through the IRCTC site – I recommend this site for all independent travellers like me who enjoy organising things themselves, this is a great site for organising train travel.

Our train was scheduled for midday departure, allowing enough time for Nita to make a quick pit stop at a Hair saloon for a wash and blow dry – something I do not need anymore ;).

Checked out of Novotel and then headed to JW Marriott for Nita’s hair appointment. There we ran into the Meghji family and Nitin & Rekha Gandhi – all here for the wedding.

Next stop was the Looks Hairsaloon in the same hotel. Nita’s hair appt finished close to 11, jumped into our OLA and then off to Bandra Terminus to catch our train, the Paschim Express.

Ride to station was loooong, lots of traffic :(. Finally made it around 11:40, hired a coolie (people who transport your luggage to your train carriage) for 400INR, he took us to our seats and helped us storing the luggage.

We were in an AC Sleeper class, lots of space and very comfortable. Love the trains here !! Still had around 10 mins, time for a some chai from the stalls – nice!!

Train departed on the dot at 12 midday. Journey was very smooth, and by 3:30 we were in Navsari – this was sooo much easier than a private car ride from Mumbai which takes around 5-6 hours in a confined area.

Back in Navsari after 2 years!! The platform had been upgraded – much better than our last experience.

Got a Rickshaw, loaded the luggage in it – this was impressive how such a small vehicle could squeeze in two suitcases and 2 passengers! It was then off to Juna Thana. The place was still the same, dusty, crowded and cows/bulls roaming the streets.

Reached home, was so good to see mum and dad there! They were the reason we were in town! Unfortunately both were not too well, always a problem with Navsari/India, eat or drink something wrong and the toilet becomes your best friend😬.

A much needed afternoon tea break then it was a quick freshen up and out on the streets – today was the festival of kites – Makar Sankranti. Whilst it was mainly kite flying, the entire neighbourhood had music being played loudly, everyone in a joyous mood. First stop Pushpa kaki’s place – turning the corner to their place, and we run into Doc and Tina!! Lol we were coming to see them!! A few stories exchanged, then it was time to head out to Jayesh and Priya’s place. From a distance was able to see them all on the rooftop, needed a few loud yells to catch his attention to let us in.

Good to catchup there with all, Dilip kaka and Bharti kaki were also there.

Lots of laughs and fun flying a few kites!!

Next stop was Nita’s Aji’s place, her dad and mum were also there. Quick 3 minute walk and we there. Rupal Masi and her daughters Vrindha and Sidhi were also there.

Quick hi hellos’ done, now back to Doc’s place, reached there and due to a power outage we had to work up 8 floors to reach the rooftop terrace! But was definitely worth it, lots of people to meet there, Kishore and Hansu fua, Vinod kaka & Ramesh kaka. Now for some kite flying with Doc….

Navsari Sunset done, invited Doc and family to Dad’s place for some drinks before we all headed of to Sheetal.

It was drinks in the dark due to the Power outage….

Just before 8 we all headed out to Sheetal, down to the main road to find a few Rickshaws. A get-together has been organised at Sheetal with Jayesh / Priya family, Hiren/Seema, Doc & family, Mum and Dad, Dilip kaka, Bharti kaki, Nita’s mum and Dad. Hiren was left in charge of ordering – he knew what to get and we were being treated to some amazing food!! Complimenting these entrees was Docs premixed Limca!! 😬! To top it off, we celebrated Prashil’s birthday – Hiren was able to organise a last minute large Ice Cream slice which served as a birthday cake!!

Dinner done, but the fun was only just starting. Decided to meet up at Jayesh’s place for after dinner drinks. First to get mum and Dad home, change to something more comfortable and Nita needed a shawl – the place was getting Cold at night!!

Walked over to Docs place, he did not know the way, we 4 then headed to Jayesh’s place. Hiren & Seema were already there. Now it was time for Gin and Sprite. The drinks, chatter and laughter continued till just after 2:30 am, around the time we decide to call it a night .

Walk back was creepy, we were walking the quite streets of Navsari around 2:30am and all Tina could think of was booth being there πŸ‘»πŸ˜±.

Was surprised we all made it to our places safely even with all the talk around booths πŸ‘».

It had been a great day and Night!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mumbai Day 3 – 13th Jan

Early wake up and off for a morning walk. This was the first time Nita had set foot on Juhu beach.

The number of people on the beach was wow as was the activities going on there. A young group doing a power fitness class, another group with yoga mats performing yoga/gym exercises and then an elderly group performing the laughing yoga exercise and more – just amazing seeing the Indian beach lifestyle.

Back at the hotel, shower / breakfast done, now to hit the road again, this time to visit some boutique stores on Linking Rd and pickup some parcels from yesterday’s shopping. It was still only 9:15am, had a lot of time to kill, decided to take a walk on the beach towards Juhu Chowpatty, from there we would catch the auto and also get a different angle of the place whilst using up some time.

The beach was not as busy as the early morning phase, this was more now couples, families roaming about, even had a couple of photographers approaching us to take pics.

Then it was off to linking road via my fav means of transport – the Auto.

First stop had a few stores with both ladies and menswear stores around. We split up and finally made my first purchase!! Next was Levi’s and then off to the ladies things.

Around 1 we headed to pickup our parcels from yesterday’s shopping. Got them to get us more of the amazing grilled sandwich and followed by more shopping 😱.

There we met Dr. Bhagat from Lautoka, amazing small world, he was here for the Meghji wedding in Jaipur.

We then headed back to hotel to relax with a few drinks in their happy hour.

The Novotel outdoor area is highly recommended for afternoon sunset drinks, nice view of the sunset over the Arabian Sea. Ordered a round of drinks and aloo Chaat.

Nice relaxing moments, around 6 we got a call from the laundry man who collects and delivers clothes for washing – much cheaper than using hotel laundry (thanks Doc for the tip). Clothes delivered, we headed back to our room, clothes were all washed and nicely ironed eland folded – 5 ⭐️ . Next to pack all our excess luggage that we did not need in Navsari – these we were going to move to our next hotel (Intercontinental Marine drive) and reduce the number of bags we had to carry to Navsari.

Bags packed, called an OLA to take us to Marine drive – drive time of 1.5hrs!

South Mumbai does feel different, no auto’s, bit more organised driving (most cars actually stayed in marked lanes) and more historic buildings. Passed the massive house Ambani gifted his daughter for their wedding, then also saw his own house – the tower.

Reached Intercontinental, amazing lobby area and staff, quick to help us with the luggage and put it into storage.

That sorted, it was then to Cream Centre at Chowpatty. We got there after 9 and the place was packed – so different to back home in Brisbane. Was only a 5 min wait and we were seated.

Ordered Manchurian soup, Masala papad, some Sabji recommended by the wait staff and roti paratha. The food was super, Veg food is simply superb here – I love it β™₯️.

It was a hearty meal, so fulfilling!

Got an OLA back to Novotel and call it a night.

Tomorrow we were off to Navsari!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mumbai Day 2 – 12th Jan

Jet leg seems to be kicking in, both Nita and I could not sleep past 4-5am, no problems more an early start but not really a benefit as things did not start till at least 10am!

(View from our room)

We were done by 9am, now what – had another hour to kill, decided to head to JW Marriott and waste some time there.

Took an Auto to JW, always fun riding the auto, and experiencing first hand the driving expertise required to navigate the kaos that is occurring on the roads daily.

Roam about a bit, and then it was time to head out. Another auto and next stop was the Santacruz area for shopping ( cnr of Station Rd & SV Road).

We had planned to visit a few stores and see what was on offer, that remained just a plan!! – the first shop we entered, did not exit the place till around 5 hours later. During that time we had numerous teas, the best grilled sandwiches and more teas….and of course some shopping!

It was around 3pm when we got out of that place. Next it was Seasons, which truly we did not like – very commercialised and no personalised service. Out of there and then into Friendship. Headed to the top level to see Chanya Choli and there we ran into Dilesh and family. A noisy reunion which lasted a bit, Nita and Dimple Bhabhi seemed to have a lot to catchup on ;).

It was then back to more shopping. Another round of grilled Sandwiches and more tea – love this stuff !!

Called off shopping around 7:30 and then headed back, for dinner we decided to head to the Italian restaurant in Marriott (Mezo Mezo), this place was recommended by Doc from his recent visit.

Was a good choice and a much needed break. Food was great but we were super tired to really enjoy the ambience and service.

Headed back to Novotel and hit the bed soon after.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Flight time and Mumbai day 1

I like late afternoon flights, you get the whole day to sort out things, which worked out well for me, had not packed a single thing and around 11am started and was sorted by midday. Around 2:30pm our Maxi taxi arrived, luggage loaded and off to Mum’s place – it has only been 33yrs since I last flew with Mum/Dad on the same flight!! It was not planned but we were on the same flights to Mumbai!

Whilst there I had a funny feeling that one of my doors at home was not properly locked, asked the taxi to drive back home to recheck – whilst doors were all locked, I found the air conditioning still running !!! Am I glad we went back, second time check and home locked, now it was off to the airport! ( if you ever have that feeling of something being missed, always better to recheck – my lesson learnt).

Airport checkin was normal, queues were not much at all and soon we were through immigration.

Dutyfree shopping done for mum and Nita, now for a quick bite and then off to gates. Flight was delayed by 30 mins :(! No other hiccups, we were soon in the air – next stop Singapore for 7.5 hr layover !!!

The Singapore airlines service is super, Nita’s meal had under cooked lentils! We informed the steward and she ensured the issue was rectified, another option was presented and the manager was also there to ensure things were all ok – they were super attentive to our needs – 5 stars for thatπŸ‘.

Landed in Singapore just after midnight local time. Now to kill time – this is hard for the guys but seems easy got ladies, simply head to the duty free shops 😬

Mum and Dad headed to the business lounge to relax, we tried to explore the terminal a bit more.

Unfortunately most of the shops closed around 1am, tried to get to the JEWEl, a super feature in the airport with waterfalls and things, sadly that was closed at that hour ☹️.

Next found a good lounge location and got some much needed rest. Nita located a couple of OSIM foot massage machines – these were god sent and soo good, turned out these were everywhere in the terminal, to revive the millions of sore feet walking through Changi.

The hours ticked off quicker than I had anticipated and soon it was time to head to the gates for the next flight.

Enroute to the gates, came across a large pair of wings – very similar to the wings in Maleficent – time to pose!!

Posing done, boarded the flight and we were in the air again.

Arrived at Mumbai on time, getting off the plane, we could smell India – it has a very distinctive smell πŸ‘. Now for the very very long walk from the gates to immigration.

No issues at immigration or customs, and was pleased to see the sign at customs explicitly warning passengers to report any activity of bribe demands !

Here we split with mum & dad, they were off to Navsari, whilst we were staying in Mumbai for a few days before meeting up in Navsari.

Got a prepaid AC taxi to Novotel Juhu organised from within the terminal, this is much better than walking outside and being bombarded with all the taxi drivers. Much more organised and so much cheaper than getting a hotel pickup (lesson learnt from last experience).

Tip: Rather than paying 2000+ INR for hotel organised pickup, a prepaid Taxi will set you back a mere 300 INR.

Mumbai roads – amazing organised kaos, things just keep moving.

Got to the hotel but check in process was slow :(, finally got the room keys and we were settled in.

First stop lunch at our fav from the last trip – Tea Villa Cafe, short walk from Novotel and the most amazing food.

Following that, I organised a SIM card for Nita, that was a fairly quick process, just need to make sure you have your passport and visa documents. 1200 INR got us 28 days of talk, text, 1.5gb of data daily plus additional 12gb – let’s see how we go through that in the next two weeks.

Sim sorted, next stop was Myrah day spa. Time to let go of all that tiredness from the long travels. This place was amazing, highly highly recommended.

Finished around 6pm, off to the hotel and then we headed to Hakassan, another fav from our last trip, that time I could not eat due to my throat allergic problems, no problems this time around.

We ordered the Spicy soup, Dim Sum, Hakka noddles & Duck Stir fry, all tasted amazing!!

It had been a very looong day, time to hit the bed, tomorrow Nita starts her shopping spree 😱😨

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment