Day 30–Jaipur (7th Jan)

Had a great night’s sleep! Beds at the Fortune Hotel were amazingly comfortable, we did not feel like getting up at all. Against the will of a good rest, we forced ourselves to get up and down to breakfast.
The breakfast  spread was nice, lots of vegetarian Indian options, some good pastries and my fav, the egg/omelette station, my mouth was definitely on the mend now and was able to eat much more non spicy food. My go to eggs, fried single side! Pooja was enjoying the pastries and the equivalent of the Coco Pops cereal. Nita and Neha were happy to try the Indian options and then switch to continental.
Good breakfast overall, not the same as Novotel Juhu, but in no way was it a let down, it was good Smile.

Got down to the lobby just after 10am and spoke to the Manager again re: our interconnecting rooms, was assured it would be sorted today – fingers crossed! Now it was time to head out. Into our car hired for the day (much easier that the hotel had their own private cars, no hassles with finding a good driver etc).

First stop was Jantar Mantar – a site with a lot of traditional astronomical instruments.
Jantar Mantar was in the OLD Jaipur city, entering the old city, the difference was stark, could tell why Jaipur is referred to as the PINK city, most of the buildings here had a PINK cladding.

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Arriving at Jantar Mantar, first were the swarm of street sellers trying to sell you everything from souvenirs to maps etc, next were the line of guides wanting to show you around. Purchased the tickets to the site, and were in. Picked a guide who could speak English – needed both my girls to understand what this site was about. Told the guide, to concentrate more on explaining to my girls! He was very enthusiastic and at times that also made it seem quite funny.

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tip: highly recommend you hire a guide at Jantar Mantar, there are lots of devices which are difficult to get an understanding off without someone explaining it.

The large Sun dial was interesting to all, it was accurately able to give the time of day – girls loved that!!

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We were there for just over an hour, time to head out and onto the City Palace, which was opposite Jantar Mantar.

Outside Jantar Mantar, Neha and Pooja stopped by a couple of Snake Charmers! They got to touch the snakes and feel the skin – something we do not normally get a chance to do back down under.

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Tipped the snake charmers and now to move on to the City Palace and more pics….

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Lots of amazing designs and architecture, in the centre mahal, Pooja located some ladies doing Mehndi, time for Neha & Pooja to get that done.

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All getting a bit tired with the amount of walking around, saw a cafe within the City Palace, checking it out, was surprised at how nice the ambience was – decided to take a break there for lunch!

tip: highly recommended, eat at the Baradari cafe in the City Palace, wonderful vibe and very good food!!

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We ordered a Margarhita Pizza, Pasta and a big bowl of chips!! All of the food options were great, Pizza and Pasta were wow!!

at the exit/entrace of the City Palace
(at the exit of the city palace)

Getting out of there, called our driver/car, he was sooooo surprised when he learnt we had eaten inside the city palace, and was like, “oh my god, you would have got reaped off, no one eats there, and I would have taken you to a better place….” blah blah blah, they are all after commissions and I guess he had missed on todays lunch commission ! Seriously avoid the drivers hype and make a point of eating at Baradari – definitely worth it.

Next stop was the Jaigarh Fort, which has the largest Cannon on wheels. Ride there was a bit over 30 minutes, good scenic ride going up the mountains.

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Finally there, the driver dropped us off near a large door and told us to start the tour from there – typical drivers – all of them after commissions, that entry was to a Museum selling the historic artifacts, local art etc, got out of there just as quickly and made our way up to the place where the Worlds largest Cannon on wheels was mounted.

The fort is huge, amazing how this would have been built in the years gone by.

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Up we walked, till we reached the highest point of the fort where the massive cannon was mounted, Jaivana – the largest cannon in the world on wheels! To be honest, I was not exactly blown away by it, maybe I was expecting something extraordinary!! It was big, but I had imagined something else in my mind, still good viewing.

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Cannon done, ample time to walk around the place, and just enjoy the views from the top, and ofcourse time for more pics…

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(Had to explain to the Girls why the walls had holes – to attack the outside forces from the safety of the fort)

And more pics….

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Coming down the stairs from the top of the fort to the middle grounds where we were dropped off, we could see the place had numerous monkeys! Pooja and Neha were amazed to see that many, and they could see them being a nuisance to the public, stealing food from everyone! Pooja really wanted to feed them, got some snacks from the local stall walla, and off she went.

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It was time to head back to the hotel, along the way we stopped by at Hawa Mahal, nothing to see inside, more a viewing from the outside to admire its design, one pic and time to move on.

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(Hawa Mahal)

Back at the hotel, was surprised when the Manager informed us on arrival that our rooms were changed and we were now in an interconnecting suite! Wow, did not expect that, an upgrade! The rooms were grande, very large and spacey, Neha and Pooja were super happy with these ones! All our luggage had been moved nicely and even the toiletries had been brought over! Wow, amazing service!

Time to freshen up, for the evening we had booked Japanese Teppanyaki at Atsui restaurant, in the Radison Blu Hotel on Tonk Road.

Got there just after 7pm, place looked amazing, got seated at the Teppanyaki bar! Time to order – got dim sums, sushi, prawns and then the Teppanyaki. Food was 5 star!! Very very good and highly recommended. And the mocktails – yes no alcohol for me (Nita had banned me till my throat was sorted!), were simply amazing, I ordered the Mojito and it was wow!!! Neha also got into the Mojito mocktails. It was an amazing night – pity I did not take any pics, however Neha has vlogged it all very well.

Back at the hotel, tomorrow was an early start to take on the elephant rides.

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Day 29–Udaipur/Jaipur (6th Jan)

Today we were flying out to Jaipur, flight was originally @ 10am, but we were informed of a change and now it was at 5.30pm, had the whole day to roam or laze about! Kids wanted to sleep in from the late night yesterday – why not, me and Nita decided to head out and see the markets. Before leaving, organised with the Hotel reception for a car to take us to the airport @ 3pm.

We got back to the hotel just after midday, kids had already ordered room service!! We headed down to the hotel restaurant where Nita organised a kitchdi for me – my mouth was now much better, still unable to take on spicy foods but solids were no longer impossible to eat.

Just before 3pm, we were down at the lobby waiting for our transport to the airport, minutes ticked by and no car. Reception had no answer, and kept saying it will be here soon. Was around 3.30 when the car finally arrived! When in India, if you are organising transport etc, make sure you allow yourself an additional hour – it is rare to find people who value time! Sad smile.

Arrived at the airport, check in process was without issues, a short wait for the flight to arrive and soon we were boarded and on the way to Jaipur.

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Arrived in Jaipur, and our pickup driver no where to be seen! A call to the hotel only to be told he was on the way! Another example of the value of time in India!! Driver arrived soon after, we were on our way to the Hotel. We were staying at the Fortune Select Metropolitan Hotel.

Arrived at the hotel, very clean foyer and professional entry staff – check in process was quick however there were no interconnecting rooms for us Sad smile. The manager said he would try and arrange something the next day. No point stressing about it now, it was time to freshen up and head out to catchup with Jaynesh & family @ Dragon House China restaurant. It was our first night in Jaipur and Jaynesh’s last, good opportunity to catch up again.

Got into an OLA and arrived at the Dragon House around 8:30pm.

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Food at Dragon House was amazing, delicious, prices were a bit on the steep end, but were not let down on taste/quality. Next were desserts, which were just as good, wow good food here!

Was good to catchup again with Jaynesh & family, lots of laughs from our new years craziness! It was time to farewell them, next time we meet them would be in Brisbane.

Got an OLA back to the hotel, tomorrow was the start of Jaipur sight seeing Smile. Lets hope this time our private car would be on time.

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Day 28–Udaipur (5th Jan)

Sightseeing today, had hired a private car for the day to take us around the sights.
Am glad I got up early, was able to witness the Rajasthani sunrise from our hotel room – what a contrast, the foreground having the busy train station, and beyond that the picturesque Udaipur mountains with the sunrise!

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Waking up Neha was easy, but Pooja took some effort Disappointed smile. Finally got them all down to breakfast, it was not a LARGE spread but had the essentials. My throat was not getting any worse but not sure if it was any better, Nita organised fried eggs for me – this I was able to swallow! She was adamant I eat something, and was glad I could finally have something other than soup.
Our car arrived around 10am, first was to head to a Vodafone store to sort out Neha’s phone, her SIM was having issues with DATA. That sorted, our first stop was getting a Cable car to Machhala Hill (which had a Temple on top) – apparently a good spot to get a 360 degree view of Udaipur from high up! Got to the bottom of the hill where the cable car commenced, our driver showed us where to get that tickets and where he would be waiting for us when we got back. Tickets bought, now into the cable car and up we went.

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The view of Udaipur was wow from the Gondola on its way up! Could see why this was called the Lake City! Getting to the top, the place was not super busy being still early morning (was around 10:30am). Walked around the place a bit and took darshan in the temple – amazing how it was built so high up! The view from the top was brilliant, only regret was, we should have done this in the late afternoon, could have been amazing seeing the sunset from here.

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Time to head back to the Gondolas to go down, next stop was the City Palace. Got back down, and located our car, off we went. Got to the City Palace, first get tickets for all – fight through the queues, back into the car – our driver was able to take us the closest he could to avoid the additional walking on the hilly terrain. The walk up to the City palace provided an amazing view of the Lake Palace!

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Roaming about through the palace, got to the centre court – could remember our time here in 1998, then me and Nita had taken the portraits of us dressed in Rajasthani attire, now it was our kids turn! Time for Neha and Pooja to get into Rajasthani attire. The company doing the portraits did not allow any pics to be taken in individuals cameras/phones, was a shame as we would have loved to get more pics Sad smile.

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It was just after 1pm and was getting very hot – the stone paths did not help with the heat! Pooja and Neha were very tired at the end of the photo shoot. Headed for a break at the cafe in the centre court – time to recharge. We hung around there for a bit, waiting for the portraits to come back – it was a good 40 minutes wait! During that time, none of the girls wanted to do any more walking with the heat, they were happy to sit in the shade and relax –  I took this time to walk around the place a bit and take more snaps…

 

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Finally got the portraits, girls loved it!!  Was then time to head back to our car, driver was taking us to a good lunch restaurant with lake views (fingers crossed).
Driving to the restaurant, I was a bit sceptical, but was pleasantly surprised with the location. The place was “Jhumar Lake View Restaurant” and did it have lake views!! – and from our table.

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Food was very good, Girls ordered Paneer curries with naan, and Nita organised a special non-spicy Kitchdi for me, she was explicit on it being not dry and non spicy . It was made very well, today had been a breakthrough for me, I was finally able to eat something, first breakfast and now lunch – and as a bonus my throat & mouth were feeling better, could feel the improvements.

Back in the car, we did not want to not see any more sights – I guess the heat had worn us out, so we decided to head to the markets for some imitation rajasthani jewellery. Now this is where these drivers can be a PAIN!! I specifically told him I did not want to go to showrooms and museums, take me to the local markets, yet that is exactly where he was not taking us, instead going to the big showrooms and museums (they do get commissions for each visitor they bring there), me refusing to get out of the car got him a bit annoyed and then took us to a crappy market Steaming mad.  From there it was downhill, post the markets we were to go to Udaipur’s highest lookout point – Sajjangarh Fort, to view the sunset, we still had a good 2.5 hours to kill, so asked him to take us to another market or a mall for a bit. Instead he was driving us to a biological park – once I realised we were heading in the wrong direction, I asked him to take us directly to the hotel, there I called the owner and asked him to get me another driver to take us to Sajjangarh fort. This guy was an absolute disaster.
It was also a good chance to relax in the hotel from the heat. Around 4.30pm the other car came by and we were on our way to Sajjangarh fort.

Drive time was just over 30 minutes, once off the main road, the road leading to the fort is quite narrow – would not want to be a driver here! Reaching the top, it was an amazing sight.

 

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There isn’t much to see of the fort itself, but more to see of the sunset and the views. Lots of people here at this time of the afternoon, it was waiting to get a spot on the ledge and then keeping it! The sunset provided a great opportunity for us to try some silhouette pics.

 

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We stayed there till dark, this is a highly recommended Udaipur sight/experience – and only to be done during sunrise or sunset.

Next we asked the driver to drop us off in the old Udaipur city near Lal Ghatt, we had noticed a couple of nice rooftop restaurants across the lake from where we had dinner last night. Had no idea what the names were, but were willing to hunt them down.

Got off in the old town, and walked towards the line of hotels/restaurants that were lake side. Along the way, the girls stopped by a imitation jewellery place – ended up picking a few pieces for all three.
Back on to the narrow streets and finally located the rooftop place we were looking for – it was called “Upre”. It had an amazing ambience, just wow!

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The place was unfortunately fully booked out, had our hopes high, as the wait staff asked to us sit by the bar whilst he double checked all bookings – fingers crossed, however it was not to be, disappointed, we headed down and looked for another option. An auto was driving by and he enquired if we wanted a ride, declined that and not sure why, told him we were looking for somewhere nice to eat. He suggested Raas Leela and drove us there. This guy was driving a pimped up auto with neon lights and good sound system, must be the best auto we had sat in so far. Girls were liking it.
He dropped us off at Raas Leela and gave me his number to drive us back to the hotel.

Inside the restaurant, the place was right next to the lake – very nice location and open air. Lots of open fireplaces, it was cold and these were much needed! Got a table next to the lake and time to order some food – everyone was hungry.

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Food was very nice, but it was the cold in the open air that was making it a bit uncomfortable for me. Everyone had brought their warm cardigans except for Pooja (aarghhh, she left it at the hotel), so she was wearing my jacket, my long sleeve shirt was ok for a bit but not long. Soon after finishing our meal, we called the auto driver and were on our way back.
Squeezing 4 in an auto, he asked me to sit with him, whilst the girls were at the back. The driver was a good sport, playing a lot of tunes that Neha & Pooja wanted.

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It was the best auto ride to-date, was a fun & freezing experience! Gave the guy a good tip and it was time to hit the bed in the hotel.

Tomorrow we fly to Jaipur.

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(Link to Neha vlog on  Day 28)

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Day 27–Mumbai – Udaipur (4th Jan)

Early morning start today, off to the Domestic airport @ 8am, for our flight to Udaipur flying Indigo. Traffic was light (very weird), we reached the airport by 8:30, instead of 9am as advised by the hotel! Am glad for being early, as the Indian airline check-in process is very time consuming, first the security process, scanning all check-in & carry-on luggage – that took over 30 minutes, then the long queue for checking in bags and getting boarding passes – another 30+ minutes, that was not the end of it, another 15 minutes of queues for passing through the x-ray/security scanning for entering the airside area. Finally into the terminal, which is quite nice, this was my first time into this new terminal, lots of food/shopping outlets – first to have some breakfast for the girls – my throat had me on a liquid diet. Was surprised to find a “PAUL” cafe there  – good place for coffee and light brekky.
We still had 1.5 hours to kill, me and Nita went walkabout in the terminal, whilst girls stayed back at Cafe – happy to be left to their devices!

Celebrity sighting – Arjun Rampal

Coming back around 40 mins later, found Neha a bit sad! Was concerned and asked her why, turns out Arjun Rampal was sitting next to her and she was too nervous to take a photo of him – apparently he was in a foul mood and she was scared he would get angry!! And now that he was gone, she was super upset on missing the opportunity!! I was having mixed emotions, laughter and trying to console Neha, well atleast she was the first one amongst us to have seen a Celeb in this trip!!
Boarding was routine, we were seated in the same row, Neha, Pooja & Nita, then I was on the aisle seat on the other side. Flight time to Udaipur was just over an hour, flight was good, nothing to complain about, infact service on this was much better that the Jet Airways full service flight that we later took. Landed safely in Udaipur – it is a very small terminal, all our bags had arrived!!, Organised a private taxi to our Hotel and we were off. Did not realise how far the airport was from the City, it was a fair drive – approx 30 mins!

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We were staying at the Le Roi Udaipur. Both our rooms were next to each other, unfortunately the hotel did not have interconnecting rooms Sad smile, however that was not a problem for Neha & Pooja, they were loving having their own room Disappointed smile. Rooms at Le Roi were very good for a 3.5 star hotel. Note, however if you want something quiet than this may not be the best place for you, it is next to the Udaipur train station, you do hear every train whistle. Another sound problem – not massive one, was the the corridor outside the rooms playing music at a level which was a tad loud. Overall however it was good experience and the beds were very comfortable.

Checking with the reception for places of interest that I could do that afternoon, it was recommended we go to “Bagore Ki Haveli”to view the traditional Rajasthani dance show. This was in the Lal Ghatt area of the old Udaipur city, first show was at 7pm.

Made sure everyone had their jumpers/cardigans, Udaipur gets very cold at night!
Bagore Ki Haveli was in the old city, our driver dropped us on the gates of the old Udaipur city, turns out the roads in the old city are so narrow that cars are limited in that zone, especially during evenings. Got of at the gates and walked along asking our way to “Bagore Ki Haveli”.
Udaipur old city in the evening is amazing, am so glad we were walking – you can only appreciate this beauty if were walking, the narrow streets, people avoiding being run over by Autos and scooters, and small shops in all the historic buildings, the night feel was wow! Pity we did not take many pics – I was soo concerned with making it to the show on time Sad smile. (Neha has some good walking videos in her VLOG )

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Got there just before 6:30 and were surprised with the crowd and the long queues! In India, if you are a tourist (from out of India) you are in luck as they have a foreigners section and separate queues for them, of course foreigners do pay extra for the same tickets. I got into the foreigners queue, was not wasting time in the other queue, got to the counter only to be told the 7pm show was sold out, however the 8.30show was still available, got tickets to that – not complaining about the guy charging me local rates – bonus! Headed out of there and time to get a quick dinner.

Close by was Jagat Niwas Palace, decided to head there for dinner. Along the way some beautiful views of the lakes.

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Found Jagat Niwas easily, and were seated in a raised nook overlooking the Lake Pichola, and the magnificent Lake Palace Hotel. Neha and Pooja were loving the traditional seating without chairs, it did feel nice! Girls ordered their naans and curries, I was happy to go with soups – my diet till my mouth/throat was sorted – still no sign of improvement!

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This place is a must visit, a palace converted into a nice bar/restaurant with amazing views and great food.

Out of there, back on the road roaming the streets and strolling along to Bagore Ki Haveli, am glad we had pre-purchased tickets, in the foreigners queue again, however as per normal in India, it is always a shove and push to get into a venue, both queues were being merged near the entrance and there was no regard for a queue system, it was simply if you can push you way in front of someone else, then you were winning – a sad reality here!

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(waiting in the queues to get into Bagore Ki Haveli)

Finally got in – girls decided we should sit in front on the floor (on rugs), not the most comfortable seating for me but we had a good view of the show.

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The folk dance and show was very good, lots of traditional dancing, puppet dances, and amazing balancing acts of matkas – all well recorded by Neha in her vlog.

It was time to get back to the hotel, had been a great night. Got an auto outside the venue and headed back to the hotel – riding an auto in cold weather is an experience, the wind chill factor does come into play- we were well frozen by the time we reached our hotel. Finished the night with room service – some nice Ghulab Jamun & Ice Cream.

Tomorrow we had booked a driver for the day to take us around the sights.

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Day 24,25,26 –Mumbai (1st Jan to 3rd Jan)

Day 24 – 1st January

First day of the new years! Not as fun as last night, my throat was not getting any better – felt like it was worse Sad smile. Also the team was much smaller now, Jayesh, Priya & family had already left for Navsari.
It was already close to midday, we headed off to Cafe Moshes in Palladium Mall (Phoenix mall). Nita and Neha ordered Pasta, whilst Pooja could not resist the Pancakes, myself I was happy simply getting a coffee – did not want to feel the extreme pain that any solids created in my mouth. Food was very good (I am told), my coffee was ok but I could not drink it – the hot liquid was burning my mouth .
We sat for a while there, it was good to be relaxed and not be in a rush at all.
Next a walk around the Pheonix mall area, ended up at the Cinemas, nice way to kill off a couple of hours in the afternoon, off to see Jumanji in IMAX. Seated, kids were not expecting the Indian Anthem to come up before the session started and everyone was standing for that, Pooja was like – why??? For those that do not know, in India, before movies, the National Anthem is played and everyone in the Cinema stands for that – very patriotic indeed.
The movie was great, loads of family fun – highly recommended. Neha & Pooja gave it 5 stars.
Out of there, Pooja noticed an electronic department store, in there to play with the ipads, good opportunity to call back home, mum was worried about my throat.
We finished off with an early dinner at Social in the same mall, Nita loved their Kitchde, Neha wanted the Nachos, Pooja was happy with the cheese loaded fries and their Sweet corn soup was perfect for me!
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On the way back Nita noticed a nice cafe across the street from Phoenix mall – hmmm good place for breakfast tomorrow!!

Day 25 – 2nd January

Same story with my throat, still not improving Sad smile, Nita was getting very worried now, I was trying my best to calm her down, and kept telling her – physically I was fine, no headaches, soreness etc, it was only my mouth/throat that was the problem – which was prevent me from eating …. just a small problem Winking smile.
For brunch we headed to the Rolling Pin opp Phoenix mall – the place Nita saw last night, and was it a good decision!

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This place had the best pastries and chocolates!! Unfortunately I did not take many pics, but Neha has a great glimpse in her VLOG , you can view it there.
Neha ordered a Paneer wrap, Pooja just wanted the FREAK Shake with Salted Caramel, and Nita settled for one of their yummy muffins with coffee.

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(Pooja’s amazing Freak Shake!!)

Food and drinks were good, but Nita was too concerned with my throat issue – she was adament I call the first doctor who sorted me out at Novotel on my second day in India. He was in Juhu, gave him a call and he said he could see us in an hour. Called an OLA and headed off to his Office. Traffic was not too bad along the way.
There he suggested I see a skin specialist, but that would not be till around 6.30pm that evening.  No problems, got the appointment booked and then back to the south side of Mumbai. Along the way I called Chetan and told him about my throat situation and if he knew a good skin doctor, was surprised when he was like, yes I do, his family visited him often. He tried to sort out an appointment but unfortunately the office was closed till 5pm, it was now a waiting game.
We stopped over at Siddhivinayak temple. Being a Tuesday, it was super crowded, now it was about making sure kids were all with us, did not want to loose them in the crowds.

 

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Finally had our Darshan, time to take kids back to the hotel, they had been tagging along with us all day and were very tired now. Drive back to Juhu and back was over an hour each way! Lucky OLA fares were not too bad!

Back in Gulistan, we were contemplating leaving for the Juhu specialist (it takes over an hour to get there) or wait for Chetan’s call.
Decided to wait till just after 5pm and decide then. It was about that time when Chetan called and informed us that his specialist could see us in an hour – we had to go to Dadar. Got the address and called our OLA. Whilst waiting for that, ordered McDonalds home delivery for Neha & Pooja, they were fine staying back and honestly I did not want to trouble them running around the place with me.
Finally got to Dr Valia – Chetan did tell me, say you want to see the “old man” cause his son is also a skin specialist and he is also Dr. Valia Surprised smile.
Dr. Valia seemed very knowledgable, he examined me and determined this to be a severe allergic reaction, put me on steroids, vitamins and antacids, however no antibiotics. Also as we were leaving on the 4th for our Rajasthan tour, he game me the address of his friend in Ahmedabad (we would be there in 6 days), and to see him if my throat got worse or did not improve – great news, at least I now had a backup doctor in case things got worse.

Back at the hotel, it was only 7pm and Nita had not eaten, looked up Zomato for a good Italian and found one in Nariman Point – Ristorante Prego. Even though I could not eat, no one else was going to suffer on that point, we were still continuing to enjoy our food safari!
Arriving there, we realised this place had replaced Ruby Tuesday!
Nita and Neha settled for a Pasta dish, I was on a non solid diet- soups it was, picked the Slow Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato soup (I know I have never tried tomato soup before, this will be interesting), Pooja did not order anything other than Garlic bread – she was full from McDonalds.
Food arrived and it was WOW!!! This would have to be the BEST soup I have every tried. It was an explosion of flavour, if only I had asked them to remove the bell peppers – as the spicyness of that was affecting my mouth/throat, nevertheless the amazing taste of this soup had me finishing it all – wow what a soup!! The pastas dishes were also great – I am told Smile.
Highly recommended:Ristorante Prego @ Nariman Point.

Next we decided to head to the Gateway of India – it was just around the corner – well a taxi ride away! 6 years back we visited this place during the day, this was a different feel and much calmer during the evening!

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Day 26 – 3rd January

Last full day in Mumbai today, tomorrow we were flying out to Udaipur. For breakfast, we headed to the Leopold Cafe for the Pomegranate juice. We had only been there for a few minutes when they started closing the doors and asked all to vacate. Turns out Mumbai city was in lockdown due to possible RIOTS being caused by the political parties. Essentially Taxis, Shops, Malls were all being closed till around 5pm Sad smile.
Walked out of the place and were trying to find a Taxi with no luck, then found the Indigo Cafe still open, got in just in time as there were also closing their shutters, however they allowed their customers to stay in and also served them – brilliant this would work for us. They also had free wifi – it would keep Pooja occupied.
The place had great pastries – Pooja ordered the chocolate crossiants and Vanilla milkshake, Neha went for the Eggs Benedict, Nita had her eggs with Toast and they were able to make me a Pomegranate juice – drinking hot coffee/tea was not good for my mouth/throat which was covered with ulcers! – anything cool was perfect! We spoke to Chetan during that time, he informed us of the riots on his side of the town, and recommended we get to our hotel and stay in until atleast 5-6pm.
Finishing our brunch, the staff showed us out via the back door and also helped us find a Taxi – I highly recommend the INDIGO Cafe, great food and the BEST service.

We were stuck in the hotel till around 5 when the city reopened. Took a Taxi to the end of Marine Drive, Pooja was whinging not wanting to go, but once there, we could not keep her off the sea wall!
A must do – watch the Sunset on the Arabian Sea!

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We were on the Marine drive for over an hour, now to head to the Taj and try the famous Chinese restaurant there. Sitting in the lobby, we met Kirit – Dhansukh kaka’s son from Auckland, turns out their entire family were there including Dhansukh kaka.

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Was good catching up, now to head to our dinner. The Golden Dragon unfortunately was fully booked Sad smile, bummer!. Now what! Nita pulled out her listing, she had marked a few eating spots – picked the All Stir Fry @ Gordon House, which was literally a 5 minute walk away. This place looked good, and had an option for all you can eat stir fry or a La-carte. We opted for the menus, and ordered Dim Sims, couple of Stir Fry’s and ofcourse soup for me – Nita was adament with the waiters to ensure my soup was not spicy at all! Food was very good, Pooja especially loved the Caramel Milkshakes !! Something about Milkshakes in India, they are soooo good!!

A good finish to our last night in Mumbai, tomorrow we were off to Udaipur Smile.

 

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Day 23–Mumbai New Years Eve–Evening (31st Dec)

Continued from day part….

The rest of a few hours at the hotel was good, party at St Regis was starting around 9pm.
My throat was no better, still unable to eat anything, everytime I swallowed anything, it felt like blades ripping my throat. I had already contacted Doc (Bhavik Damodar) in Brisbane, asking if I could have alcohol, he was like, it is NYE, have a couple! Well atleast I can numb my throat with drinks!! Me and Jayesh had purchased the all you can drink option, so had to make the most of it.

My girls were all dressed in the amazing gowns – all looked stunning!

We decided to be there by 8pm to get our passes and make the most of the night. Ordered our 2 OLA’s, being NYE, it was taking some time, finally our cab arrived and we were off. Jayesh’s cab was 5 mins away.

Got there just before 8pm, St.Regis had a red carpet welcome for arriving guests, first to get the passes, collected the 8 passes for all. Could not go up to lobby level (8th floor) with Jayesh’s passes, so we were hanging around on the ground floor – time for some pics there!

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my three beautiful ladies Red heart

 

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Around 15 mins had passed still no sign of Jayesh/Priya! Calling them, they informed me they were 5 minutes away and had a big story to tell. The girls decided to head to the Lobby and wait there, I remained on the ground floor awaiting the others. Jaynesh arrived by this time, was good to see him, Seema and the kids. Jayesh & family followed soon after. (Apparently the reason he got late was the OLA driver was not willing to drop them @ St Regis and was dropping them across on the other side, Jayesh stood his ground and in the end even a Police came by to tell the OLA driver to drop them at the right place!! Wow, definitely a NYE experience!)

All headed to the lobby for more pics!

 

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Time to head up to our dinner venue – Seven Kitchens. Up the stairs, and then it was a photo area – again!! This time with a pro photographer and champagne! More pics and then to our dinner venue.

This place was big and nicely decorated! and the biggest highlight – the food, an endless variety of it – I only have a few pics, Neha’s vlog (at the end of this post) far better illustrates the variety of food on offer here! Even though I could not eat, I was soo glad at what I saw, both Jayesh and Jaynesh had trusted me with the venue and I was hoping it would live up to atleast what we experienced in Taj 6 years back – so far it had surpassed it Smile.

 

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We were seated in a nook, with two tables of 6, one for adults and the kids were on the other. To our surprise, we had 2 dedicated staff to our group, to ensure we were always looked after for everything from drinks to food !!
The table was also spread with a lot of goodies to make the nite more fun, kids were loving the sunnies, hats and masks!

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Walking around the food stations, I was in awe, the range was endless and soo many good things, tried a couple that I thought were soft, but to no luck Sad smile, in the end settled for the Lamb broth/soup, had a couple of bowls of that and downed it with a lot of Johnnie Black!

Food otherwise I am told was super, and the dedicated persons who were looking after our table where even getting food for us, all we had to do was ask if we could get more of this & that and they were bringing it, just amazing service.

One of their senior chefs, her name also NEHA!! made a special dessert just for our kids table! We now had three Neha’s thereDisappointed smile.

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Three Neha’s!!

As the night progressed and drinks were downed we all got a bit rowdy and soon it was on the dance floor groving along to the live music.

 

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On the stroke of midnight, the Seven Kitchens managers/personal were ready with numerous bottles of champagnes and did they let it spray!! It was extraordinary to see them spraying it without holding back!! (watch this in Neha’s vlog)

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Party @ Seven Kitchens finished @ 1am, the staff told us the penthouse party was only just starting!! Our wristbands did give us entry to that as well, just no kids. Headed down to the lobby and settled the kids, it was then off to level 34 for the penthouse party!
More of a nightclub atmosphere with the best music, the latest bollywood dhamakas!!

We danced for another hour and more drinks – our all inclusive drinks were to continue – I was not complaining! Disappointed smile

 

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We could have kept going but then it was about an hour and kids were all by themselves, headed down to the lobby, surprise surprise – kids were like, why did you come back so early!! Well it was way past 2am and we were having sore feet. Before heading back it was time to get a group pic on the grand stair way.

 

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Time to call it a night, headed down to the ground level and the ground staff were handing out ice creams!! Yay more fun food!

Farewelled Jaynesh and Jayesh – my OLA was arriving last. Whilst waiting for it, Nita noticed a group of youths, all centred around a young man, she recognised him as Saif Ali Khan’s son. Well not to take a direct pic of him, we took a selfie of us with him in the background!

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Saif’s son in the background, a bit too much to drink maybe ???

It had been a brilliant night, what an end to 2017!
My second NYE in Mumbai, both of them very very memorable.

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Neha’s vlog on Day 23 – night fun

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Day 23–Mumbai–New Years Eve (31st Dec)

Last day of 2017!

It was going to be a loooong night, so no rush in waking em up early.
Plan today was for Jayesh, me + family to head to Colaba for Brunch at Leopold Cafe, he had never been there and wanted to see the famous place.
Was just past 10:30 when we got our two OLA cabs, and were on our way to Leopold.

Got to Colaba causeway – a different vibe there, street market stalls were all up with lots of people roaming the streets. First into Leopold, only had to wait a few minutes before our table for 8 was ready.

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Kids ordered Chicken burgers, Nita, Priya & Jayesh ordered sandwiches and I had to settle for soft fried eggs – my ability to eat was not good. Even eggs were proving a challenge to eat – each bite causing a lot of pain in my throat.

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The burgers were not the best Sad smile, too dry, whilst the sandwiches I am told were quite good. Jayesh had ordered the Pomegranate Juice, and was raving about it, he suggested I try that – it was a good suggestion, it cooled my throat, and I could drink it – slowly thought, atleast it was not hurting as much as coffee.

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Fun times at Leopold Cafe!

Now for a walk along the causeway heading towards the Taj. This is highly recommended to all visiting, a walk on the causeway is a must to experience the markets and the crowds. The walk was slow and fun, pausing every so often to view items in the stalls. Somehow we managed to end up in a shoe store, and buying more shoes!

 

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Got to Taj Hotel around 1:30pm, lots of time to kill, what else to do than to chill in the lobby. Did a bit of walk around and wasted more time.

Enough of Taj, time to move on, lets go across the road to see the Gateway of India. Got across the street and were greeted by a huge crowd, hundreds lined up to get into the Gateway of India area – arrrggghhhhh, none of us were interested in being in queues. Gave that a miss, next lets look for a good coffee shop! Looking around, spotted Indigo, looked like a nice place, headed there and were going through the menu when Jayesh said “we were at one of the best places – Taj, and now we are going to drink coffee here ?? we should just had it there”. We all looked at each other – yes, lets do it. So back to Taj and found the Sea Lounge cafe in Taj that did high tea – perfect!

The high tea was good, lots of goodies ordered, I settled for a simple Vanilla milkshake – perfect for my throat and it was about the only thing I could have. The others were going for different types of Teas / Coffees and a lot of dessert varieties.

 

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Overall a good experience and a much needed break!

Time to head back to Gulistan and relax at the hotel ahead of the big night ahead. Instead of getting two OLA’s we decided to try the OLA SUV, it arrived soon after but not our luck, it could only fit in 6.
The girls went in the SUV whilst me and Jayesh took a cab and followed.

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Enroute from Taj to Gulistan.

Back at the hotel, time to relax for the night – to be continued…..

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Neha’s Day 23 vLog – Day part

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