Monday, June 11, 2012

You Don't See That Everyday...

I wish the goat was wearing a helmet,
that would have been even more funny!
The Moped, perfect for life in Mumbai; friendly on the pocket, economical, can whiz easily in and out of heavy traffic and are perfect for ferrying around men, women, children and... goats. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Old Macdonald had an airport?

If you thought that tractors were reserved for farms, fields and getting stuck behind on country roads you are sadly mistaken, for in India they are a very important part of airport logistics. Tractors have been purchased at all Indian airports to transport luggage carts from airport to aeroplane. I mean I can see why they must be so helpful, the large wheels designed to manoeuvre easily over muddy pastures must be so useful on flat, perfectly even TARMAC!  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Big Fat Indian Wedding

Your guide to a Big Fat Indian Wedding coming soon...

I’ve Got to Give Them Their Dues…

In total there are probably around 50 cows gracing
the middle of the road- marvellous
Mumbai is currently building a new monorail system which, once completed, will be the second longest monorail corridor in the whole entire world! Impressive I know. However in Parel, work on this long awaited monorail has ground to a halt which has left a derelict structure and a bit of a mess; but not to worry the clever people of Sewri have put it to good use as a Cattle Shed! Resourceful little buggers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


When I first arrived in India I would always have a little giggle at the sign which is painted on the back of most large vehicles, it reads ‘Horn OK Please’.  ‘Awwwww, they have got their English all messed up, ‘Horn OK Please’? it doesn’t mean anything, bless them’ I used to think. But before long you realize that it isn't 'bless them' at all and that ‘Horn OK Please’ roughly translates to:

‘Dear the poor sod that is stuck behind me

I am probably driving like an absolute retard risking not only my life but your life also, so please feel free to abuse me with the sound of your car horn until I move out of the middle of the road or stop whatever the retarded thing is that I am doing.

The Driver’

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Glad to be Back? Well I was........

Me boating on the River Severn, UK
Look at that relaxed face
I am back from a 5 week holiday in the UK and was feeling happy, refreshed and ready to take on the daily pressures of India once again...Well, that was until I asked Sunita our maid who speaks fluent English, to go out and get us some toothpaste, you know standard, everyday toothpaste that you use to clean your teeth and prevent cavities? Nothing complicated about that, or so I thought.....
‘What type of Toothpaste would you like Maam?’ Sunita asked
‘Just standard, everyday toothpaste please, Colgate original mint in the red box is fine.’ I replied 
10 minutes later she was back, ‘Here you go Maam’ she said and handed me a red box.
‘Errrrrrrm, Sunita, sorry, this is herb flavor, I asked for mint?
‘ Sorry Maam I could not find, this is ok.’ She replied.
‘Well, (nervous laugh) actually Sunita this is not ok, I just want original mint, we don’t like this flavor can you go and change it please.’ I replied.
‘Ok maam’ she replied and left for the slum.
15 minutes later she was back ‘Here you go Maam’ and handed me another red box.
I looked at it, ‘Sunita, this is spicy flavor Colgate??’ I replied, shocked that she had got it wrong again.
‘Yes maam, very good for teeth’ she replied confidently.
‘But I just told you I only wanted mint flavour, standard, original, mint flavor? Can you swap this, any brand is ok as long as it is mint.’
‘Ok Maam!’ she replied and left the apartment in a huff.
20 minutes later Sunita returned ‘Maam I have this' and handed me yet another red box.
‘Sunita!!!! Are you serious???? This is Lemon flavor not mint??????’ I yelled, reaching the end of my tether.
‘Maam’ Sunita replied ‘India is very different to UK, we do not have mint toothpaste’
Taken a back at the bare faced lie I replied sternly, ‘You and I both know that is a big, fat lie Sunita, I have lived here for 12 months and have had many a packet of original mint Colgate!’
‘Maam! I do not lie’ Sunita snapped back, clearly very upset that I accused her of lying and walked away.
 Flabbergasted at what at just happened and how upset I was over a tube of toothpaste I sat down and poured myself a large glass of whisky (and by whisky I mean water) to calm my nerves.
Sunita went out, 10 minutes later she returned and put something on the dining room table and left for the day. As soon as the door closed I got up and went closer… it was yet another toothpaste box, I picked it up, it was…MINT Toothpaste and not just any mint toothpaste Colgate Whitening, I was elated and I felt a sense of victory. 'They don’t sell mint toothpaste in India!' Pah!
No words have been exchanged between myself and Sunita since and there won't be... until I ask her to go out and get me a light bulb tomorrow... should be interesting!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Saree Doesn't Rhyme With Anything! Fact!

When it comes to shopping for local merchandise in Mumbai I've come to find that the crappier the shopping centre looks from the outside the more likely you are to find a gem on the inside; which is why for my Saree shopping adventure I chose the almost derelict Maker Arcade which has served me well in the past as it is home to Mr Patel's Wine Shop and the chemist that cured my piles.  As I approached the arcade, as always the stares were intense especially from the men at the stationary shop, stand shed which always seems to be rammed with people buying HB pencils, who knew stationary would be so popular in Mumbai?  Theo Paphitis would make a fortune! But I digress. 
I made my way down the isles searching for a shop to purchase my first Indian outfit from and before long I see one. I walked in feeling nervously excited to find 10 men crammed into a area as big as tuk, tuk eating their lunch, 'Errrrrm hello' I said slowly yet clearly, 'Can I take a look at your Sarees please?' 'Eating later, later' One of the men said whilst spitting chapatti into my hair. To be honest I half expected them to see my white face and Louis Vuitton handbag, jump to their feet, discard their food and start wrapping me up with an array of different sarees if I liked it all not, but that wasn't the case so I carried on.  After being distracted by the stall that sold used flip flops I found another Saree shop and entered. It was quite lovely; floor to ceiling shelves full of sarees and a long desk for, well i'm not sure what it was for actually but it looked nice. As normal the shop was far too small for its 1000 staff but I didn't mind, in fact it was amusing to watch them shuffle every time I walked too close. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Brown Girl In The Ring Tralalalala

I don't look particularly tanned on this picture
 but I think my husband looks fit.
The look on the shop assistants face when I asked for something to make my skin look darker will haunt me for the rest of my life! The word ‘fake-tan’ was getting me no where, so I used the words ‘brown’ and ‘darker’ whilst rubbing my arm to imitate the rubbing in of fake-tan lotion but still nothing. Eventually I said ‘I have white skin, I want darker skin’ and pointed at her skin. ‘You want your skin browner?’ She questioned as if Id just asked for 10 kg’s of crack. Bingo! But I knew I was asking in vain.  The fact is my must have item and the majority of girls in the UK’s must have item is not avaliable in Asia as they are obsessed with being fairer. Despite the endless warnings adverts featuring Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif on the subject, when I first arrived in India I bought myself a ‘light moisturiser’ thinking it was a ‘light weight‘ moisturizer, perfect for the humidity I thought. I used it for a whole month so when I found out that this crème was actually lightening my skin I cried! I live in a hot country, it is my duty to my friends back at home to be tanned and this had put me back a whole month in the tanning process! You see in England the Sun doesn’t come out very often and when it does happen to peep out behind a big fat raincloud that’s it, the flip flops are on, the T shirts are off and the bbq is fired up, in India however everyones favorite time of year is the monsoon and I haven’t seen one other person sunbathing at our pool, it just doesn't seem fair. But don't worry fellow Britons, I appreciate the weather I have here in India and am working hard to achieve a natural tan for my forthcoming trip to the UK. I will make you proud!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Your Job Is Safe Banksy!

I know its for a good reason
but I'm glad I don't live next door!
To the untrained, not lived in India before eye this photo may look like a terribly graffitied apartment in style of a council estate in the UK, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The owner of this home actually drew red swatiskas all over the top quality marble that adorns the front of his house of his own accord. Now that I am more accustomed to Indian culture I know that my new neighbours are not Neo- Nazis and that the swastikas were placed as part of a traditional Hindu house blessing which is conducted by a priest before the owners move in. The ceremonies vary from place to place but apparently in some parts of the country the blessing comprises of chanting and the escorting of a cow through all of the rooms, although, I don’t think that happened here as a cow would never fit in the lift and if it did happen I’m gutted I missed it!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Woe Is Me!

Who am I gona pout and wear short skirts with??
I'll miss you babe x
No girl likes their ‘time of the month’ but having your ‘time of the month’ in India really takes the biscuit! First of all getting hold of tampons is as difficult as getting hold of magic beans and everything that kind of pissed you off last week really pisses you off this week; such as the leaking tile (yes tile) in the bathroom, the beggar near Good Earth in Colaba who insists on rubbing his arm stump up and down the window leaving greasy stump marks, the randy pigeons at the pool, (maybe I’m just jealous because they can enjoy the refreshing water and I can't because I can't get hold of any magic beans!), the slum parties that start at 10.00pm sharp just in time for bedtime, Ramesh’s peach shirt, the list is endless. But just to put the icing on the big fat cake (that I just ate because i'm bingeing) my best friend in India, Celine has just left to go back to Singapore!! Waahhhhhh, I need a cuddle.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I’m So Over This Crap (with a bit extra added since yesterday)

I have no photos of the party, so heres me drinking
champagne in Singapore
So it was the evening of our long awaited roof top, house warming party. The booze had been delivered, the music had been set up and the guests were starting to arrive. Within minus one second of pressing the play button security arrived saying we could not have a party (surprise, sur-bloody-prise) but we’re professionals at this game now, so 500 rupees and two bottles of Kingfisher later, problem averted and we started to party the night away. Feeling extremely smug that we had conquered this India malarkey Paul and I gave each other a secret high five, cranked up the base and started the shots (shots, shots, shots). It was the party of all parties; amazing view, great music and more alcohol than you could shake a stick at, things were going perfectly until 12.30pm….

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And The Award For The Most Appropriately Named Road In India Goes To....

And just whilst we are on the subject, did you know if you ask for a Poppadom in India they do not have a scooby do what you are on about? Its true.

A Bit Morbid For A Thursday Afternoon, Granted

If you are not more careful you are going to be
a statistic!
Either Ramesh is conceited or there are a lot of deaths on the roads in India because every time I get into the car he is dying (no pun intended) to tell me about the latest car accident he’s seen and how many people died in it. Sometimes if I am lucky (or not lucky as the case may seem) he will drive me past the scene of the crime and tell me the whole story, including all the gory details, all over again!  To be honest it is really disturbing, but the way the locals dawdle when they are crossing the road I can’t say I’m surprised, its like they have a death wish! According to The Times Of India, there are approximately 13 road deaths per hour in India which I think is appalling so I am taking this moment to send a message to the people of Mumbai:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

For Simon Purohit

I didn't take this photo, but could have if I had one of
those posh Nikon cameras, instead of a camera you
can drop as many times as you like and it doesnt break.
From the balcony of our new apartment, as well as one of the largest slums in India you can also see roads, taxis, the odd man pissing in the street, the sea and Flamingos!! You know, the pink birds that stand on one leg, that you have probably only ever seen in a Zoo? David Attenborough once told me (and the rest of the world as it was on Wildlife on One) that every year at around this time a flock of Flamingos stop at Sewri Bay Mud Planes, Mumbai whilst migrating South and those mud planes are clearly visible from Sophie’s new place (he didn’t really say the last bit, but it would have been brilliant if he had!!) It also turns out that this area is actually a bird watchers wet dream as it attracts a variety of migrating birds throughout the year. I don’t know about you but I’m off to buy myself some binoculars and a Barbour jacket!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bang Bang!

As our building is brand new a few of the apartments still have work going on which can be quite annoying when you are trying to get to sleep. Last night the banging was so loud from up stairs that Paul went up to see what the commotion was (I know, risky strategy) the door was open so he walked in (again risky) and found five men busy nailing…things together (phew!). After spending 8 minutes explaining that it wasn’t appropriate for them to be putting a kitchen in at 1.00am in the morning, the man in charge replied ‘Sir after 12.00am you will have no banging from us’ ‘It is already 1.00am’ Paul replied ‘Sir, you will hear no banging from us after 12.00am tomorrow evening’ he replied.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lar De Dar

An Art Gallery or my living room???
Every February Mumbai plays host to the Kala-Ghoda Festival where various artists perform or display their works; it also attracts a lot of people selling art. On this particular weekend Paul and I were feeling extremely grown up so decided we would go art shopping because we thought it would be hilarious  for investment purposes. Armed with our berets and a pocket full of cash we took on the crowds and actually bought three original prints from a local artist and a painting from a guy who was from Bangalore. After having them put onto canvas they have just been delivered and I must admit they look top banana (that’s a technical term) and the best thing is, as we currently only have a few things in our apartment they actually make our living room look like an art gallery, so that’s fun. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Read Into This Advertisement What You Will...

Guys! Stop looking at her lips!

Simple Q&A

Question: Is it inappropriate to ask the Indian male pool attendant to put suntan lotion on your back?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Did I do it anyway?
Answer: Yes.
Well no one likes sunburn!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Forget Sheila Ki Jawani. There’s a New Sheila In Town!

I'm sure she's  a lovely person
Lets be childish for a sec… I don’t know about you but when I was at school (and to be fair, still now) I would find it hilarious when someones name sounded rude, so you can imagine the howls of laughter that exited my mouth when I noticed the article to the left about Sheila Dikshit, just to confirm- DIKSHIT, pronounced DICK-SHIT. He he he, so immature.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Out With The Old In With The New!

A little bit of heaven
So the rabbit hutch is gone and we now live in a four bathroom, three bedroom, massive living room with balcony, maids quarters, roof top pool and gym, and 360 degree views of slum (you can’t have everything) apartment in Sewri.
Sewri – which is pronounced nothing at all like it’s spelt - is situated in what I like to call ‘real India’, (you may wish to call it ‘a shit hole’ but that will be your own interpretation) but I actually already prefer living here more than Marine Drive and Colaba as its more, errrm, it has more, errrm character. Yes character! Sewri has so much character I think every time I step foot outside on my own home I’ll have a blog post to share… So bring it on!!

Getting the Internet installed in India is worse than having a root canal!

Actually I'm not ready to talk about this right now but what I will say is that I am now back on line and no body was murdered in the process (although there were moments!!!).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just a General Tip – Don’t Move House With a Hangover. It Sucks.

Our 'Apartment'

Moving house is never a straight- forward task where ever you are in the world so I held out little hope that in India it would be any different; so in preparation for the weekend’s operation I cleared my mind of any expectations, standards and desires and conditioned my mind to believe that the move would be a complete and utter disaster, and India you did not disappoint.
The good point first, for the equivalent of thirty pounds we hired a van and an army of men to do the manual labour, which freed us up to nurse our hangovers and randomly shout directions from the comfort of the sofa.  At one stage I tried to count how many people we had hired but I kept on losing track, a bit like when you were little and you used to try and count the number of tad poles you had in your jar once they had hatched, but its impossible because they are swimming around so fast. In the end I reckon there was about one thousand (helpers not tad poles).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Whatever I was trying to do Paul was obvs
not impressed with!
Newsflash Number 1: Mumbai has ‘Fashion Week!’
Newsflash Number 2: On Friday night we got to go to one of the opening shows!
After drinks in the VIP room we were seated on the second row (not quite Alexa Chung seats but much better than what Kerry Katona would have got) and enjoyed the James Ferreira show. We then went to Esko Bar where we all got terribly drunk and I can’t remember much else! How very fabulous of us! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Indian TV Gold

Now I now where Paul got is inspiration from!
Whilst flicking through the television channels trying to find an appropriate Indian themed programme to take a photo of to accompany my previous postI stumbled accross a film called ‘Sampurna Ramayan’. As the film features a monkey (who has eyebrows similar to my husbands) I'm guessing it was a remake of the Jungle Book or a film about the Indian Monkey God (probably the latter).
Let me share some images (and commentary) with you:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's like you’re watching adverts with programme breaks

This was actually on TV!
 Check out my next post for details!
What I love about Indian television is what everybody else hates about it… the adverts! I relish the fact that you can hop in the shower, do your make up, go out for a three course meal or complete the London marathon in the same time it takes for a commercial break to finish. Granted you forget entirely the plot of what you are watching and a movie takes 3 hours to watch instead of the usual 1.5 but frankly I feel it’s a small price to pay.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Me Julie

Looks like Julie is more concerned
about catching something from Ramesh!
I walked outside the other day to find Ramesh patting a stray dog,  ‘Eww Ramesh! Don’t touch that dog, its probably got dog aids’ I said in disgust. ‘No, maaam, Julie good.’ Slightly confused that Ramesh had just said the extremely English name Julie in the same conversation about a dog with aids, I replied ‘No Ramesh the dog, the dog is not clean,’ ‘Julie is very clean’ he grunted, obviously offended that I would think for even a minute that a dog who lives on the dirty streets of Mumbai would be unclean. ‘So the dog is called Julie?’ I tried to confirm, ‘Yes maaam, Julie’ he replied encouraging the other people who hang around outside our house to back him up, who then all started wobbling their heads whilst saying the word ‘Julie’. There was now absolutely no doubt whatsoever in my mind that this dog was named Julie. But why Julie? I thought, so I asked ‘Why Julie Ramesh?’ ‘Sorry maam’ (this means he doesn’t understand me) so I took it to the floor ‘Why is the dog called Julie?’ ‘Anyone?’ blank faces all round. Maybe they didn’t understand my accent, so I continued…‘Why… is… the… dog… called….’ ‘Fuck it, I got in the car and got on with my life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

With a Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That....

'Ding, ding' Round two!!
We all know that Crows and Pigeons are an annoying reality of city life, but most of us will not let them bother us and we get on with our everyday lives as normal- not Paul!
Whilst watching Sex In The City from the comfort of my giant size bed, I had noticed that Paul had been an exceedingly long time in the bathroom . When he finally did surface he had a very suspicious look on his face; knowing he had been up to something untoward (and not the two things you guys are thinking of) I decided that I was more interested in what shoes Carrie had on than interrogating him about his twenty minutes in the bathroom, so gave him the obligatory ‘I know you have been up to something' look and continued with my viewing. Five minutes later there was a knock at the door. ‘You get it Soph’ Paul said ‘It’s 10.30 at night, you get it’ I replied, ‘Go on you are closer!’ In a huff I got up and went to the door and took a sneaky peek through the peephole. It was the Police and worse still they had moustaches!! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Week 3 Mumbaikins Diet

Previous Weight: 8 stone/ 52kg/ 52 bags of sugar
Current Weight: 7.9 stone/ 50kg/ the approximate weight of an elephants leg
Weight loss: 0.1 stone/ 2kg
Shots of tap water: I now have ice cubes in my drink
Comments: 0.1 stone/ 2kgs may not sound a lot, but if I was on the 'Biggest Loser' they would be very pleased with that result and I would probably cry and make some sort of heartfelt speech.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Words ‘Daylight’ and ‘Robbery’ Spring To Mind

After yet another day spent lying in bed, crying into my pillow (because I had been watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition, no other reason) Paul arrived home with food shopping bags; not very exciting I know but that was until he started to reveal what was inside these shopping bags. With a very excited look on his face he started to pull out an array of western food produce which would normally grace the shelves of Sainsburys! ‘Where, how??’ I spluttered in absolute astonishment, it was as if he had bought back gold bullion or some sort of valuable Roman artifact, with my mouth wide open in awe, I touched the items gently, being careful not to damage them and started to place the treasure items neatly in the kitchen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Not Just Windy in Chicago!

Look at that horrified face!!
There’s never good time for the wind to blow your dress up, revealing the majority of your derriere and underwear; but when you are in Mumbai, wearing a shorter than India appropriate dress, walking down the people clad streets of Marine Drive at rush hour has got to be the worst!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don’t Read This Post, its Really Crap

We all now know that our apartment doesn’t have a kitchen sink, so today I thought I would concentrate on what our apartment does have to offer:  
1.     A shiny floor- Mayn, you can see your face in that thing!! 
 2.     Three bottle openers – Because one is never enough.
     3.     A posh brass lock- That thing belongs in a castle!

      4.     A mug stain in the bath- I don’t know  where it came from but at least it gives me a laugh every time I’m in the shower!


Happy Valentines Day!!

Theres a few dead ones in there, but its the
thought that counts
This morning I had a beautiful Rose and Lilly Valentines bouquet delivered to my front door, and what did the message card read? ‘I Love You’? ‘Will You Be My Valentine’?? ‘Happy Valentines Day’??? No. A hand scribbled ‘GET WELL SOON’.
Only in India! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

This is Not a Rant...

Let me drop a hard, cold fact on you…. Mumbai is not a cheap place to live for an expat, in fact its bloody expensive. So if you think (like I thought) ‘Oh yes, I can live in place like Mumbai because at least it’s cheap and I can save shed loads of money’ You are sadly mistaken and I advise you take the following into consideration before taking le plunge:

Numero Uno (Yeah I know, Spanish!) : The tax rate is a standard 30% and for that 30% contribution to the government you get jack.

2. House/ apartment rental prices are the 12th highest in the whole entire world (average rent per month $3562) but don’t take my word for it – look at the fancy pants graph I’ve provided to the left (full version below)

3. Alcohol in Maharashtra state (where Mumbai is) is taxed at 100% with a bit more added on for good measure, which means a decent bottle of wine will set you back around 70 quid and champagne around 100 quid. (Bare in mind the same bottle of decent wine will cost you a tenner in Tesco) Local Sula Wine is slightly cheaper at around 40 quid but tastes like piss.

4. Household items i.e Cushions, sofas, throws, TV stands, rugs, decorative mirrors, side boards, beds, spring mattresses are Laura Ashley prices (and granted Laura Ashley quality) but still expensive and there’s no Ikea. NO IKEA!

But despite all this it is fantastic life experience and that’s the main thing. 

For the full version of 'The Worlds Most Expensive Cities' visit: 

The Day We Hijacked a Bus (In Pictures)

These photos do not do this hillairballs event justice! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

If you are eating do not read this post, if you are not eating, read away, you might learn something…

I wonder who would win in a fight, the hose or the toilet
paper? Hmmmm
We’ve all been in the situation when we are home alone, nature calls and DOH! There’s no toilet paper left. We frantically scan the room looking for alternative methods but we all know the cotton wool won’t do the trick and we won’t be able to look our partner/ parents/ ourselves (whoever we live with) in the eye again if we use a towel, so as a last resort we might jump into shower and let the warm water wash the nightmare away.
Now Indian’s wouldn’t be faced with such a dilemma because the majority uses our last resort as their standard toilet practice. Correct, they wipe their backside after going number one or two, using water and their left hand; this is why in most Indian bathrooms you’ll find a little hose where the Andrex should be. And before you shout ‘GROOOOSSSSS’ and throw up a little in your mouth, they do wash their hands after and it’s a cultural thing, as they believe this way is more hygienic than using toilet paper alone. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Know Where I’ll Be Going For My Next Weigh In…

I don't know why he looks so
 miserable. Its a fantastic idea!

In the UK if we need to find out our weight we either; step onto the set of scales stored in the bathroom or for a more accurate reading we’ll pop to Boots or Superdrug and use one of those fancy shmancy machines that also measures your height and BMI, and its pretty similar in Mumbai too except you don’t have to go into a shop, ohhh no, you can do it in the street! Yes, the man in the picture to the left sits on the side of the road on a daily basis charging 5-10 rupees (depending on the colour of your skin and probably how heavy you are) for people to weigh themselves on his industrial size weighing scales! Not only genius but highly convenient I think you will agree!