April 15, 1978, Sat.: (continued) I went into the high and empty looking Air India building and discussed my schedule in some detail. Because of the lack of central booking facilities I would have to do each segment separately, I was told, but it would only take a few days...I believe I got booked for Dabolin. After leaving Air India, I walked a while along a kind of mini-amusement park where old men ran holding fiercely running ponies with anxious kids on top. I had another pressed sugar cane drink, together with some nuts that were heated up by putting a small metal heating dish on top; the same was done to the banknotes I received for change - very considerate! I was impressed with the friendliness of the people and their colorful saris, and noted the fact that the main form of beach pollution consisted of wreathes and flowers!
At a majestic hotel with a marketplace underneath I was accosted by a man who accompanied me to the YWCA which, however, was full so that he got us a taxi and took me to the Windsor Hotel, next to the Ambassador and on top of Kuwait Airlines where I got a cheap R 32 room with 2 beds, an old table, some chairs and a closet and fan plus common very clean bathroom. The man introduced himself as Nayik and said he was an exporter but offered to take me on a "package tour" of Bombay to last from then (09:30) till 14:00 which would cost me a mere R 200. We set out visiting an official tea tasting center where we tasted two different types of tea including Darjeeling, which tasted rather weak. He next took me by train to Flora's Fountain, making certain to avoid the conductors. He showed me some ladies around there who would share their favors for about R 60 + R 15 for the room, and also suggested a working girl who would be free that evening but more expensive. When I declined, we kept on alternately taking trains and walking for several hours, with frequent stops at specific sites for his favorite yoghurt, curry, nuts or whatever. We walked past streets where dozens of people were still asleep on the ground, mainly small boys. At night there would be hundreds, he told me. We talked with charming banana vendors. I saw several rats who looked better fed than most little boys. There were no mosquitoes and flies were restricted to garbage piles or pressed sugar cane piles.
We walked past the Sheraton and joined the crowds of people along the boulevard. I was astonished to see hundreds of shacks housing construction workers right along the skyscrapers they were erecting using flimsy bamboo scaffolds -entire temporary villages, mainly of men only, which included restaurants where a meal of rice only cost one rupee. I sat down on a bench to enjoy a coconut and the view across the Bay, then ventured - in shorts- to enter the posh hotel and enjoy its many cool lounges and shops. Here I was accosted by a Ms Bunker who showed me a passport as proof that she was born in PA and asked me to cash a $ 11 check for her. She had been here ion India for a year and highly recommended the beaches of Goa. By way of compliment she told me she considered people in shorts to be her friends. I thought back of the nice people I met once in St Pierre who took my check so I could buy an air-ticket and apparently never cashed it, so now it was my turn to reciprocate.
Back on the beach I was pursued by urchins imitating the gesture of shining shoes. No luck with me. Another kid follwed me all the way to the bus with a string of jasmin flowers. When I sat down, he threw it on the bench next to me - I handed it back stating that I had no change. He generouslyt allowed me to keep it, and perhaps pay him the next day. Just before the bus left, I gave him my last banknote of R 5, which was not bad considering that a teacher's monthly salary here is about R 400. The bus raced me back through busy traffic to the Centaur Hotel where I checked out, left my bags at the porter while dining on a marvelous mulligatawnee stew with steak and milk in the coffeeshop, after which I took a taxi tot the Ambassador Hotel and climbed the stairs to my more modest Windsor Hotel at 0:30. After some problems with the check in clerk, I took a brief walk and verified the fact that hundreds of people sleep peacefully on the roads and stairways and buy a bucket of water to wash themselves right there. I figured that I was a real capitalist having spent all of R 300 that day.

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