We woke up at 8.30 but being in a hostel means a lot more of a sociable breakfast, so it took us a while to get to a point in the conversation with Christian from Austria doing a similar route to us where we could excuse ourselves to get ready. The hostel owner wasn't around when we wanted to check out which further delayed us.
We got a tuk-tuk to the Hyatt Regency- the posh hotel that Jane had booked for us as Alice's Xmas pressie. We needed a credit card so they could charge any of our room charges to it, but I couldn't find mine (despite it being in its normal location) so I made us look even more like we shouldn't be there by emptying the contents of my rucksack in reception to see if it was there.
The room is definitely the nicest I've stayed in, and we're definitely going to take full use of the complimentary toiletries! The maps of Mumbai were also great for finding things!
We got a train to the centre, and two women who looked really like men dressed as women started talking to us. We got to C.S.T train station, which is a landmark, although I didn't recognise it ( I thought it might have been the station the boy waits for the girl in Slum dog Millionaire). It's a very impressive building though.
Then we went to the nearby post office, which was actually a bit of an experience itself as it was quite old fashioned and reminded us of Gringotts bank in Harry Potter. It took a while to find the Poste Restante and when we did, the woman said they didn't have my contact lens parcel, although I'm not convinced as she didn't seem to check or anything.
There was a Mahesh Lunch Home in the centre, so we went there for lunch. It's a seafood speciality restaurant so we both had prawn gassi which was quite spicy but the sauce with loads of lime juice was delicious!
Since we're not sure how we could volunteer anyway for Christmas, we decided the next best thing would be to do a slum tour, but wanted to do it with the recommended one so we knew it would be ethical. However it wasn't mentioned in the Lonely Planet how to find it, so Mahesh Lunch Home staff gave us the phone number from the internet, but it was an automated message that I couldn't hear, so we booked one from the company that the hostel book them through.
We then treated ourselves to a nice coffee (I think staying in the hotel has got us in the mood to splurge). I had one with ice cream and chocolate sauce and Alice had a mocha.
There were security staff at India Gate, but it would have been good if they were also inside as some boy wouldn't take no for an answer when he wanted a photo of Alice, and was getting in her personal space and touching her arms. Even when we rose our voices wouldn't leave us alone.
The Jahangir Art gallery is a commercial one (and so free), and they had cool sculptures. We also like one artist's pictures of birds, dancers and horses. We had a conversation about the Mona Lisa with some, and now I know that Leonardo Da Vinci was gay ("not a perfect man"), and he was putting his features onto a woman, and it was the first time a picture actually resembled the person it's supposed to be of, it's a bit more interesting!
We went to Calaba market, and had a look for an internet café so I could Skype home. A tourist information centre said I could use theirs for free for 30 minutes, but there was only one computer so we asked the neighbouring internet café if they had webcams and they said they did. A woman on the way out told us about Christmas mass at 9.30, but when we asked if there was a bus to the train station, and Englishman just told us to get a taxi. He had lost his passport, and wallet, and because he had no ID, couldn't get his western union transfer money his mum had sent him. I wish I'd followed my gut instinct telling me not to, but we went for a quick drink with him. In this brief conversation he told us he was an alcoholic, and had lost his wife, who he idolised, because of it. Alice said he could get his mum to wire her money so she could give it to him, but when we got out the bar, some Indian children started hugging, and he said he was going to buy them a present later, but they wouldn't leave him alone so he got really angry and got really close to the boy's face and told him to f*** off! What shocked us is that a nearby Indian man was apologising to the English man about the children! By this time, it was too late for the banks to be open on Christmas Eve, so he was asking for a tenner to tide him over, as he apparently only had 37 rupees. Alice gave him R2 100 but he said he was going to buy a drink with it so he could meet people to give him money!
The internet café didn't actually have webcams so had to find another one, which was quite expensive. By the time we got out it was quite late so got a cab to the station. We were asking how to get to Andheri and a voice behind us asked if we were getting a cab there- it was the alcoholic but he seemed like he was so wasted he didn't even recognise us! I was scared he might have followed us.
Platform 2 said the next train was to Andheri, but when we got on it, a man told us we wanted 1- they had switched the signs round- adding to the suspicion that Indian public transport is just out to confuse you.
The hotel had some cookies in a bowl which were complimentary and lead us to their Xmas eve buffet puddings. We were looking interested and impressed with them and it paid off as they let us have a free mince pie. It all looked so yummy I'm tempted to splash out tomorrow and get it!