so we did a mad flying visit to Mumbai for my birthday – in fact most people fly into the city for a night and then fly off to the beautiful beaches, so in fact 3 and half days in Mumbai is relatively a long time! i had never been to India, so i was quite prepared for the noise, pollution, traffic, hectic lifestyle – it was all that, but the excitement and colour and life made up for the negatives. we stayed at the renowned Taj Palace hotel – amazing service and just what you need to return back to – peace, cleanliness and tranquility. it is expensive – but no more than say Babbington House or a hotel in the Cotswolds, and you get so much more. we took a club room which was in the main building rather than the tower, (the new addition to the hotel which is actually more affordable), but this meant that you had free refreshments all day, afternoon tea, pre dinner cocktails, and after dinner cognac for no extra charge and in fact this club room was one of the most stylish and tranquil to sit in the hotel. the hotel is situated by the famous gateway and waters edge right in the old part of the city, so is perfect for getting around; the traffic is so bad it can take you an hour to get from one end of town to the other, so its worth bearing this in mind. its impossible to walk long distances, even crossing the road makes you fear for your life! i make it sound terrible, but if you just accept that its busy, use the opportunity to soak in the eclecticism of the city, the colour, the mix of traditional and modern, the festivities, the laughter, the sadness – its all there for you to experience. i cried, i laughed, i feared, i enjoyed – it gets every emotion; i dont think that there is anywhere else in the world that has affected me so profoundly in such a small space of time and in a few streets. i shall write posts about what to do, eat and shop in the next few days.