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Trip Report Galactus visits Mumbai

A short but packed Mumbai weekend was on the cards for a long time and the opportunity presented itself last week. The biggest question I had to ask myself was where was I going to stay. From an initial list of 9, I managed to narrow it down to two - Trident Nariman Point and the Vivanta Taj President. In the end, the Trident won because of its sea-view rooms.

The Trident has a magnificent location, right on the end of Marine drive near Colaba. This makes visiting the touristy places easy since everything is so nearby. The lobby is grand, a tad too small for the number of people hanging around. The reason for this I came to know later, as a good surprise. The check-in was efficient, it is a Oberoi hotel after all. The room was of a decent size and clean, but the highlight was the awesome view of the sea. It faces the west so you can enjoy the sunset from your room itself if you so wish.

The first meal I had was at Brittania, a Parsi-style cafe from the 1920s. The staff was courteous, but the highlight has to be the food which even trumps the atmosphere of the cafe. They serve something called the Berry Pulao, which has got to be hands down the most interesting (read great mix of flavors) rice dish I've come across. Plus its not too expensive and the area is relatively less crowded on a weekend.

The next stop was the Prince of Wales Museum, a great cornucopia of Raj-Era items and exotic Oriental pieces. They could do with better ventilation, but the collection itself is impressive. There is even stuff from the paleolithic and neolithic era's. From there I went to the Taraporewala Aquarium, the less said the better. It is not maintained and I was out in less than 2 minutes. Getting back to the hotel we realized that it was playing host to the local cricketing team - the Mumbai Indians. The lobby was again full of people wishing to catch a glimpse of their heroes. Luckily enough, between the two of us we managed to catch and get an autograph from Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Jonty Rhodes.

For the dinner, I again chose to go out. I prefer not to eat at the hotel restaurants unless its something very special. After wandering around a bit, I reached Gaylords. It has a whole 60s style theme going and not deliberately. The service was cold, but the maincourse - a Butter Chicken dish was out of this world. It is the only thing on the menu I can recommend but it more than made up for the dismal prawn starter. I also managed to squeeze in a short horse-buggy ride on the Marine drive at midnight which is an entertaining experience for two reasons. The queen's necklace (that's what the drive is called) looks great at night, and the glaring horns of the people stuck behind your slow moving monarch styled chariot.

I woke up exhausted from the day before, so chose breakfast at the Trident itself. The hot course breakfast is available at Frangipani, their main restaurant. But this was overcrowded, so I quickly chose a cold breakfast at the Verandah, their 24 hour coffee shop. The service was efficient and they were extremely helpful, even offering to get us some hot dishes seeing that we came there as an alternative. After a quick checkout which was again top notch, I went to the Nehru Science Centre which is ok at best. There are throngs of people all wanting to get into the planetarium and parking is tough. There is a nice little restaurant on the premises, Jewel of India, where I had my final lunch of the short trip. No dish was noteworthy, but then again, nothing was bad.

I later realized, that I'd left a couple of things back at the hotel and they were kind enough to send them across even though I offered to foot the bill of the parcel. So again a thumbs up to the Trident. As an aside, I did also took a peek in the Oberoi Hotel next doors, but it did not seem as full of life as the Trident which was bustling. Perhaps they are going for the more quaint experience.

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