January 2, 2015

I Wasn't Ready #FromMumbaitoPakistan

The winners are!
Jackie W- $100 Romwe giftcard
Tieasha- Year's supply of Hennasooq's Red Raj
Congrats!  Email me your mailing address to nikki@curlynikki.com using what you won as the subject line! Thanks!
when you riding with a crew and you ready to go home, but they heading to another spot... #HelpMeSomebody

Since we didn't anticipate the decadence of our second spot, we ended up ringing in the New Year, alone,  from one of our big-ass windows. 

 Hubby says my silhouette looked like the scarecrow from the Wiz #ItDoesTho

We popped a complimentary bottle of champagne (which hubby was mixing with Hennessy for some reason-- not I tho, #BrownWillBringYouDown), listened to T.I. go in on "About the Money" #MissMeWitIt and let our eyeballs feast on the spectacle-- 5 independent firework shows, spotlights, candle-lit lanterns and hella people on the street. So instead of heading to the club (to be subjected to lame house music), we simply got fresh, and stepped just outside the hotel doors onto the waterfront to #GoUp with the locals. #AsRealAsItGets


I woke up on the first day of 2015 with a mission… to do absolutely nothing.  Not even blog... and I love y'all more than Kanye loves Kanye, so you know I was tired. We knew we had scheduled a brief street food tour with Reality Tours that evening, so the plan was to chill all day in our hotel-house, get a little culture and then turn-up that night with our new friend Nyasha.   She was coming down for drinks with an associate and then planned to hook up with us later that evening so we could hit these streets.  Oh, and because she lives 40 minutes away, we invited her to crash with us! #SleepOver #NoNewFriends #OneNewFriend

That WAS the plan.

Read On!>>>
For some reason, we were under the impression that the tour would take around 2 hours.  We expected an easy stroll through the city, featuring a couple of stops at local food stands and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, to try genuine Indian cuisine. #AsRealAsItGets   And I was told not to wear booty-bearing shorts or mid-drifts because the second leg of the tour was in a predominantly Muslim area. No problem. #IAintRatchet

Fun fact-  Our Indian friends state-side warned us about eating and drinking all willy-nilly during our stay in India.  We were told to pack ALL the Imodium, keep hand sanitizer on deck and to eat only at hotels and highly recommended establishments.  And since I generally have the bubble-guts, I heeded the warning with the fierceness- eating only at hotels and avoiding the water, even going as far as brushing my teeth with bottled water and drinking only bottled water, wine (of course) and/or soft drinks #NoIce.  So we were definitely excited to go on the Street Food Tour, but I was planning to mostly document it for y'all... the gastrointestinal distress of IBS is real, and I needs no help, lol. 

The tour began at 5:30pm and we expected to be back at the spot no later than 8 to immediately hit the streets with Nyasha, so hubby and I dressed for a night out on the town... we had no idea that ish was about to get real. After getting fresh to death, we stopped by the hotel bar for a glass two glasses of Pinot and a plate of crispy calamari.  Then we bounced it out-- the impecably dressed Sikh doorman hailed us a cab, and hubby and I jumped in.  We immeditaly tried to buckle up, but the cabs here all have a "Craig's Cupboard' operating situation - they either have a buckle with no strap or a strap with no buckle.

#PeanutButterNoJelly #HamNoBurger

Fun fact- Previously, one of our drivers told us not to worry about putting on a seat belt because only the drivers are required to wear a seat belt in India #MissedThePointTho 

We should’ve known things were going to go left that night after we got what can only be described as a bad omen. After stopping the car (in the middle of two lanes) to chat with a friend for 5 minutes, the driver makes an immediate wrong way turn down a one way street. Instinctively hubby and I looked at eachother like, 'dafuq!?'. Rather than make a u-turn, he tried going the wrong way down said one way street to cross into the correct lane . This didn’t work, as we were almost immediately t-boned by an oncoming car. #BuddhaTakeTheWheel

We survive the 5 minute trip to the train station, jump out and make our way to the meeting place for the street food tour. After passing through two sets of metal detectors that were both unattended #WhereTheyDoThatAt, we meet up with our guide and our tour-mates. #WhiteFolk

What we all thought was going to be a short walking tour, begins with us boarding a train and riding for two stops straight in to Pakistan... basically.

These women got tired and sat the hell down in the middle of a thoroughfare.  About 15 minutes later, a diseased looking dog sauntered over and plopped down next to them.  The crazy part is that they looked at us like, #ThisYoDog? 

So we board the train which has no doors and nary a glass window and only makes 10 second stops.  10. Second. Stops. Period. We learned that 7.25 million people ride the trains in Mumbai everyday and on average, about 3500 people die per year in train-related accidents. That's like 10 dead people a day! #ICanDivide               

that ain't MJ-- that's me waving to Mayur when I spotted him on the street

He knew we were coming so he decided to surprise us and tag along!  By the way, he's been reading the posts and your comments and loves them! Make sure to #RealityGives !

IsayIsayIsayIsay why, tho? #FogHornLegHorn

We arrive at the beach around 6:15pm.  Note- everyone is fully clothed and fully shoe'ed.  Chopatty beach is not for swimming or sunbathing, the atmosphere is more like a carnival.  It's a place for families and friends to get together. #IHadNoIdeaWeWereGoingToTheBeach

see that sun going down?#ItsAboutToGoDown and #WeAintEvenKnow

We were so young and innocent at 6:30... #OnFleek 
Pants= ROMWE

After an extra thorough history lesson from Mayur, we finally got our first nibble on the street food tour at 7:00pm.  Mind you, this two-hour food tour started at 5:30pm. It was now 7...

Up first, PaniPuri, a dish from northern India, consisting of a crisp filled with vegetable flavored water. 

Would you do it? (Remember T.I.I.-- this is India, and our Indian friends, folks from Mumbai said, 'don't do it!') 

So I didn't do it.  I waited for the next dish, Sev Puri, which was the same thing minus the murky, luke-warm water.  It was good too. 

Next we sat down for Pav Bhaji which consists of mashed tomatoes and other veggies, butter and bread.  It was spicy and delicious and originated right here in Mumbai. I was too cute to be sitting in the sand, tho. #IWasntReady 

This is ice cream made with condensed milk.  Condensed. Milk.  Like, concentrated bubble guts.  They were confused as to why we didn't want to eat much of this, and hubby tried to explain that we were African and therefore lactose intolerant.  #TheGastrointestinalStruggle #ItWasHellaGoodTho

At around 8pm, we thought the tour was over and our guide gleefully informed us that we were wrong.  Not knowing where we were at, we decided it was best to stay with the group.  The guide hailed two cabs and we piled in for what should've been a 25 minute ride.  That's when ish got real, for real.

See that other cab centimeters away from t-boning us?  Believe it or not, this did not result in an accident.  It's actually quite normal and happens at every. single. intersection. #NoStreetLights

See? A different intersection, a different car.

#FirstCenturyBCTraffic #IsThatYoOx


It wasn't unusual to see entire four person families atop one, single, solitary speeding moped.  The record was 6...

#Gangsta #AsRealAsItGets

Forty-five terrifying minutes, one oxen, and a thousand scooters later, we arrive in a Bohri Muslim neighborhood (which is a subset of the Shia).  The driver dropped us off on Mohammed Ali Road.  I'll spare you the history lesson, but it's like going into any oppressed minority neighborhood, anywhere in the world. #ThinkMLKBoulevardAt3am   There is a history of tension and violence between Muslims and Hindus, and particularly between Muslims and the Indian Government.  #WildWildWest  We saw not a single Indian flag.  #LotsofPakistaniOnesTho

Remember when we were walking down the street in Dhavari and a motorcycle came through?  Imagine that times a million.  There was a sea of people going about their business, shoulder to shoulder and every 5 seconds, a honking moped or motorcycle would race through the crowd. #HideYoKidsHideYoWife  I almost lost my life twice.  Folks walking in front of me would get out of the way at the last minute and leave me staring down a speeding motorcycle.  It was crazy dangerous and ridiculously intense. But even more terrifying than that, was actually crossing the streets.  Cars are flying pass and motorcycles are weaving between them, and traffic rarely stops.  You have to walk between cars and hold your hand up and hope they hit the breaks for you.  Locals bang on the hoods and sides of cars with their hands, like 'let me through, boo!'.  I can't cross a regular street (without a crosswalk and light... #I'llWait) so y'all know I was losing it.

 an aerial view borrowed from google images... imagine bikes and mopeds rolling through here non-stop. #TheRealest

Meanwhile Nyasha was at the Trident lobby, sipping on a cocktail, waiting for us.  I texted her about the situation and she said, 'THIS IS INDIA! No worries, be safe and have fun!  But be safe, tho' She went back home and any hopes for a turn up were dashed. *ugly cry*  Back to the adventure--

More food-- this time, meat! And it was delicious! #AnythingDeepFried #PleaseAndThankYou

This awesomeness was taking place above my head and I didn't notice it for hella... I was too busy trying not to be crushed by a car.  Trying to keep up with the crew, snap pics and not get ran over was truly a feat. #YallWelcome

My face, tho. As someone who studies race and ethnic conflict, the more chaos there was, the happier hubby seemed to get. #IWasDone

It was about now that we kept hearing loud pops and explosions... then a dude ran by #KneesToChest on a cell phone... #HitTheDeck #TheyShootin #WhatWeRunningFor #GetLisaNem
It was just fireworks, tho... but I was extra jumpy.

The food was bomb and totally up to code.  Reality Tours does extensive research on the spots they take folks to and they patronize the same spots for safety reasons.

Me being bougie.  Mayur had my camera and I must say I had no idea that I was wearing all of my emotions on my face. Every pic was ridic.  #WorkingOnThat #2015 #NewYearNewFace

Every local I met was pleasant and respectful... but these FOLK... #GiveMeStrenff #TypicalIsh  #AStoryForAnotherDay

at around 10:30pm we hit up the sweets... lots of 'em and they were AMAZING! 

This fam sat down next to us at the ice cream parlor. I'm ashamed to admit (but you know I keep it 100 with y'all) that I was a little uneasy. As Americans we are conditioned to get nervous when someone dressed like this enters the room.  Any culture where everyone wears the same outfit can be unnerving.  Hell, I felt the same way about tall tees at the club.  It's scurry.  With that said, dude on the left smiled at us and recommended the apple flavored ice cream, and I was like, "imma stick with the mango', and I was scared to say that. smh  Meanwhile, he (with his grand-kid) was balling out and having all the flavors sent to his table for his family, chatting with us and allowed us to take this pic to share. So yeah, as Americans we have to be careful not to stereotype and de-humazine entire cultures... they're people to.  Just like us.  #WereNotSoDifferent #EveryoneBrownPersonAintATerrorist

Then back to the spot--

But why, tho? #LobbyShenanigans

I tried to serve for y'all, but didn't have it in me #SeeMyFace #MyShoesTho #WhereNyashaAtTho

#EhDustyFeet #PleaseDontBotherMe

And there you have it folks. The Reality Tours Street Food Tour. Mayur went above and beyond, it's just that, #WeWasntReady.   Adventures are dope, but only when you plan to go on one. Maybe we'll turn tonight?

Later Gators,

up tomorrow... #HennaOnFleek #HappyNewYou #TurnUp


*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away a $100 ROMWE giftcard and a year's supply of Henna Sooq's Red Raj Henna (12, 100g boxes)! All you have to do is comment and share on all the India related posts!  On Jan 5 (at 5pm EST), one lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to receive the funds, and another will be randomly chosen to receive #AllTheHenna! Good luck!

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