1. I did not do any shopping in Goa and Hyderabad, which is shocking. However, I outdid myself in Bombay. Day 1 and I decided to take a stroll down Hill Road. Famous last words. I came back with an assortment of bras and panties, a couple of t-shirts and shawls of varying quality and some awesome stuff from Creative Handicrafts (which sells stuff from self-employed women’s cooperative). Day 2 and I hit Linking Road with my mum. Seven pairs of shoes heavier (three for mum!) I headed home to staunch disapproval from dad. Fab India and Cottons were duly taken in but managed not to buy anything for self. Rounded the trip off with a revisit to Hill Road for “last minute stuff” – make-up and hairclips.

2. Spent loads of time with the rents this trip. Or at least I think so. Maybe it’s because I got my girlie fix in Goa and then everyone disbanded or because I have pruned down the people I must hang out with in Bombay and some people have moved away. Either way, mommy was pleased. I think. Anyway, lots of (her) shopping got done.

3. As intended, I had delectable dinner at Soul Fry (Curly, you’ll be pleased to know I ate the Portuguese squid rice the next day) highlights of which were squid chilli fry and crumb friend prawns and a bonus dessert at Five Spice (which I did not eat Chinese at) to compensate for us being boring grown-ups and wanting to go sleep instead of partying, baida roti and chicken egg rolls from Tavaa (sadly, not the baida roti of choice from a roadside cart) and Chinese from Chinagate which I stretched over two lunches. Unfortunately, I missed out sev puri. But tummy had kind of collapsed by the end of it. I also feasted on biryani and rogan josh at the café in Lands End thanks to vouchers I had. There I noted with horror that a plate of rice costs Rs. 275 plus tax. I insisted that we order a naan instead (don’t’ remember what the naan cost but at least it’s not something I can make myself for Rs 10). The meal, despite astronomical prices and quite nice view of the (grey) sea from above, was strictly ok. I remember V once calling me from Bombay and telling me he had just eaten dal which cost Rs 500 or something at the Taj. I was incredulous. He justified it saying that it was really good. Well Rs. 275 rice beats that.

4. Got teeth fixed and scanned ovaries. Amazing how much more professional medical people are in India. It helps that the radiologist is my neighbour so she took special pains but apart from the fact that she explained in detail what she was seeing on the screen and what it might mean, I got a nice set of scans and a signed report.

5. Most wasteful part of the trip was time spent at the bank. Generally, the most wasteful part of my life is the time I spent doing banking work, and I do very little banking work. My philosophy of banking is to park my money somewhere where I forget about it for several years and then discover to my delight, a nice nest egg. I don’t see why I should be bothered by such things as cards, letters and offers to help me with my investments. Specifically, I dislike being sent about four debit/ATM (why do they have to be different?) cards in a single year and having to run around to collect them because the courier guys come in the day when I’m working and then I have to call them and arrange a time or make a trip to the post office. The final straw was when having finally laid hands on the damn card, the atm swallows it up when I’m trying to use it. Determined to close my account, I found myself cooling my heels in the so-called Premier Centre for more than half an hour listening to another lady crib to her friend about how crap the bank is and how she wants to move to a nationalized bank (my sentiments exactly!). Unfortunately, when actually called upon by my “relationship manager” I got convinced not to close the account under promises that I would not receive another card for the next five years. Then I made the mistake of asking about investments (because ever so often I think I should be doing something with my money) and he went on and on about mutual funds and sips and then took 20 minutes to photocopy something. Now that I’m back in HK, of course, I’ve forgotten all about investing, except for the odd notion that a nice some gold might not be a bad investment.

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