Day Five | Good morning, Mumbai

Tired, hungry and in need of caffeine

To fall asleep I didn’t count sheep, I tried counting the tooting horns I heard outside – no surprise, it took me ages to nod off.

Need… coffee… badly… must… wake… up…  
‘Hello sir, what is your room number?’
Oh damn, what was my room number?!
Nooo… I really can’t remember my room number.

Random guy in hotel uniform walks up ‘Your room number is 307 Mr. David’
Ok, that was just scary. Why do you know my name and room number?!
Actually, I don’t care, because the same random guy in uniform brings me coffee!

Now that I am awake, let’s see what Mumbai has to offer food-wise.
Hot, hot, hot coriander omelette with chilli and onion…
Fried mushrooms
Fried tomatoes
Some potato thingy
Some rice thingy
Sweet, sweet lemon juice!

Oh but stop! I must get to my final company workshop. Here’s my driver…and there’s a fight between him and the hotel staff. It goes like this:

‘Can I carry your bag Mr David?’
‘Can I watch him carry your bag Mr David?’
‘Can I watch him watch him carry your bag Mr David?’

Mumbai morning traffic! tut tut, honk honk, tut tut tut… hooonk!

In these few days India I have heard more horns than in the rest of my 33 years put together.


Selling Iceland to the Asian market – easiest job ever

I’m ready for today – including my 250 business cards.

‘Can I bring you a cup of tea, sir?’
What?! You don’t know my name?!
Everyone else in this country seems to know my name and that I drink coffee. I’m disappointed in you, go back to your corner and be ashamed of yourself!

Ok, I actually only said ‘No, thank you’ but he did stand in the corner for 20 minutes looking ashamed!

During the work discussion it seems that every potential traveller wants to go to Iceland now.  Must be the Game of Thrones effect.

Is there enough space in Iceland? For ALL of them?

It’s been interesting this morning – a pleasure sitting with you guys! 

Here’s what I ate for lunch (can you tell I’m obsessed with food?):

Chilled cucumber salad with garlic vinegar sauce (BEST THING EVER)
Prawn and crispy noodle salad (BEST THING EVER 2)
Plus kachumber salad, sweetcorn soup and tofu & spinach pot

Others seem to have found out that I have the internet password. Sure you can have it, 10 dollars for you my friend, special price!

While talking to clients, I still manage to eat the following:

Wok-fried chicken with dried chili, cashew nut and vegetables
Rasmalai – whatever that was, can someone please explain?
And a small piece of chocolate mud cake (I am a sinner)

I shook the general consul of Norway’s hand – and he said he is proud that a Norwegian is doing such good work here. After 20 minutes, I told him that I’m not Norwegian. 

There are still so many people approaching me..

‘Hello Mr David, can I have your card?’
‘Me too, Mr David.’  Huh? I need more business cards, I only have 2 left!

The last workshop is finally over and it’s been a true pleasure – thanks for inviting me! Only a short feedback session with the other participants still to come. I have a lot of thoughts to take back to my base in Oslo, but first a rush hour ride back to the hotel – and I saw the first car accident happen!

Apparently, that was NOT an accident – that is what they call ‘kissing of vehicles’….


‘Me’ time in Mumbai

Hotel dinner time, here is what I had:

Spicy duck and coriander soup (best thing ever, of course!)
And then…..

Broccoli and water chestnut dumpling, black mushroom dumpling, corn and pine nut dumpling, coriander vegetable dumpling, seasonal vegetable dumpling, corn, cheese and spinach dumpling, burnt garlic dumpling, prawn and water chestnut dumpling, crystal prawn dumpling, prawn and chive dumpling, prawn and coriander dumpling, seafood dumpling with ginger chili oil, bok choy chicken dumpling, crystal chicken dumpling.

I am in dumpling heaven right now!!

So, time for some shopping and to test my negotiation skills.

‘One for 2000 rupees and the other one for 2500’
If I take both, can you give me a discount?‘ No sir, they are very good quality items.’
Ok, then I’ll take only one. ‘But sir, both are very nice.’
Yes, but I don’t want to pay 4500 for two. ‘What do you want to pay?’
I give you 3800 for both. ‘Sir, you can have them 4000.’
Ok, but only if you give me 1 of these (a silk tie) as extra. ‘Ok sir.’

4600 down to 4000: That’s a 13% discount. I’m happy with this! 🙂

Now it is time for my last night in India. No matter how busy this place is, no matter how dirty and hot and humid it is at times, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ll say goodnight now!

Day Six | Farewell Mumbai, it’s been nice meeting you

Travel agents and technical hitches

‘May I take your bag Mr David?’
Yes, you may! I think I am finally getting used to this…

Every office has a coffee guy, why don’t we have a coffee guy?
Bleh… this is sugar water… not coffee.  

And now – off to visit some travel agents

A large room full of people listening to my presentation. I could get used to that.
Wow, they actually take notes!!

Meeting the founders of Veena World is a big honour. Really cool office and down to earth people! All they do is simply enjoying traveling and want others to do so too!

Travelling to the next few clients takes so long in this traffic!
So, I found out that if you press the horn too much, you are offending people – everyone must be permanently offended then. Every meter along the road is used, really, you just can’t imagine!

Everyone wants to sell Scandinavia. Everyone.

Next visit is at Kesari tours. Again, a full showroom of people listening to what I have to say.
Oops – now my laptop can’t be connected to the projector. I’ve been very bad and used a pen drive –  OMG I am such a badass, such a rule-breaker! Ohhhh…. a 30 min wait for IT?
Let’s do some stretching, entertain the crowd. Make some jokes! 

Alright then, let’s try to start a conversation with them without the presentation.
‘What do you know about Scandinavia?’
Great, good start…‘What would you like to know about Scandinavia?’
Silence. Awwwwwkward….

Ha, now the projector itself doesn’t work.
Finally the projector is working and the presentation is loaded on the other laptop.
Open MS Office.
Does not show the presentation correctly…

Very awwwwwkward…..

OK, I’ll threaten them with a quiz after the presentation
That got their attention – now the questions are coming in!

What? No bartering?? In Mumbai?!

Awwww, no bargaining here, I was looking forward to that.
I bought 2 great shirts, fantastic linen, very comfortable.
Ok, I am done shopping, we can go now…
But first, the next store looks good, just a quick 5 minute look.
Alright… one more store, promise.

I don’ t like shopping. I only bought the shirts because I needed new shirts.

Stuck in traffic again
Dinner! Challenge me, you order – I eat!
Some kinds of fish and some kind of chicken with some kind of bread.
Very good! Very goooooood!

A spa treatment at Mumbai airport

Off to the airport.
My check in starts in 1 hour and then I still have 3 hours more to wait.
My neck hurts because of the air-conditioning everywhere. I know, I’ll go for a spa treatment at the airport!

The massage is good, but still 2 hours to go.
Last meal in India: KFC hot and spicy chicken.
Now boarding my economy class flight. Why was I teased with economy plus on the way here just to be slammed down again?

Stepping into the plane is like stepping into a full-service cinema.
Bad Neighbours 2 is rubbish.
Eye in the Sky is very sad. I hate Helen Mirren now! Alan Rickman was also mean (RIP)

It is amazing that you are actually called ‘non-vegetarian’ if you eat meat, instead of ‘vegetarian’ if you don’t eat meat! 

Time to sleep….followed by time to wake up – it’s technically Day Seven 
Breakfast is some sort of thing with a thing on a thing. Unidentifiable!

Not such a smooth landing in London. Bounce, bounce!
So, what should I do now in London for 5 hours?
NETFLIX? I’m bored…

But I just noticed…for a moment there weren’t many people around me.
How relaxing was that?!
That’s it for this time.
Thank you, crazy, wonderful India! Peace out!


Disclosure: David is Purchasing Manager (Norway and Iceland) for a global DMC, and a former colleague of mine. He lives in Oslo. All views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author.