Monday, August 18, 2014

Questions of Travel - Elizabeth Bishop

I read a quote from this poem in Korma, Kheer & Kismet - Five Seasons in Old Delhi and it inspired me to seek out the poem in its entirety.

Elizabeth Bishop
8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979
Worcester, Massachusetts

There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
—For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,
aren't waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
The mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
Slime-hung and barnacled.

Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theaters?
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always, delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
--Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
--A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above a broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
--Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr'dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
--Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages.
--And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians' speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

"Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one's room?

Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there . . . No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?"

Monday, May 05, 2014

ITC Grand Central, Mumbai

ITC Grand Central
287, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road
Mumbai 400012,

+91 22 24101010

ITC has always given us more than excellent service in every city that we have stayed with them, so while this particular ITC does provide good service compared to other hotels in a similar category, it is not as good as their other ITC's (had a bit of trouble with room service and other issues)

Being in Bombay, rooms are obviously smaller. Food is good, Good spread for breakfast. Kebabs and Kurries is excellent for dinner with wonderful service.

Rating : 4 / 5

Value : 4 / 5
Location : 4 / 5
Sleep Quality : 5 / 5
Rooms : 4 / 5
Cleanliness : 4 / 5
Service : 4 / 5

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Taj Land's End, Mumbai

Taj Lands End
Band Stand,
Bandra West
Mumbai 400 050,

Given, that the Taj Lands End is in Bandra, it is one of the more luxurious properties to stay in, in this part of town. Great rooms. Good service (for the most part, although we have encountered a couple of snobbish "butlers")

The breakfast buffet has an awesome spread as does the lunch buffet. Love their Chinese restaurant too. Good gym and swimming pool too.

Room Tip: Sea Facing rooms are lovely

Rating : 4 / 5

Value : 4 / 5
Location : 5 / 5
Sleep Quality : 5 / 5
Rooms : 4 / 5
Cleanliness : 5 / 5
Service : 5 / 5