Written Feb 18, 2001
Edited for better 2021 SEO
When following an Australian Cricket Tour Of India, arriving at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is a great place to start, even if the cricket doesn't start there. This giant airport welcomes flights from all over the world at anytime after dark, quite often or likely after midnight.
For the unititiated, this time of night doesn’t make a calming entrance into one of the world’s great cities but when you have a mate on your side, you can share the WOW FACTOR of India, and the cost of the 32km taxi to Colaba.
You can only use prepaid taxis, which are an excellent way to not get robbed by a taxi-driver's insistence on using a non-existent 'one-way system'. The driver can go as far as he wants, as you have already paid the flat fare. If you want to save a handful of rupees, you can get to Andheri Railway Station 4km away for a more inexpensive journey but you will miss the wild ride as your driver dodges cars, cows, dogs, and children, literally, playing in the traffic.
Mark 'Buffy' Smith (pictured here) on his first visit to India, like many, couldn’t believe the plethora of pandemonium filling the streets at such late hours, both around the airport and Colaba in southern Mumbai.
With incessant horn blowing the affable and quiet Mr Shah delivered us with precision to Hotel Lawrence (just off Colaba Causeway, the tourist centre of Mumbai), at one point taking a chicane that just wasn’t there. On an open stretch of highway with only our taxi to be seen, Mr Shah weaved the car with authority through the ‘S’ bend, straightened and continued.
Mark looked for explanation. All I could offer was, "India!"