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Day 16 - Bombay, India

We missed our first flight out of Athens, Greece. Ziggy informed me at the last minute she had to use the cat restroom. I said, "Make it quick. We have a plane to catch."

Well, Ziggy fell asleep on the litter box. I had to have another cat go in and wake her up. I sure did give her a big "what for"! We had to take the later flight out so we didn't get into Bombay until later that night. As we flew into Bombay, India, the lights of the city were more than we could ever imagine. I've only seen pictures during the day. It was just beautiful.

I told Ziggy we were going straight to the JW Marriot Hotel. I was planning on taking a shower, ordering some room service for food, and crashing. I suggested she clean herself good and do the same so we could get an early start in the morning. Especially if she wanted to ride an elephant.

We did just that and woke up early. It was out the door and down the street. The hundreds of people walking, riding bikes, and just milling around was awesome. We walked around for what seemed hours. Ziggy put her foot down and stopped me right there in the middle of the street. She looked up at me and asked when she was going to ride the elephant.

Just as I was about to answer, two girls appeared before me and Ziggy. They were adorable Indian women who asked us where we were from. Ziggy meowed St. Louis, Missouri and they understood and became really excited in a giggling sort of way!

They told us their names were Amita, which means happy girl, and Ahladita which means, in a happy mood. I told the Amita and Ahladita we had to get something to eat. Their family just happened to own a super eatery in downtown Bombay. So, that's where we went.

It was a nice place with a driveway that came up to the front door. But it was as friendly as anyone can imagine. As we entered the restaurant, which was completely open to street traffic, we were welcomed like their long lost relatives. It seemed like there were twenty or thirty relatives there singing, laughing and just having a good time. Amita and Ahladita sat at the table and Ziggy, the lucky cat sat on their lap.

I told them we would like the specialty of the house, or, the dish that Bombay was known for and they served us up some Tandoori Chicken. It was absoltely wonderful. They were also sweet enough to give me the recipe. Here it is.

Tandoori Chicken
Fried Butter Chicken

Serves 4

Preparation Time 1 Hour

1 Whole Chicken - cleaned and cut into 8 pieces
1 onion - grated
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2-3 green chillies - finely chopped
3.5 ounces butter
salt to taste
1 cup of cream
a few green coriander leaves - finely chopped

Melt butter in frying pan. Add the grated onions & fry until golden brown.

Add the ginger & garlic pastes. Fry for a minute & add the tomato puree.

Add the chopped green chillies, coriander leaves, salt and the chilli powder. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Turn heat to low & add the cream stirring constantly. Do not let it boil. Cook for a minute & turn off the heat.

Arrange tandoori chicken pieces in an ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce on it.

Heat in a preheated oven at 350F for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Buon appetito!

After dinner, everyone filed outside. For what, I didn't know. But we followed everyone anyway. It seemed one of their cousins, Chandrahas, came in from the country to visit and was leaving. I think he had too much Indian beer cause he was having a hard time trying to stay up on the donkey. His Uncle ran over and caught him just after I snapped this picture. He finnaly got on after the third try and left.

I told Amita and Ahladita that we had to go find an elephant for Ziggy to ride and we only had a few hours before we had to leave for Singapore. They knew just where to take us.

We said our goodbyes to their family and off we went. They knew exactly where to take us for sure. Down this way, up that way, around the corner along a river and into the countryside just outside of Bombay. We made our way through these clump of trees and there they were. Three large elephants! Ziggy leaped for joy clapping her little paws.

Amita and Ahladita spoke with the trainer and the two girls who were riding the first two elephants. They just happened to be their cousins. Is everyone related in India? Anyway, the trainer and the girls said ok and the trainer gave Ziggy a boost up on the third elephant and it was a sight to see. She looked more like monkey than a cat. And that dog gone birthday hat she insists on wearing all the time.

After several passes around in a big circle, Ziggy hopped down and for three hours, she grined from ear to ear. We headed back to the hotel to pick up our stuff. They took us to the airport and even waited until we boarded the plane for Singapore. Ziggy cried, I cried, Amita and Ahladita cried and we all hugged each other and said our goodbyes.

On the plane, after we settled in, I told Ziggy that Amita and Ahladita were really nice girls and it was really something that she showed her emotions that way.

"I never saw you cry like that before Ziggy. I will miss Amita and Ahladita too. That was very touching," I said.

She looked up at me and meowed, "Kieto my man, I wasn't crying for them. I wanted to ride the elephant all the way to Singapore." I just told her to go to sleep.

Now, site seeing places around the world with a cat is unusual to say the least. But what she does in Singapore at world reknown fountain was too much to take. Maybe I am over-reacting. You tell me after you see tomorrows story.

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