Last night we had once again a very good dinner, this time at the quite famous Khyber restaurant, that serves North Indian food. After dinner we decided to walk back, because the weather was very pleasant (27 degrees and dry). It was an “interesting” walk!
It started with the beggars outside the restaurant that tried to follow us. They did not understand why we did not take a cab, because everybody who dines at Khyber seems to do that. We crossed the road, where lots of people were just making their beds in the open air (making a bed = putting some cartons on the ground to sleep on). We walked around them into a dark street that leads to the Oval Maidan grassland.
I had planned to walk through that park in the direction of our hotel, but the gates were locked. So we continued along the dark road covered by trees that made it even darker. Suddenly four guys crossed the road in our direction. It looked like they were not there to just say hello to us, and we sped up a bit walked on the road itself where there was some light. Then they noticed that Bennie was quite tall (1.96 m) and they decided to leave us alone. A bit scary. This never happened to me in Shanghai, although in Jakarta I had a similar experience once during daytime.
We continued past the university and the High Court, and suddenly noted some well-dressed young women standing in the shade of the trees. At first we were wondering what they were doing, but when we saw some other men walking by very slowing while looking at the women, it became clear to us that we had come across some street prostitutes. Maybe the guys who seemed to try to rob us had assumed that we were heading for these women, so that we must have cash on us. The girls were wearing traditional dresses, and were very different from what you would see in a Dutch red light area. We decided not to linger here, but move away as soon as possible.
Walking on the street at night in Shanghai has never caused me any trouble, but in Mumbai things seem to be a bit more dangerous. Maybe this was just a coincidence, I am not sure, but I will just take a taxi from now on. I like an after dinner walk, the only quiet time in this city, but I don’t want to end up in trouble.