Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Mumbai blues

I arrived well on the 19th from Maldives and next few days are spent writing reports and price estimates for the proposed project in case it takes off. The funny thing happening is now that Mumbai Port Trust or the immigration (according to agent) is not issuing me a dock pass. I can sign on the yacht but not go ashore (unless e.g. visiting a Doctor). The other option I suggested then was to designate me as the ship superintendent and I got a pass but I could not stay overnight, I am told by the agent to stay at a hotel. Catch 22 situation...

Victoria Docks being filled up, a historical landmark soon gone

Old sheds being demolished at Victoria Docks

Further had to run to FRRO offices to apply for visa extension and here another problem arises in the form of paid taxes. As I receive my salary abroad to an offshore account I don't pay any taxes in India and explaining this to the bureaucrats was like explaining quantum mechanics to a slum dweller. Well, the 20th I stayed onboard overnight and nobody's alarm bells rang.

Basin being land filled at Victoria Docks

Old pilot boat

An era gone by

On the 21st the agent asks me 20.000 rupees for the visa extension, on the 23rd & 24th I still run in the FRRO office and the Tax office re: the tax issue. Our agent is proving to be useful like a donkey with tits. At least I get some real work done too as all UB boats are sent upstream to Belapur for the monsoon and I crash at Thomas place as we finish very late in the evening.

M/y Linse on the way to Belapur

Gateway of India, side view

25th is the final time I visit the FRRO office, they grant me a 3mths extension that can be extended another 9mths provided I get them the tax paper. Needless to say this is not going to happen and other things are brewing so I take it in my stride. No point in arguing with a desk person.

Mumbai architecture

Mumbai architecture

26th I'm dealing with paperwork and in the evening I go to the Comedy Club at Phoenix Mills to watch some standup comedy with Anahita Marker, quite entertaining in the end. Afterwards we have a veg dinner at the Punjab Grill and I'm totally stuffed.

Mumbai architecture

Victoria train station

27th I prepare my final handover notes and am invited to a farewell dinner at Aashim's pad. On the 28th I start my handover and on the 29th I'm flying again, this time to Europe. I arrive at 2am Nice, France on the 30th May and take a taxi to Monaco to sign on Indian Empress. I arrive just in time to see all the festivities winding down and get my bags onboard and crash to start next morning as Chief Officer.

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