Here I am in 1973 staying at the very regal Taj Mahal Hotel™ (Bombay) along with Royal Navy man Paul Rogers-Gray.
Our ‘Epic’ journey to Calcutta, to join a ship picking up aid for Vietnam.
Found Paul RG at Heathrow on a cold November day. We were bound for Calcutta India by Air India. (Fly Air India and get there Faster was their slogan).
6 Hours on the runway, waiting to take off as there was an Air Traffic Controllers strike in France.
No Duty Free and only a sandwich in those days.
Taking off, we had to stop in Dubai to refuel, on landing heavily the plane burst a tyre and this again delayed us by several hours.
Arriving at Bombay (Now Mumbai) by some 12 hours late, we had missed our connecting flight. Air India put us up in the Grand Taj Mahal™ 5 star hotel. 3 days 2 nights and looking at what it cost is probably all relative – then around £20 per night B&B today £200+ upwards.
After our very nice stay, we were off again, via somewhere else I can not remember, eventually arriving at Calcutta nearly 6 days after leaving the UK.
Remember Air India slogan ‘Fly Air India and get there Faster’!
Luckily for Paul RG and myself the ship was still there – (Delayed by several weeks).
The Taj is very famous in many ways, being a 5 star colonial hotel, it has hosted our own Royalty and that of many other countries, been subject to a terrorist attack in 2008 and had a Television series recently on UK TV.
An epic journey, was just one of many I encountered – how about when it took me 8 days in Panama on another occasion NOT to find my ship, another story at some time in the future.
I travelled in excess of 1,000,000 nautical miles travelling to over 100 countries in my vocation at sea.
As of today I have been to 111 countries.