Friday, October 13, 2006

The right stadium to choose

There is a hotel in Mumbai which houses one of the best views of the bustling, chaotic city. The Ambassador is situated just off Marine Drive and overlooks the CCI Brabourne stadium (below), host to the Champions Trophy Final.

I stayed there in March on England's tour and didn't actually recognise it from the outside (right) - perhaps just saying "oil refinery, please" to a taxi driver would have sufficed - but it still retains its 70s charm and character inside.

On top of the hotel's 'refinery' sits the 360° Pearl of the Orient restaurant; look up the coast to the imposing, politically-built Wankhede Stadium, while just below on the other side is the CCI. If I was ticketless for the Final, eating a Chinese in the restaurant would be the next best thing, although if you are a CCI member, it is possible to watch from your bed inside the ground.

Speaking of oil, Christopher Martin-Jenkins has had his spills in India too. 30-odd years ago, a spritely CMJ jumped into a taxi and ordered: "All India Radio." A couple of hours later he found himself by a refinery in the middle of nowhere. "Oil India, sir," replied the driver.