The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - 'Diary of a Tour in the Naga Hills, 1922-1923' by Henry Balfour

caption: Birdlife seen on train journey to Bombay; an unsatisfactory hotel
medium: diaries
date: 2.1.1923
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tues. Jan. 2.
text: The train crossed the Nerbudda near Surat. The country was becoming much greener, a change after burnt-up RaJ.P.utana. Between Surat & Bombay I saw Egrets (large & small), Padi birds, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Redshanks, Dunlin, Vultures (dark with white thorax & red face), white & black vultures, grey Harriers, Moorhens, Gralies, Grey Shrikes & red-breasted black-&-white Shrikes, Fork-tailed Drongos, Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, red-headed blue Kingfishers, common Kingfishers (A. ispida), Kestrels, Terns, Caspian Terns, Gulls, Sarus Cranes, etc. I got a view of the sea at one point. Estuarine conditions with mangrove trees along the coast. Palms very numerous. I arrived at Bombay (Colaba) at 1.40 p.m. & drove to the Taj Hotel. I got a room on the 5th (top) floor, at 14R. per day for board & lodging. I changed this for another with bathroom (15R. per day). After tiffin I found two coolies fighting in the lounge, where several English ladies were sitting as well as men. A crowd of hotel employees stood around but made no effort to stop the fight, even when I told them to & also what I thought of them. I had to stop the fight myself by hammering the two coolies till they separated & then kicked them apart & prevented them grappling again. I told the manager how disgraceful it was that such a scene could be allowed in a hotel & before English ladies; but he did not seem to care a scrap. A vilely run hotel & ridiculously expensive. I went to Grindlay's & saw Hetherington, who said that my baggage from Calcutta had arrived & gave me letters etc. forwarded from Government House. He also put my name down at the Yacht Club as a temporary member. I dined with him & Mr. Arnold at the Club, & sat with them in the garden till 11.15 p.m. Very delightful with a full moon & outlook over the water.