Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…in snow business

snowworldOne of my favourite photos from Mumbai

In one of the strangest shopping centres I’ve ever visited, someone has decided to turn a few of the units into Snow World.

Aside from this attraction, the centre is ridiculously mundane. Stuck in last day limbo between hotel check-out and airport check-in, I spent the last few hours of my time in India inside this idol to the West.

As I walked in increasingly bored circles, I couldn’t work out who the Phoenix Market City (or Phoenix Mall if you’re trying to find a taxi driver who knows where to go) was built for. The main problem I thought was that the centre listed top name brands, such as Swarovski, Levis and Tommy Hilfiger and  in its directory, all selling their wares at Western prices. In contrast, walk outside and about five seconds down the road and this is what you see.


All around was similar and it seemed like they’d demolished some of Mumbai’s slums to make room (perhaps the only way you can get space in Indian cities), but the neighbouring homes that were left weren’t much better off. Strangely, it seems like they’re repeating the monstrosity in cities across India.

I’d understand if this had been built in an affluent area such as Cuffe Parade or a tourist strip like Marine Drive, but it wasn’t. It was built in a poor suburb with no tourists. Other than Phoenix Market City there was nothing to do there so no other reason to go. It didn’t have any parking so the local rich people would have to risk parking their expensive cars in the middle of nowhere. The only reason we went there is because we had a day to kill, it was closish (although not necessarily close) to the airport and we wanted to see what Snow World was like.


From lunch to dinner nothing was busy. We were there on a Thursday but still no one seemed to be going to the cinema, eating at the food court/restaurants or, you know, actually in the shops. The Segway racing track was criminally empty the whole day.

marketcityphoenixmumbaiPeak hour shopping

The more I think about it, the more the idea of Snow World sounds like a great idea. Many Mumbaikars will never leave India and spend their whole lives in the one city. They’ll never see snow and this, if they can afford the cover price, gives them a chance to do just that. Business idea: set up Beach World in UK shopping centres.

The main problem with Snow World is its awful execution. It may be good enough to fool those who have never seen real snow, but someone who grew up in Scotland can tell the difference. Snow World does not have snow. It’s cold and it’s white, but that’s it. You know when there’s a soft layer of white over the ice in your freezer? Snow World. It’s exactly like that. Every now and then they spray a bit of water over the room and the cold freezes it. No snowmen, no snowballs and ice angels aren’t great.

There’s quite a bit going on inside. There’s an ice rink (or maybe tw0), an ice slide (like at a frozen swimming pool) a big area to play with sledges and some props (like igloos and stuff) to post with for photos.


Of course, having a thin covering over solid ice is not good if you slip and land on your face. No amount of time spent with real snow can prepare you for that.


Filed under: asia, , ,

3 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I hope you went around all week with that wound telling people “you should have seen the other guy.”

    I can’t think of any unrealistic artificial climates I’ve been in, I just keep thinking of places from childhood like borderline racist theme parks, watching struggling actors with bad American accents shoot struggling actors with gratuitous Mexican accents and bored workers with actual teatowels wrapped around their heads inviting passersby to race fake camels. I’d love to come across a ‘Britain Land’ theme park one day.

    • Oliver says:

      I had thoughts that I could do something like that (or maybe blame it on the missus) but I saw you around two days later (time zones confuse things) and you didn’t seem very concerned about it.

      If you can’t find a Britain Land, you should probably set one up. Do it somewhere like Bangkok and you can get away with all the blatant racism (can you be racist/xenophobic against your own people?) and you’re sure to draw in all the Brits who want to laugh at the ignorance.

  2. Jemmmmmmmmma says:

    Aww it looks a bit like Ocean Terminal, sounds a bit like Hillend!

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