My final flight to India is completed! Can I get a Halleluiah? Despite being exhausted from lack of sleep and feeling totally grossed out from sitting in the same clothes for over 24 hours (another negative of my other carry on being sent down below…) I immediately perked up when I saw part of the Mumbai skyline when the plane touched down. When you first see it, Mumbai looks kind of hazy and fades into the skyline under the smog and heat. Much to my dismay, I had to wait in a pretty long line to get through the customs and out to the luggage carousel…one more wait before I started my adventure. Little did I know that this crowd of people was probably more organized and a small crowd than I would experience in Mumbai. Finally after receiving my stamps of approval I went to the luggage carousel and searched for my baggage while silently praying to the travel Gods above that the airplanes didn’t eat my luggage only to be turn up a couple of days later on an incorrect flight. Luckily all of my luggage was safe and sound and I was able to head out to see a man, Sarwar, holding a sign with my name on it. I was finally here. After getting everything in the cab, we started off and I finally got somewhat of an idea of how crazy Mumbai truly is. In the cab, I heard muffled honks, beeps, and a constant hum and drone of motors. I passed small open auto rickshaws, large painted trucks, black cab cars, motorcycles, and an occasional car or two. In Mumbai everyone is moving and there is always somewhere to go. Coming from a small town in California this was a lot to take in. Looking back I think I was a little too overwhelmed to really take it in and realize the scope of the city I was to be living in for two months. After dropping the things off at a hotel, I went to go get a phone before I moved in. Downgrading from my precious iPhone was painful, but sacrifices must be made. I started to settle into my hotel room later that evening and some things really stood out to me.
1.The light switches. Here in India they are completely smooth rectangles that jut out from the wall but flipping them up means off and downwards means up…a little weird for me to get used to.
2. The showers. The showers consist of a sloped ground in the bathroom that has a faucet and shower fixture. No doors separating it from the rest of the bathroom. Everything gets pretty soaked if you aren’t careful.
3. Foot washing stations. In a country that has a significant Muslim population (they pray several times a day which includes washing up beforehand) these can be found in bathrooms in many places. Also, in a place where sandals are the norm and where streets can get dusty and dirty, being able to wash your feet off after a long day or simply walking around the bazaars for a while is nice.
4. The TV is purely in Hindi. I tried my best to follow the storyline based on the emotions and actions of the characters and even though I really didn’t know what was going on it was fun to make up my own stories to go along with everything.
Speaking of TV, can I just say that even though I can’t really understand them (except for instances of broken English) I LOVE BOLLYWOOD! I was watching this movie in the hotel room called Krish, I mean at least that’s what I think it was called. I basically gathered that it was about this boy born up in the mountains with no father who has super strength, super smarts, and super artistic abilities. He grows older into a dashing young man who saves a girl from a parachuting accident (it gets more ridiculous, just wait) who after a while of screaming when he invades the camp of her classmates to say hi, finally gives into his charm. She calls him into the city where she lives and he becomes a super hero wearing a matrix like trench coat and a mask that looks half batman half Mardi Gras. Later he has to fight off an evil scientist who wants to see in the future and had apparently long ago stole Krishna’s long lost father. All during this there are super cheesy love scenes, awesome Hindi music, and of course the Bollywood dance scenes. It was so incredibly and awesomely cheesy I couldn’t help but wish that my life was a Bollywood movie, but then again don’t we all?