We arrived in Mumbai after taking off in a snowstorm, stopping in Milan, and eating lots of veggie meals (you get served first on a plane if you order a special meal, haha!) Had to circle the airport in mumbai for half hour, traffic jam on the runway. got off and waited for an hour for our luggage, didn't come. THen we spent another hour in the mad crush of 100 other people who also had no luggage. good introduction to india, hot, loud, chaos and no guarantee that we'll ever see our luggage again. SOmehow even though we were 3 hours late and there were a billion people at that airport, we found our parents!
We are staying in chembur, a suburb of mumbai where my uncle lives. at first i thought the hotel was pretty bad (1300 rupees or 40$ a night) but after seeing some other places, its pretty good. Clean, locked and a western style bathroom!! Plus, room service. service is so good here, there is always 25 people just waiting to serve you. At first it was very unnerving you feel bad if you don't want anything, but you get used to it.
I am loving the food and LOVING the chai. mmmm they know exactly how much sugar to put in. We have seen the suburbs, local markets and shops, and gone downtown to the touristy area. Went to elephanta caves, colaba causeway, victoria terminal (we take the train downtwon every day) gate of india, etc. I have to say with traffic, pollution, poverty, etc i don't really like the city. i had a bad pollution cough for 3 days. i like the suburbs better.
tomorrow we are off to bangalore on the 24 and A HALF HOUR train. phew. this country requires a lot of travel time. we have traveld by rickshaw, taxi, rented car, hired van, train, boat ... oh, and we finally got our luggage 3 days after we landed, all shrink wrapped for us. At least it allowed me to buy a couple of bengali shirts (which are much more appropriate for the heat than the clothes i bought) and learn how to barter (for toothbrushes and underwear no less!)
can't wait to see more relaxed areas of the country. M, I understand your pain about the bathrooms and general uncleanliness. I am washing my feet and hands frequently. But other than that it has been a very interesting and eye opening experience so far! Looking forward to seeing the beach.
ps. it is 35 degrees here. SO hot!! For some reason my sisters refuse to use the ac so my hotel room is less than comfortable, but not so bad with the fan. but im learning to be used to it. drink lots of water and no makeup!!