26.8.06

To Mumbai


It was a long day but at last I arrived in Mumbai.

I flew on Austrian airlines and connected in Vienna. For the first time, I took business class on a long haul flight. All I can say is I like how the other half lives. For the first time I could stretch out, sleep comfortably and they absolutely stuffed us with anything you could want. This was also my first flight with Austrian but I thought the flight attendants were super nice and it was such a smooth flight. Hope the conditions are the same on the return trip.

We had to circle a bit on the approach to the airport and I was feeling somewhat nervous about what I might face when I landed. As we descended over the city, I could make out the crowds of people in the dark below. Little alleys were lit up with white lights and there was not one that was deserted.

Stepping off the plane, the heat and humidity was the first thing to make an impression. It is monsoon season and it was raining. Going through customs was no big fuss but my boss called saying they were running late to the airport and to wait inside.

I finally found them and we were able to do a quick handoff of the issues and the progress the team in Mumbai is making and then she was on her way back to Switzerland, leaving me and Deepak to head to the hotel. Deepak will be my driver for the week and I already like him. I told him I liked Bollywood movies and I think that just floored him. Deepak drives like a hummingbird through the insane traffic. Motion sick prone people would be advised to stay away. Here, the pecking order is cow, truck, car, rickshaw, bike, pedestrian. Make no mistake about that.

As we made our way through the streets to the hotel, I could sense a buzz throughout the city. Tomorrow starts the Ganapati festival, to celebrate the deity who is the 'Lord of Good Fortune' and the 'Remover of Obstacles'. It is a 10 day long celebration and is a big deal in both Mumbai and in a nearby city, Pune, where it originated and where I will spend next weekend.
Wikipedia - Ganesha

The streets of Mumbai were also filled with garbage, stray dogs, homeless people, piles of trash at random intervals and assorted other animals. I was expecting this so it wasn't shocking but it is a funny juxtaposition compared to the streets of Switzerland that you could eat off of.

I'll have some time to venture out and explore tomorrow and am sure to take some pictures. Now it's time to get some rest.

Local time: 2:15 AM
Basel/Munich time: 10:45 PM
US East Coast: 4:45 PM

Night all!

Posted from Mumbai

2 comments:

Ola said...

Can't wait for new pictures from your trip!

Kirk said...

Oooooh...Ganesh! Every time I see Ganesh I think of the Simpsons episodes where Homer dressed up as Ganesh to try to disrupt Apu's arranged marriage and when he asked Apu if his God would like a peanut.