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Mumbai is not the same as Bangkok – Travel to and Arriving in India

Last night we started our India trip. In short, the travel went about as smoothly as we could hope. We traveled with Swiss Air, and went Chicago -> Zurich -> Mumbai. We didn’t have any brutal layovers, no delays, no baggage problems. The food was pretty good on the flights (we had FOUR meals).

I managed to stay up most of the time, Lindsay slept a decent chunk. My hope (and I had thought I had succeeded) was that I’d avoid most of the jet lag if I was just really tired when I arrived.

Lindsay Sleeping in Zurich

When we got to Mumbai, we could right away feel the heat and humidity. Normally when you walk into an airport you automatically feel the cool, crisp, sterile and filtered air and I love that feeling. In Mumbai, we both swear you could smell spices. The air while cooler, felt humid and perhaps a bit dank. And the walls were all wooden panels and the floor was I’d say an Indian print. Basically, coming into the airport it already felt like we were in a different place.

I had read that there were prepaid taxi stands at the International Airport, and more specifically told that there were two sets of taxi stands. One taxi stand was run by private companies (generally more expensive), and one set was run by the government. Of course neither is clearly marked as such, and we were told originally that the non-government taxi stand was the government taxi stand. Pretty standard stuff I’d say. We had an idea of what to look for though, so we ended up going outside and asking a security guard who pointed us in the wrong feeling, but actually right direction.

580 rupees was the cost, and that got us a ~1 hour taxi ride South to Fort, which is an area within Mumbai.

And here is the crux of this blog post: driving through Mumbai at night after being very tired and having not really been around such a place in a while was a crazy, crazy experience. Much of this we’ve experienced before, such as the multiple near-death experiences we had. But, it’s difficult to explain just how insane things seemed. Men, primarily, everywhere on the sides of the streets standing around chatting. Piles of garbage (and when I say piles, I mean hills), complete with large sleeping cows and foraging wild dog. What appeared to be multiple (10? 20?) carnival type lighting situations (think bright, blinking, festive looking christmas lights) that I think may have been temple/shrines. Honestly, it’s just really difficult to explain. But, to be honest and not totally positive, I think both Lindsay and I were overwhelmed. Are over whelmed.

Our plan was to stay in Mumbai for two days then head off somewhere else, but when we were driving I said to Lindsay, “I think we might need a few more then two days to acclimate.” One thing that I think we’ll have to get comfortable with is the lack of females. There were by FAR more guys out last night walking around, and very few females. I want to make sure we’re safe, so it might be just that at night we don’t go out as much, at least not until we get a better feel for what’s safe, what’s not safe, etc.

After we got to our hotel/guest house (expensive, though relatively cheap for Mumbai I’m told, at ~30 bucks a night) we took showers, and went to bed. Somehow, I fell right asleep, but then woke up at 4:25am and couldn’t get back to sleep until almost 6am. This was, literally and figuratively, a dark time for me. Feeling both hot and cold (we have AC in this room which is incredibly loud), and wishing I was under a “real” blanket (as apposed to my silk sheet bed liner), thinking about the chaos that is just outside my door, and the fact that in the morning I was going to have to go back outside and face all of that. I knew that in the morning with some rest I’d feel better and more positive, but at 5 am that didn’t matter much.

But, sure enough, this morning I feel better. It was very nice to be able to talk with Lindsay. I’m very happy to be traveling with her. Full disclosure: I have yet to leave the room yet and it’s almost 2pm! We ended up sleeping in until 12:30, then took some time to organize our packs, get our money situated, and now Lindsay is reading up on Mumbai while I type this up.

Organizing Our Packs

Lindsay's Chicken

By the way, Happy Birthday Brittany!

OK, off for now, time to start the first day in India.

p.s. The reason I Sai this is different than Bangkok, is because I don’t remember feeling like there was just SO MUCH “stuff” everywhere in Bangkok. It felt a bit more like a “normal” city when we arrived, the driving aside.

7 replies on “Mumbai is not the same as Bangkok – Travel to and Arriving in India”

I would like to tell you to come home, but you and Lindsay seem committed to seeing this through, so have a great time and what an adventure you are having. I love you and admire you both very much. What tales you will be able to share with your family and children (maybe).

Kevin! I’m so excited for you. That sounds incredibly overwhelming, but I feel like overwhelming is going to be VERY memorable when you’re sixty. What a crazy crazy description/experience. I hope that today goes better in terms of adjusting and finding small pieces of comfort, or things you enjoy that can become familiar and normalized as time goes on. That night sounds really stressful, the heat, the cold, the noise, I’m trying to picture India via your description but it’s hard. Excited for more pictures. I love you both! There’s these wet wipes (I don’t know if they have them there) but they’re like menthol on your skin almost, so when it’s really really hot they chill your skin if you wipe yourself off with them. Just a thought. Very glad to be able to follow you on this blog! xoxo

Nice to talk with you son. I love and ditto all that Anthea had to say. I wonder though about the wet wipes she made mention of. Might prove interesting to confuse with those already purchased in the states if you get my drift?! Look at account. Relax and acclimate. Lots of time to slow down and feel right. We are watching you two! Hugs and Kisses sent your way.

Oh yeah – I forgot to tell you the big Ganesha festival is going on right now – you’ve got to go look at some of the Ganapati’s – statutes of Ganesha ( the elephant headed god – god of new beginnings and remover of obstacles). enjoy.

Hey Kevin and Lindsay. So glad you 2 are blogging so we can follow your trip and for me, live vicariously, through your trip. I agree with Swenner…soon it will feel just like “home”. Ups and down feelings will be normal for awhile. LOTS of love being sent in your direction 🙂

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