Thursday, January 28, 2010

Namaste from Mumbai

Hello (Namaste) from Mumbai!  After a long day and night of travel, we finally made it here safe and sound.  As predicted, the flight from Boston to New Jersey ran late.  Knowing this flight is notoriously delayed, we built a long layover into our flight itinerary so we were fine.  After some ridiculously overpriced and not-so-tasty food in Newark, our Mumbai flight boarded on time and we were on our way.  The flight was full but not to capacity so we had our own row to spread out across and I did just that, thank you very much.  Wouldn’t you know, there were over 200+ movies to choose from! That sure helped the time pass.

I will admit, I was a little nervous for the Mumbai airport because so many people have shared their experiences - both good and bad - and I just wasn’t sure what to expect.  Customs was a breeze and before we knew it, we were pulling our bags off the luggage belt. It is kind of a free-for-all at the baggage claim but as long as you get to the belt before the rest of the crowds, you’re in good shape.  We walked outside to a huge corral of hundreds of people held back by 4’ high partitions.  Most were holding signs and others were eagerly awaiting the arrival of loved ones.

We found our driver in no time and made it to the Novotel Juhu Beach in roughly twenty minutes.  I’m fairly positive our driver works for NASCAR because although I was trying to take in the sights, I found myself mainly looking down at my shoes and crushing Geoff’s hand because it’s frightening how quickly and how close cars come to each other and passersby.  Cars, rickshaws, bicycles, cows, motorcycles, pedestrians, dogs and cows were all over the road – no exaggeration. Did I mention there are cows? Cows here are sacred and are left alone to do as they please.

I have to say, there is a certain smell in the air that some may find very unpleasant.  We’re told it’s from the smog and it’s always worse in the winter.  I’ve been trying to figure out what it smells like and the only thing I can relate it to is a smell that some may recognize while walking the streets of Manhattan – extremely burnt peanuts (from the street vendors) mixed with subway exhaust.  Fortunately,  as you enter our hotel, it smells like fresh cucumber water and the lobby waterfall helps you to forget the heartbreaking sights of deep poverty witnessed during our ride from the airport. The security at our hotel is great and the staff have gone above and beyond to ensure we are content, all of which makes us very happy.  In our room now sits a lovely flower arrangement that the very thoughtful Dr. Sudhir and Dr. Yash sent to welcome us.  Our original room overlooked the Arabian Sea and some neighboring buildings, including slums.  After walking around the grounds of the hotel, we found that the rooms on the other side of the building overlooked both the sea AND the pool while facing away from the harsh reality of slums.  The Novotel pool area is quite beautiful and that combined with the beach and sea is a much more pleasant view.  We shmoozed the front desk and won ourselves a room on that better side. We're "home".

There is lots more to talk about but bedtime awaits. Talk to you tomorrow!


  1. Shan, Your sister just shared this link (which I hope is ok) ... I had no idea! I wish you very safe travels and lots of luck while in India. You'll have lots of prayers, loving thoughts & good wishes coming from the States. Fingers crossed ;)

  2. I am glad to hear that everything is going great! The cows are so funny. Just wait til one gets in the way of your driver. They beep until the cow moves. LOL. I am sure you are tired. The jet lag is tough. Have a great trip. I will be checking for updates.

    PS: When you are not busy making a baby, make sure you get some shopping in. You will love the shoes!! Sorry Geoff! I know you can't wait to carry more bags home than you came with.

    Get some rest!

  3. So glad to hear you guys made it safely! Good luck can't wait to hear more!

  4. Hey guys! Glad you arrived safely and didn't have to wait too long for the cows! Just wanted to say we're thinking of you & everything is crossed.

  5. Yipee good to hear that you both arrived safely. Get some rest and looking forward to reading more!

  6. We have been thinking of you since Tuesday morning!! So glad to hear you arrived without incident and are settled. Hey, leave the cows alone -- take a picture of one for me. (hee hee)
    MUCH love!
    Dave & Kim

  7. We're thinking of you both....If you see any Godiva's, close your eyes!!!!
    xo T & A and the Meatballs

  8. Bonjour, We are all very happy for you, and good luck for the next few days...

    Aurelie & the boys

  9. Im so glad to see that you both made it there safe! Thank you for sharing your blog with me! I have been reading it almost every day to catch up!(With a box of tissues by my side!!:) Im so happy for the two of you! Good luck!! Love, Krysten your hair stylist!:)