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Arrival in Mumbai - Day 1

What a start...

sunny 33 °C
View Asia 2012 on ed_sou_asia2012's travel map.

4:30 AM was the time.
Very shitty and jet-lagged was the mood.
Incomprehension was the word.

We landed at Mumbai International Airport. Our shuttle to the hotel was supposed to be there. After half an hour of waiting and going around checking the boards with signs to find my name, I called the hostel (lucky for us, Sou already had an Indian cell phone). The guy wasn't there! After calls to the hotel and to the driver, I was finally able to get a place to meet our ride: pick-up number 5. I was still on the phone, I look left, I look right. I see “5” signs on each side. So here's the conversation that followed:
-Where is pick up number 5 ? I see two “5” signs!
-Yes yes ma'am...
-No where is it? I don't know which one!
-Yes yes ma'am...
-What is pick up number 5 ? Where is it?
-Yes yes ma'am...
-You don't understand, you can't answer “Yes'” to that question!
-Yes yes ma'am...
-What is pick up number 5 ? I see 2 places !
-Yes yes ma'am...

(And so on. I guess you got the point.)

And then we arrived at Sapphire Residency, our home away from home for the next few days.
Luckily for me, I learned that we should always see a room before we pay for it. So I asked to see it. I made a reservation for a room with twin beds. They show me a room with one double bed. Needless to say that, in the mood I was already in with the jet lag and the shuttle mess, I didn't keep all of my cool, but most of it, as I didn't have the energy to be more angry. So he offers me a private room. Not what I booked. Then he says I have to wait until 9:30 which was about 4 hours later. Again, I made him understand I wouldn't budge an inch on that. I had booked, on purpose, a room for the night of our arrival, even if we arrived at the end of the night or almost, to be sure to have a place to sleep as soon as we could make it to the city. Saying I was not a happy camper is an understatement! So the poor guy at the hotel at to find some staff to clean the room right away, and we were finally able to put our head on a pillow around 5:30 that morning. And in order to beat jet lag, we had already planned to be up by 1 PM. Argh.

We did wake up around 1 PM, cell phone alarm obliges, but I won't say it was easy. After getting decent – and hungrier – we got a driver to pick us up at the hostel to take us downtown Mumbai, at the Gateway to India. After 1 hour of riding in a crappy minivan and assessing the urgency of my need for a chiropractor – it was a pretty bumpy ride, with a most likely absent car suspension! - we got off. Here we where, right downtown Mumbai, one of the world's biggest city. And the only non-Indians to be found around there. Even within a few meters of a major tourist attraction. We got stared at. Some people even took picture of us thinking we didn't notice. And some people literally asked us to pose with them at the Gateway. We created a mini-commotion as more and more people showed up to pose and snap shots with us. At some point, when Sou started joking that we would have to charge them, it kind of stopped. We had a great dinner at the restaurant, a not so great desert in what seems to be the expats rally point, then we headed out for a cab. Again, not as easy as expected. We were nearly assaulted by children, around 6-7 years old, all wanting to find us a taxi, all asking us for money. One girl, particularly cute I have to admit, was after Sou, constantly repeating “Give me money. Give me silver. Give me gold.” and after crossing the streets and trying to walk faster, she just wouldn't let go!
At some point, she almost got run over by a car! (Yet this wasn't enough to convince her to leave us.)
We ended up finding a cabbie, and we went home. End of Day 1.

Posted by ed_sou_asia2012 13:26 Archived in India

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