Internet junkies in Mumbai

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Friday, February 9, 2007

He Said:

Our last train marathon took us first on an overnight ride from Udaipur to Ahmedhabad, where we connected a few hours later to a day train south to Mumbai. I'd had enough of riding the rails for a while, besides Katie was getting close to her "India limit" and I think a few days in the big modern city did her some good.

Mumbai (the name was changed from "Bombay" a decade ago) is very much the commercial capital if India, and is by far the least "Indian" of any place we've been so far. Big buildings, rushing crowds of people going to work, rampant commercialism and all the other things that characterize any international city are all in Mumbai. Our first few days all we did was walk around on the spacious sidewalks and promenades and spend time in Barista (the Indian version of Starbucks) using the WiFi Internet to do some travel planning for the next few months. Luckily, an arts festival that was going on near our hotel to catch a wonderful Orissa classical dance performance as well as spend some time browsing at a street fair of local art talent.

Jumping from one place to the other so often, we often go days without having substantive conversations with anyone but each other. Here we were able to finally spend some quality time with familiar faces. A few days ago we had the pleasure of meeting up with our downstairs neighbor (from our home in New Jersey) who spends the winters living here in Mumbai with her sister. They had us over for a wonderful lunch and we were able to catching up on all the latest news from home as well as get the inside scoop on living here. We were also able to meet up for breakfast with a friend of Katie's father who was traveling here on business.

Although we didn't do much sightseeing in Mumbai, we were able to get the travel details of next months of our trip nailed down. Since we made our original routing over a year ago, changes in flights, different political events, and both our sisters getting engaged have necessitated a number of modifications to the plan. So much to Katie's delight we are going to be bypassing Bangladesh since our flights through there aren't in operation anymore, we modified our SE Asia routing some to include Southern China. We also cut out a few weeks in the South Pacific to be able to get back to the USA to see my little sis get hitched before heading into Central America for the final leg. Bottom line, we are still going to forty different countries, just not the exact forty we had originally planned. Australia and New Zealand will have to wait a few years until RTW 2.0!

Tonight we are on an overnight train south to the lovely beaches of Goa.

She Said:

We might have to surgically remove the laptop from our fingers and the wooden Barista chairs from our butts. I have never spent so much time in a coffee shop before, and we actually memorized the soundtrack (probably heard it about 10 times from start to finish), which included such delightful ballads as a remix of "Final Countdown" by Europe and a particularly loud Limp Bizkit song. All in all, Barista was so pleasant, and I had to fight the urge to buy a logoed t-shirt.

Mumbai has been like a little civilization vacation. If you are planning on taking a trip to India, Mumbai is definitely the place you should come first, as it will certainly ease you into traveling in India. Things are so westernized here compared to most other cities in India that I have almost forgotten where we are. And we have certainly enjoyed all the amazing food in Mumbai! I think we are really starting to love India food (it kind of took me a while to figure out what to order and which foods would agree with my digestive system). I think we could actually live least for 6 months...during the winter.
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