We made the trip over to Mumbai on Saturday as planned. We were joined by Claudiu; a young man that is here from Romania and working with Paul. We were already in the back seat of the taxi when we picked up Claudiu from the train station, so he had to sit up front with the driver. Back in the states you may call that riding shotgun; here it’s referred to as the suicide seat.
The ride took about an hour, and as I expected it was far from boring. Traffic in India, to sum it up in a word, is insane. While traveling at speeds that normal circumstances wouldn’t allow, I find it best to look at it as an amusement ride…albeit a ride without safety brakes or a seat belt that is. Once resigned to this it’s easier to enjoy the views; though it never ceases to amaze me how I find myself marveling at one moment and shaking my head in disbelief the next. Maybe this will change after I’m here for a while, but I doubt it.
So here I am, after almost three weeks in India, and it still seems so surreal. I think a lot of visitors here feel the same way, so it was interesting when I found myself face to face with a white man while we were stopped at a red light (Keep in mind that the vehicles are so close to each other that when I say face to face, it should be taken literally). We looked at each other for a second before he asked where we were from. After telling him that Paul and I were from the United States and Claudiu was from Romania, he told me that he and his companions were from Russia. We gave one another a knowing look, smiled and then were moving again.
Our driver finally dropped us at the Gateway of India, which was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay. You can read about it here if you’re interested.
This is the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower which is adjacent to the gateway….
…where the terrorist attack of November 26, 2008 took place…
(Above found on and borrowed from Google Images)…and where President Obama will be staying on his upcoming visit to Mumbai.
After paying 2 Rupees to use an authentic Indian restroom (FYI: I make it a habit to always have tissues and wet wipes in my purse!)…
…we boarded a very crowded boat en route to Elephanta Island.
Until next time…