Saturday, June 03, 2006

I Loves Me Some Mumbai

So here I am in Mumbai.

And I love it. It is sultry and hot and the food is amazing and the textiles very colorful.

Can anyone else believe I'm here, because I barely can. On the other hand, the moment I stepped out of the airport I knew I would love this place and that it would be some sort of home for me.

Of course, I am being a little hasty in falling in love (me?), so ask me in a few weeks how I feel.

I realize I am not being my normal fluid self. I think jetlag is affecting me more than I think it is (nonsensical sentence, I know). Plus I have to go to the bathroom and it's hard to find places to go to the bathroom when you're out and about. I had Diet Coke at lunch though, so don't feel bad for me. I brought it on myself.

All of the dogs in Mumbai look to be of the same breed, or rather non-breed. They look like just a dog. Like a normal yeller dog. I've seen a couple that have deviated into more foxish territory. It's such a change from all the designer dogs in New York. And the cats! They are downright creepy (or would be if you weren't in love with cats)! Very muscular with big long ears.

We went shopping today, which was very necessary since I brought only two pants and 2 or 3 shirts. I bought a sharwa shemeez (however you spell it...those tunic-and-pants combos), a really pretty long shirt with poplar trees on it, a white skirt and blue shirt, some green linen pants and some flip flops for the shower. All for just about sixty bucks. For reals. And it was only that much because I went to a department store for the first two items.

Here was a lovely thing: when I was flying in the night on the way to Mumbai, I looked out the window and there were some mountains. Huge tall mountains that seemed so close to our plane at 39,000 feet. I think they were in Afghanistan or Iran or Pakistan...we flew over all these countries at some point. I know it doesn't seem like much to just fly over someplace, but it really gave me a thrill to think that just below me were these places that aren't really accessible.

Here and there in Mumbai there are some trees with bright orange flowers. Sort of the same shade as quince. I must find out what they are.

Mumbai is very difficult to navigate because there are very few street signs. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to get to church tomorrow. It's a little out of the city in Navi Mumbai. I know the directions to get there by train, but I haven't been in a train yet and am a little nervous. We've taken cabs pretty much everywhere. They are SO CHEAP. Like the last cab we took was 30 rupees, which is about 75 cents. Split three ways!

I am so jet lagged. My head is sort of swimming. I must be really thirsty but I don't want to drink because I don't know how long it will be before I get back to the YMCA.

The YMCA is a strange place. We were informed we would have rooms with AC, but apparently we will only have rooms with AC when there aren't more important people than us staying there. We've been told we will likely shift several times in the next couple of months. For now we are in rooms with just ceiling fans and a bathroom down the hall. It's not so bad because it's mostly men on the hall so we get the bathroom pretty much to ourselves anyway.

The showers are strange. Mostly you just turn on the tap and use a little jug to pour water over yourself. It's actually very pleasant and writing about it makes me want to be there right now freshening up. You get very disgusting tromping around Mumbai. In a good way, of course. I love this extreme heat. It makes cooling off so much more exhilarting, too.

I think at this point I am just rambling. I hope that I get a little bit back to normal in the next few days.


At June 03, 2006 11:20 PM, Blogger lily said...

Wow Lolly! I am so excited for you, but I am confused because I thought you were going to be in Bombay. What do I know. I love hearing all about it... I am so glad you made it there safe and sound, I am so glad you love it there already. I am living vicariously through you, and hope that you have lots of amazing experiences for me to read about. What language do they speak??? I am in awe that you are so far away. I thought New York was far!!! Write more soon!

At June 03, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger lily said...

p.s. you must take pictures of you in India with your clothes, I think it is so fabulous to think of you all decked out like that... I have to see it to believe it. The fact that your skin is so white makes it even more hilarious to me.

At June 03, 2006 11:54 PM, Anonymous Em said...

THRILLING. I am so happy for and proud of you. Please do try to get some pictures and post them here for us Statesiders. And have fun! And enjoy all the incredible eating! And WRITE!

Mumbai and Bombay are the same thing, it's just a new name for the old place, like Istanbul/Constantinople. They speak at least ten languages there, and a sizeable chunk of government, academic and business affairs are conducted in English! Here is a link to Wikipedia's highly informative page about Mumbai, which you may find interesting to look over:

Love and yay,

At June 05, 2006 6:05 AM, Blogger Asim Choudhury said...


Yours is a great blog. And you weave words pretty well. GREAT WORK! Keep it up.

By the way, I am a D.Phil researcher in Delhi University, India. I am researching on Internet Sociology. Hope you don't mind sharing your blogging experiences with me. Well you can do that when you have time. I believe right now you might be relishing some Mumbai food or going places.

You can visit my research blog and share your blogging experiences.

Alternately, if you choose not to share your personal experiences in blogging in the public domain, you can mail me at




Asim Choudhury

At June 05, 2006 7:02 AM, Anonymous emsumm said...


I'm also very thrilled for you, and I second em's call for pictures. It sounds so amazing and life-changing and fun. Ah I miss it....

Namaste (is that a good use? heh.)

At June 05, 2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog is great, reading about your first impression of India really made me long to return there, a warm feeling came over my heart as i recalled how much i do love that country and the growth that happened for me there. you will be there much longer than i was, so i'm sure your attachment will be even deeper. i'm so jealous and am very excited for you.

your blog actually makes me consider creating my own, maybe i should take some writing courses first. :)


At June 05, 2006 3:05 PM, Anonymous criz said...

I, too want to see you in all your Indian attire glory, Lou. It sounds like another world - a very cheap, hot world. Anything that can be described as "muscular with very long ears" qualifies as creepy.

At June 06, 2006 9:01 AM, Blogger ktbuffy said...

Wow -- sounds amazing. I'll echo everyone else and ask you to keep us posted, and send pictures soon!


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