Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mumbai: Day 1

So, we decided to go to Mumbai for the weekend. We wanted to get out of Bangalore and knew that we needed to see Mumbai before leaving India. We flew over early Friday afternoon. Jared, Crystal, and I got there before the two Kelseys, so we checked into our hotel. First of all, our hotel was very nice. We stayed in the Hotel Highway Residency. It is in a bit of a difficult location, but it was very clean. The beds were so soft and comfortable (actually, they weren't that comfortable, but our beds at NGV are so terrible that these felt wonderful). Secondly, the heat in Mumbai is awful. I'm used to dry heat. In Eastern Washington, we don't get much humidity. Even in Seattle, it is humid, but it is rarely warm enough to be uncomfortable. In Mumbai though, it was about 93° with really high humidity. I don't do too well in heat, so Mumbai was very uncomfortable.

Anyways, after we checked into our hotel, we took a rikshaw to Juhu Beach. Juhu Beach is in Northern Mumbai and is a great place for shopping and has some very nice (and pricey) hotels. It was so nice to see the ocean again. Especially with India getting so hot, the cool ocean air was a nice change. The beach itself though, was interesting. I'm used to Washington beaches, like Moclips or Pacific Beach. They're cold, gray, quiet, and empty. Mumbai beaches are hot, packed, and dirty. I had at least twelve women approach me trying to get me to buy henna. When I kept saying no, one even asked what my problem was. Mumbai? India? Uh, no. I have no problem, I just don't want any freakin' henna!

When we walked down the beach a little ways, the vendors and crowds started to die down a little. They were replaced by groups of boys playing cricket on the beach (instead of beach volleyball, people in India play beach cricket). We wandered around in the water, which is so much warmer than Washington. We found some cool shells, a couple hermit crabs, and a bunch of trash. We also made friends with a really sweet street dog who followed us down the beach. We couldn't touch him, but we took lots of pictures. It was a really nice afternoon.

After the beach, we walked through Juhu until we found a restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel. I ate a chicken kabab that was marinated in cream cheese and cashew paste, garlic naan, and a Tom Collins. It was wonderful. Not so wonderful an hour later though. After dinner, we went back to our hotel to change before going out. Our rikshaw got lost and drove around a bunch of bumpy side roads for a while. I started to feel a bit sick. Luckily we made it to our hotel, because the feeling only got worse. I ended up spending the rest of the night bent over a toilet puking my guts out. That was kind of a horrible ending to what had been a pretty good day.

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