Waking up to the noises of the city. Lots of horns beeping and crows cawing. The rain is coming down. But I am still just waking up and need to get out to find a little breakfast. Hope to recover from the flight. It was pleasant enough but you can't really sleep well on the plane.
Joel saw me off in Chicago for a 7 pm flight and I arrived in Mumbai at midnight, after two eight-nine hour flights and a stop in Paris that was just enough time to be shuffled through a maze of cooridors to switch flights. I was going to write about tips on surviving these long flights, but I was so exhausted i fell asleep again in mid post. So future posts hopefully will be a bit more descriprive.
Mumbai airport is very nice, but you still feel like a lot of cattle being herded through. Many planes arrive at midnight from all parts of the world, much fewer foreigners at this time of the year. Still the line through customs is long, but flows efficiently. So at the airport once you go through duty free area and baggage claim and customs, which flows freely there are a couple of things to do before heading outside.
Its advisable to exchange some money there so you have Indian Rupees. I forgot, so will look for an ATM today. I was advised to make sure i go to an ATM with a guard, due to theft. This national push to get all India onto electronic banking, still requires humans after all. The US dollar was as low as 60 Rupees in March, and now it is 68. That will fluctuate. It will be interesting to learn what are seasonal fluctuations of the local economy and which are due to global politics.
You can get a sim card for your phone at the airport, but I decided to wait till I was with someone who can tell me what is more feasible. I do know that many things are more expensive for foreigners here. When I convert prices into dollars it still seems very affordable, but eventually you need to learn what local rates are. Having a phone is very helpful. Connectivity became my favorite word the last time I was here.
If noone is picking you up, get a prepaid taxi. They charged me Rupees 1500 (about $22) for A/C. I paid it but said i thought it was more like 500. I dont think i said it in Hindi. the woman behind the counter turned to the guy next to her and said something in Hindi along the lines of "this white one thinks she knows something". As they laughed I gave a typical Indian jester that means "so it is".
Then outside while i was waiting for my prepaid taxi to show up, an Indian family came and began haggling with the guy in charge. He kept saying they could go inside and prepay, but the rates were set. I was so tired and have no idea how other travelers could find the energy to be so persistent so early in the morning. But it is how things are in India.
These musings include the journey of my writing on the history of my great great grandparents and the travels for research to India, Germany and other places of interest.