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.
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.