Saying Bye to India from Mumbai

After nearly 7 months out of the US and 8 months on the road, Brandon and I were ready to go home and have a place to call home.  As our departure date got closer, we found ourselves eager to do the things that we could do at home: take baths, wear sweaters, cook our own food, eat avocados.  I’m happy that my mind moved into this mode–it made saying goodbye a little bit easier.

Water? Milk? Whatever it is, Shiva protects it.
We were all business in Mumbai.  With Christmas coming, we had a lot of shopping to do.  We put most of it off so that we didn’t have to carry it in our small packs.  So we spent nearly all of our time shopping in Mumbai.  I even ended up buying a suitcase for all of our wares.

Cheese Pav Bhaji. Indian style vegetarian sloppy joes.
So I don’t have too much to report.  We stayed at the Carlton Hotel, right behind the Taj Mahal in Colaba.  Mumbai hotel prices are about twice as expensive as the rest of the country, so we made due with our clean yet shared bath room (800R, ~$17.50) for our final days in the country.  There were lots of souvenirs to be had on the Colaba Causeway and I got giddy negotiating for the gifts.

The Gate of India
We took the Metro one day up to Bandra and went jeans shopping.  There were these crowded marketplaces with jeans sellers.  I walked up to one, my waist was measured, told the seller what color/style I wanted and pair upon pair was thrust upon me.  I demanded to try them on, and on my third try I scored.  They were slightly big so they tailored them for me.  My “Diesel’s” cost me 500R ($10.50).  Brandon noticed the locals seemed to be paying 400R, so I think I did ok.  Perhaps my bargaining skills are not as good as I thought?

I also bought a winter hat for 50 cents off a street vendor.  This was probably my most intelligent purchase and it saved me once we arrived in frigid Jersey. 


Courtyard cats… I wanted to pack one home with me.
A note on Mumbai – it was absolutely lovely in December.  The temperature was perfect, highs of 80, cooler evenings.  We found the city walkable and the transportation system fairly easy to navigate.  We enjoyed the Pav Bhaji and Bhel Puri, and have plans to cook Pav Bhaji at home.  I like to describe it as “Indian Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.”  Mmmm… Indian food.

We grabbed a taxi to the airport and flew home on December 15.  The flights were all on time, customs and immigration a breeze, and entered culture shock, as expected.  Everything was so dark and bland.  I think you only realize how colorful India is when you leave the country. 

India – I will miss you.  You provide so much eye candy and stimulate all my senses, all the time. Now on to process what I learned.

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