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Monday, July 17, 2006

from Mumbai to Bangalore

We left Mumbai this morning and all I can think about is when I'll get to come back. We were there such a short time and got such a teeny, tiny taste - which is true of all the places we're going, really, but I felt it so dearly in Mumbai. Heartfelt thanks to all the lovely friends who were willing to come across the city to meet me - and for sharing their city and their lives with me! There's no real way to describe how wonderful it is to get to spend face-to-face time with people I've known virtually; their perspectives on their city, culture, current events, etc., are icing on the cake.

Speaking of cake, Mumbai yielded some excellent western-style desserts; while I've cheerfully sampled my way through and over my pre-trip feeling of "enh" towards Indian sweets, sometimes there is no substitute for chocolate mousse cake.

So, what did I do in Mumbai other than hang out with friends? We watched a documenary about Dharavi, Asia's biggest slum, and its community cohesion and had a discussion with the filmmakers and the social workers who were profiled in the film. We visited a municipal school that has been adopted by a wonderful charity agency and saw just how amazing their work is, how great these kids and teachers are doing. We went on a sight-seeing trip to a Jain temple (where the incense was so strong I thought I was going to pass out; I was reminded of my trip to Italy with my dad after graduation when we went to some cathedral and saw some saint's finger or something with a bunch of candles all around and he leaned over and nudged me and said "not like Macomb First Presbyterian, eh?"), the hanging garden, a Gandhi museum, and the laundry district.

And now here we are in Bangalore. We had a completely free day today, and I am happy to have spent the afternoon exploring the city market with three intrepid friends. Pros for Bangalore: the first genuinely cool breeze I've felt since Chicago and a stunning variety of dessert at lunch, more then enough to push me into a food coma. Cons for Bangalore: the most disgusting traffic-based air I've breathed in maybe in my life; this was made more exciting by a autorickshaw driver who was smoking and reading the paper while driving. But we made it back to the hotel, so that's all dandy. I have no idea what we're doing tomorrow; I look at the schedule each day and all the info promptly goes right back out of my head.

Oh, and another pro for Bangalore: vibrant, moustachioed movie posters that I cannot in any way decipher.


At 11:40 AM, Blogger Maja said...

Just got home from my holiday and I loved reading all your old posts, this is the next best thing to actually going to India myself. Re. Italian cathedrals, a few years ago we went to one in Padua (I think) where they had a saint's tongue, and it was dark with only some candles around, and someone was chanting in Latin, it was really freaky. I almost had a panic attack for some reason, even though I'm usually pretty non-panicky.

But anyway, yay India! Off to read the filmi posts on BLB now :D

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Kim said...

Hey, lady! How wonderful to have both the experience of ancient places and of contemporary friends. Your dessert discussions are starting to sound like a MasterCard commercial that's playing here right now, where a group for four ladies travels the world to find the world's best coffee, then move on to a quest for the world's best pie. Just think, you could write a book and be the Jane and Michael Stern of India! P.S. You are missed.


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