When I left for this trip, I was oddly concerned that I had lost my sea legs. It’s been a year and a half since I slept in a barn in Bolivia. What if I forgot how to navigate airports all of a sudden? And what if I spontaneously became afraid of tuk tuks and unknown vegetables? And maybe I’d forgotten how to haggle!?Not so.
I also, apparently, still retain my ability to fall asleep on a 15 hour flight, sitting in that God-forsaken middle seat, between two men intent on monopolizing the arm rests. Never fear, friends. With some exaggerated sighing and pointy elbows I was able to wrestle back my share of armrest real estate.
After mistakenly filling out my landing card in red ink (unacceptable!) I wandered out of the Mumbai airport to find my sweet friend Latha waiting for me. We ducked into a tiny cab and began winding our way through the Dusserha revelers. We made it to Latha’s lovely flat in Bandra where I promptly passed out on her couch. And then woke up at 6 pm the next day.
I wandered around Bandra, checking out the promenade and the million lovers canoodling along the rocks. I successfully navigated the ATM, woefully misunderstanding the exchange rate and withdrawing what I thought was an epic amount of money, only to later discover was actually $50.
Late that night Latha, her husband and I went out for dinner, where in I had the mildest version of curry that easily equated to a Minnesotan’s “super extra spicy.” We gossiped about blogs, discussed the Indian head bobble (it doesn’t mean yes or no) and that bit in Slumdog Millionaire where the kid is blinded to become so he’ll be a more successful beggar (sadly, based in fact).
Today, I took a taxi into downtown Mumbai to meet Latha and a friend for lunch and practice my haggling/ignoring skills. Thus far I am an excellent ignore-er.
I bought my first salwar kameez and successfully fought the urge to buy the harem pants in every color. They’re the love child of skinny jeans and our harem pants-style shorts and I’d love to wear them all with a ribbed tank, a pile of long, skinny necklaces, cute leather sandals and a big cuff of a bracelet.
Sadly, wearing them without the accompanying tunic is culturally inappropriate here – the equivalent of wearing your jeggings with a cropped top and pretending it’s an outfit. And I’m not that girl.
Next week: 24 hour train ride down to Bangalore! It’s going to be just like The Darjeeling Limited, right?
P.S. Do you want a postcard, package or thai blessing in your name while I travel?
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