Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Mumbai, India (Day 1)

After work on Monday Benjamin and I headed to a 'must see' on my list....the Hard Rock Cafe! We were talking about the thrill of going to a Hard Rock Cafe no matter where you travel, especially internationally. I cannot remember really why I started collecting the shot glasses and t-shirts, but I did, and now it is a must find place no matter where I go! The t-shirts did get made into a really cool quilt...so it made saving them all worthwhile!

We hired a car to drive us to the Hard Rock and anywhere else we wanted to go. I quickly noticed Mumbai is not a place where you want to drive. It is complete chaos. Seriously, out of control. They drive on the opposite side of the road and car than in the US...so that is weird for me, but it says nothing about the amount of cars, people, animals, and babies on the streets of Mumbai. Just driving around last night I was amazed in the amount of people here. The population of Mumbai (including suburbs) is over 25 million people...that's a lot of people! In my opinion, they do not have the civil infrastructure to handle that many people on the roads or sidewalks...thus resulting in massive congestion. The metro population ranking is projected to rise to 4th in the world by 2015 due to an annual growth rate of 2.2%. Yikes!!

Anyway, we got to the Hard Rock in about 30 minutes...but it took us over 1.5 hours to get back to the hotel due to traffic. Here are a couple of pics!

Someone asked me about my first impressions of India...well, here they are (and they are not good):

  • Mass Chaos - There are no lanes or any organization when it comes to driving. There are typical cars, taxis, rickshaws, motorcycles, and bicycles everywhere. I cannot believe there aren't any more accidents and/or deaths (or at least I have not heard of any).

  • Overcrowded - The sidewalks are either non-existent, torn up, or have people living there in tents which does not allow for much walking space...thus people take their lives in their hands and walk in the streets....unbelievable.

  • Incredible poverty - I had heard you were either very rich or very poor here and I have witnessed that. There are shacks built up on the streets and sidewalks and little kids being bathed out of a bucket on the side of the street. It really makes me very sad and extremely appreciative of all I have.

  • HOT - It is very hot and humid and the monsoon is getting ready to come within the next couple of weeks....get me outta here!!!

Being here has not been terrible. I feel safe, the hotel is wonderful, extremely comfortable and nice and the food has been fine. It is probably better than I imagined it to be thus far. It is just when I walk outside I realize where I am. I cannot say my stay so far has been bad...I am just ready to get it over with! I guess they call this 'culture shock'!!!

I have to remember I have only been here 1 day and I cannot judge this place too soon! I am going to keep an open mind and get to the Taj Mahal and back to Brussels quickly!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments. I love to hear about your adventures. I want to see your Hard Rock quilt one day.
    One thing I remember about all the people from India that I worked with was the arranged marriages. The traditional families would still go back to India to advertise and interview to find their sons a wife and bring them to the US.
    Have fun and be safe!!