April 1 – 2, 2014.
April 1 was my son Aidan’s birthday! I was so glad I got to Skype and talk to him. We had a family birthday celebration before I left home, but it was sad not to be with him.
Also, it being April Fool’s Day, it was perhaps appropriate that I suffered a little Indian scam.
First, I met with the Fulbright people and then got ready for my drive to Pune, where I would be staying for the month of April.
After checking out of my room at the little West End Hotel, and waiting for my car and driver to drive me to Pune, I had time to take a walk around the neighborhood. It turned out that I was just a half a mile or so from the center of Mumbai, at least the old British colonial center.
I must confess that the old buildings are not so interesting to me as are the little temples and mosques and shrines you find tucked away right on the streets.
And, of course, right in the old colonial center,
this one owned by a little family on a corner. I paid the family twenty rupees for the photo.
The poverty is everywhere, of course. Many families living on the sidewalks, washing clothes on the sidewalk, cooking, eating, sleeping, and their little children clothed or not clothed and doing all the things little children do.
I will share some thoughts about being a traveler in poorer countries in a future post, always a troubling situation.
The street I was walking also hosted several schools and little universities, which filled the street with young people, many dressed in Western clothes, most of the men, with still with many young women in saris and the salwar kamis (long colorful tops over long pants).
I passed many, many little food stalls, with samosas and other pastries, naan and chapatis, chai and lassies. I was tempted to try some, but I couldn’t succumb to the temptation. For these first days, I’m not even eating at restaurants, even the hotel restaurant which supposed to be very good. I’m trying my hardest not to get sick. So, while in Mumbai, where I didn’t have a kitchen or cooking facilities, I lived on packaged foods for a day or so. No big deal, but it’s hard to continually look away from all the sizzling morsels cooked in carts right under your nose.
Next post: the scam.