Friday, November 25, 2011

Hanging in Mumbai

Some impressive waterfront building in Mumbai
The following day, Wednesday, we got up, got out of bed, dragged a comb, er stop that.  We took the train back down to the WIAA office to retrieve our insurance documents from Abdul.  All the train cars were packed to the gills, and the train had started moving, so we jumped on the first one we could actually squeeze into.  It turned out to be a first class car, according to the ticket inspector.  And we had second class tickets.  I can honestly say that the first class car contained the least amount of first class I have ever seen.  As far as we could discern, the only difference was the much greater number of people in the second class car.  He was nice enough not to throw us off between stations and just said to change cars at the next stop.   

We never did see any indication of the class on the outside of the cars.  Actually, that's not exactly true.  There are “Ladies” cars, cars for “cancer patients and late-stage pregnant women,” and those for “handicapped and the elderly.”  I have no idea how they came up with their segregation methods, but at least we knew we didn't belong in any of those cars. 

The Mumbai Gate
Anyway, we made it to the WIAA office to get our insurance papers, and unfortunately, they weren't completed yet.  Abdul assured us they would be done later that afternoon, so we left the office and went to have a look around Mumbai.  We followed a walking tour recommended in Lonely Planet down to the Mumbai Gate and meandered along parks and past beautiful buildings in a mix of Victorian and Art Deco styles.  

Cricket in the Park
We stopped to watch an amateur cricket match in one of the parks, picked up some grilled potato and vegetable sandwiches and fresh sugarcane juice for lunch, and had a lovely time strolling while waiting for our insurance papers to get finished.  Well, they still weren't done by the time we got back, but Abdul promised to email them to us.  We headed back to the train station, where we made our first real running jump to board the moving train.  We absorbed the scenery, while hanging out of the car door (I understand why dogs like it).   

Our return autorickshaw ride to the hotel was painless, and when we got there, found that Abdul sent the insurance docs.  They were incomplete, so we would have to wait for him to resend the entire document the next day.  Awwww.  We went for dinner at a local all-vegetarian restaurant and pigged out on naan, rice, butter paneer masala, and aloo gobi, and washed it all down with fresh lime juice. 

Since we still didn't have insurance paperwork to show in case we needed it, we had to hang out in Mumbai for one more day while we waited for it.  Since we were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the events over the last several days, we decided to just take it easy, play on the computer, eat some food, and get a mobile phone (since they are de rigeur in India.  In all actuality, having one will make life much easier).  So that's all we did. 

We got our phone, went to the same veggie place for masala dosai and sweet lassis for lunch, hung out in the room for much of the afternoon, got our insurance documents in full so we can go tomorrow, and went to McDonald's for a needed dose of familiarity.  The McD trip wasn't exactly like home- the Big Mac has chicken patties, they have a McVeg Burger, and McSpicy Paneer sandwich (which I wish they sold in the states- it was great).  But the fries tasted like home, and the spicy chicken sandwich was good too.

No comments:

Post a Comment