Thursday, August 5, 2010

The ins and outs of wandering the streets of Mumbai

Yes, I have some time on my hands and couldn't resist two posts today. I mean you can't very well mix flat pics with street walking reflections.
Today there was sun! The goal for my daily wanderings was to buy a cell phone and hit up a "grocery store." Walking down the street is about being on the defensive, learning a dance among the speeding auto rickshaws, taxis, cars, buses, bicycles, and other pedestrians. And those are just the things that are moving. The sidewalks are topped with these beautiful red and yellow bricks until you come to a point where they have eroded or been washed out or there is a loose, jutting, or missing sewer cover, which are placed every five feet along the sidewalk. I have to weave in and out of the traffic and on and off the sidewalk, depending any number of things that are on or blocking the sidewalk. Today, as I was walking I thought, "wow, it's not as humid out." By the end of my journey, I was dripping from every pore and so thankful for the blast of AC coming from my flat as I opened the door.
If you haven't been to India or another developing country in the world, then you've never experienced traffic patterns quite the ones here (except Boston, they can be crazy there too). Lanes, what are lanes?? Picture roads that are made for three car lanes, but packed with 5-6 cars and rickshaws across. And honking, lots of honking. It's jammed up and then all the sudden this sea of cars begins to flow again and you do not want to be in the way. For the most part this all works very well, but you will never see me behind the wheel!
I'm pleased to say that besides the suffocating amounts of exhaust at times, I've only had a handful of whiffs that have been really less than pleasing. I'm wondering if that will increase after the monsoon.
There were so many little things that I wanted to remember from my meanderings today, like the guy who asked to clean my Chacos to "make your feet shine like a Bollywood star's!" He almost convinced me with that one! But, my mind is having a hard time remembering all these little things that make India truly a wonderful place. What I remember is chuckling to myself the entire time. I'm wondering if I will be referred to as that "crazy white woman who carries that huge umbrella and is always laughing to herself."

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