Saturday, December 01, 2007

Indian streets. Crowded like London, but a different feel (chicken, anyone?).

India certainly has nicer cars than last time I was here. And all the pedal rickshaws have been replaced by little motorized ones (150,000 in Mumbai, according to my driver). The funny thing is that there were pedal rickshaws in London. But the nice things are mixed right in with the run-down and decrepid. Even where a famous Bollywood star lives doesn't look that nice (several security guards at the entrance), though I'm sure there are spots that are lush tropical paradises when you get away from the crowded neighborhoods of Mumbai.

It was in the upper 80's today. A lovely tropical feel with a light breeze. My hotel is on the Bay of Bengal. Not exactly an idealized tropical beach situation. The beach is public and not too clean (the hotel patio is walled off from it). When I walked to the beach I had to avoid two little girls who were begging from me in a very friendly, but insistent fashion. Later a man wanted to sell me maps. Just the slightest encouragement and you can't get rid of some of the "sales" people. I think that any shells or things of interest have been scoured from the beach.

The people are polite and helpful, though generally reserved (excluding those mentioned above). The taxi driver invited me to sit in the front seat so I could take photos. We talked and he took me down side streets so I could see more of Mumbai.

Big Cricket matches are going on now, I think (I was told in London that India and Pakistan have big games going on). The TV does have a lot of both soccer and cricket. Oh my, what is an "over" and what about a "wicket"? Maybe I'll figure it out while here.
Both western and Indian movies are running on numerous TV channels, along with Indian music videos and other entertainment. The commercials are all Indian, and at least as good as those on our TVs. The culture easily and liberally borrows from others, but makes it all very much Indian in the end.
There are lots of parties going on at the neighboring hotels and this one. Lots of lights, music, food, fancified tables and chairs, etc. I wish I knew someone so I could join a party, but I guess I had better get rest anyways.

It should be a very interesting two weeks!


Blogger gwen said...

wow, dad, your pictures are great! Are you remembering any Hindi? Is that a tire hanging from the tree? Are you eating at the hotel, or are you wandering around? Is the traffic really crazy - or is it like rush hour here? Maybe if you hang around and look forlorn, someone will invite you to a party!

12:50 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I only remember a couple of words. I have to pick up at least a few polite phrases. I can't read the script anymore, either. Oh well.
Traffic knows no lanes and distances between vehicles are measured in inches, not feet.
I'm not going to eat wandering around this week, unless someone tells me it's safe. Can't afford to get really sick.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Jenny Clay said...

Mark, The pictures are wonderful! Is that a chicken truck under the tire? How ironic about the pedal rickshaws, I think that they are in New York now as well. I remember a funny story that Maida was telling about her and her girls being on two different pedal carts racing to a broadway show after dinner. I am so glad that you are being sensible about the remember what parasites can do. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. With so many of your loved ones hunched over computers and books with finals and papers (Gwen, Madie, Rosie and Mom)your posts are so refreshing! I love you.

3:26 PM  
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