This is my fifth trip to India but the first time I've spent my time in Mumbai at the beginning of my trip. Due to some scheduling factors, this was the time I had to spend in Mumbai - one of my favorite cities in the world (or at least the cities I've visited.) But Mumbai is a huge city with a huge population! In 2011, the census reported Mumbai and surrounding areas had a population of over 20 million people. To compare, in that same year the population of Los Angeles was only 4 million.
And I do not visit the entire city - all the tourist sites and experiences - I do the same things, eat at the same restaurants, visit the same spots. Call it comfort-tourism. All in a little part of Mumbai called Colaba.
Colaba is an international tourist destination - with the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel being a world-class 5-star hotel and a draw to the financially prosperous from all over the world. (I've never stayed there...) The shopping is good and the restaurants are amazing - lots of vegetarian food options and good for those of us who are watching our gluten.
I shopped yesterday. This was the time I have to buy souvenirs for friends and family and gifts for myself. When I've traveled in October, I;ve done my Christmas gift shopping, but this time I will not wait to give gifts until December. The family and friends will have a second Christmas in July when I return! But I love to go into a shop and see if anything calls to me- yesterday I heard the call and purchased gifts for my friends and family (the character of which I will not disclose here) and some items for myself: a new kurta to wear, a new table cloth for my new table and some odds and ends. And I will determine if a few of the items I bought will be gifts to others or to myself. Let's just say I saw a lot of things that told me they needed to be in my new Walnut home.
Today, I make the trip to Padhar. It begins with a flight to Nagpur this afternoon where I will be picked up by a driver from the Padhar Hospital and then he will drive me to the Guest House where I will spend the next almost 2 weeks. While there, I will visit the three schools we are working with, meet with teachers and administrators, try to work out our new pen pal program and do some fun things too.
It has been nice to have a few days in Mumbai to sleep and recover from my jet lag. I am almost adjusted to the time zone. Woke up at 4:30 AM today instead of the 1:30 AM of yesterday! That's all for now, friends.