Saturday, August 11, 2007

Start of the Indian Adventure

Oh boy. There was no other way to make this real that what happened.

Don't worry, nothing was stolen, and I'm safe.

I left on Tuesday at 8:45 PM or so, and I arrived in Mumbai at 23:00. Getting everything done before leaving was a marathon in itself! By the time I was out of the airport, it was 23:30.
There are a fair share of armed soldiers at the airport, and a LOT of people.

My welcoming party wasn't there. So I had to take the prepaid taxi to where I was hoping I'd stay. Why was I hoping it? Because there was a miscommunication in the past, which I cleared before leaving. The driver didn't know where the place was, and he had to ask for directions a few times over.

The way there was something. Dogs on the streets, a taxi blocking the way, the smell of garbage, non-asphalted sections, etc. I was thinking that the guy was bringing me to the wrong place and that I'd get everything stolen... not so. This is a neighborhood in expansion. A lot of construction. Its apparently hard to keep track of the new hotels and stuff. What doesn't help is that addresses as you know them don't exist here. Even the building where I work, in the nicest part of town, doesn't have an address. The address of where I live is ... close to the TATA Symphony.

We finally find it, I tell my driver to go to the place, and he wasn't even sure that it was the right place. The fact that he barely spoke English didn't help make things better. The taxi was old, small, and looked like it was self-destruct, just like the rest of the taxis in the parking lot at the airport. Still, that taxi looked a lot better than many rikshas

We arrived and two security guards asked me who I was and which company I was from, and I showed them an email I had printed. Thank God for my annoying habit of having plan A and plan B in place.
I share a room there with a Mexican dude. The breakfast is provided, we have a loud TV in the main hall, with a swimming pool at the back. The place has high walls and security guards.

Behind the building, there is a construction side. In between, there are some bidonvilles (shantytown), shelters built out of whatever people can find. Not a lot of them, just a line between the two buildings.
This morning, it is raining, and some people are washing outside, and we can see them.
I have the loud TV annoying me, a copy of the Hindustan Times at my door, a breakfast waiting for me, and I'm using some kind of old computer in the hall that doesn't have more than 256 color on its display.
But seriously, this is nearly luxury.

I didn't think that it'd be so real, so quick, but it is. What most people home would describe a dump (remember, my shower is bucket), is actually a pretty nice place here.

Please come back often as I will document my adventures here. God willing, they will be many, but will be nice ones.

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