So we at last arrive in India and into Mumbai. Sunday Morning 6am, Michelle has arranged for one of the drivers at school to bring herself to the airport and give us all a lift back to the hotel.
Driving to the hotel took about 35 minutes and on the way we passed the biggest slum in Mumbai. This is where Slum Dog Millionaire was filmed. But for me, I had just watched a great film on the plane called ‘Half Ticket’, and when we drove past I could imagine one of the characters there in real life.
Got to the Hotel, called Hotel Jewel of Chembur. It seemed a great place and all the staff were friendly on arrival.
We had to be booked into two double rooms next to each other, I was sharing with Andrew.
So after we had placed our stuff and cases in the room, it was time to venture outside. To say it look busy and dangerous would be putting it mild. We were all suffering from jet lag, but were determined to stay awake.
Chembur, a large eastern suburb was our location and it is known for its street markets and selling of fruit and fabric. Michelle had been here now for two weeks and was happy showing us three lost dogs around. The first thing that I noticed, and hadn’t remembered that clearly from last time in India, was the roads. There are no real pavements so everything and everyone is fight and dodging to move along. We were scared – rikshaws missing our ankles by centimetres. Michelle said ‘don’t stop put your hand out and walk’. I am thinking ‘really will they stop?’ But she was sort of right and don’t ask me how but vehicles and people just move together.
Michelle explained that it was a time for Ganesha festival, one celebrating one of the many Hindu gods, the elephant headed god and people were celebrating everywhere. She explained that recently there is music every night, loud drumming going onto the small hours of the night, every night. Great! I think just what I need with this jet lag.
So that very night, just as we are thinking it might be time for us to get something small to eat and then hit the sheets, the drumming starts, but guess what? It sounds so loud it can only be coming from our hotel.
We walk down, see the music, recognise some the waiters of the restaurant and see everyone is dancing. I walk through the kitchen to an outside space, where we are all welcomed. So all wearing white sailor-like hats, it’s time to dance.
Michelle and I are given chairs and the boys just join in with the real jumping dance movements.
So much for the jet lag, just join in, and most of all ‘Welcome to India’