Monday, June 4, 2012

I made it to Mumbai!


Finally landed safely into Mumbai! The flight was pretty uneventful which is a good thing - ate all my meals, watched 3 movies and catnapped.

I was greeted by the heat and humidity of Mumbai the moment I stepped onto the exit ramp. Wow!! It was midnight and felt like heat of day. I'm not looking forward to having to endure this tomorrow. Ugh.

I got in and out of immigration pretty quick. I have to say that the Laissez Passe helps move things through fast.



I had decided to carry all my luggage with me versus checking in as I knew I would be arriving into Mumbai late and I did not want to have to wait around the carousel and get my luggage. That turned out to be a good move as I was able to exit the airport quickly.

Then came the challenge. Finding my driver. I had arranged for airport pickup from the hotel. The moment I exited the terminal building, I was greeted an enormous line.....actually two lines, of drivers, holding up placards with passenger names on them. One of them was to be mine. I went up one line and didn't see my name. I went down the other line and didn't see my name either. I repeated again and still no luck. I was just getting ready to reach into my pack and get the phone number for the driver when this young man asked me which hotel I was looking for. I told him Fort Residency and handed him the sheet of paper with the driver's name on it. He kindly called the number and one phone number led to another. Not looking good. About this time, another Indian man walked up and said he was with Fort Residency and then asked me if I was the one arriving on BA 137. That's when I knew he was legit and I thanked the young man who tried to help me and I walked away with the driver towards the airport parking lot. There, he handed me over to another man who turned out to be the driver. I got into the front seat of the van. It was air conditioned and it felt good!! I introduced myself to the driver and asked him his name - Dinesh.


It would be about an hour long ride to the hotel. A short distance from the airport, we stopped and picked up another passenger. It was a bit odd since he was no where near the airport. A short distance later, we deposited him in front of his hotel.

As we drove along, Dinesh and I chatted. His English is remarkably good and we had a wonderful time talking with one another. The hour flew by and before I knew it, we had arrived at the hotel.

There were two men already in the reception area- one was the bell man and the other the receptionist. It only took a few minutes to get me checked in and the bell man took me up to my room - one of the newly renovated rooms. The most important thing was to get the air conditioning going as the room was swelteringly hot and after a few minutes of being in it, I was already starting to sweat. I knew that if it stayed that way, I would not be able to sleep. I was tired after the long trip and if I didn't get a good night's sleep, my one and only full day in Mumbai would be a disaster. It took a while but the room eventually cooled down. I took a few minutes to freshen up and get into my pj's but I think I still had a ton of adrenaline in my system - too excited being back in India! I tossed and turned and tossed and turned. Eventually, I did fall asleep.