What I did not post before was that Ned and I were going to spend 3 weeks in India. I decided not to advertise that our house would be empty. I really had a hard time not posting but now that we are home I will share our trip. It was fantastic. I will set up a link for photos.. I took close to 2000 and still need to weed out and label them.
India is a complicated country but one that is beautiful and colorful. Cities are bursting their seams and trying to manage the influx of people from the villages who come for the jobs and the educational opportunities for their children. Side by side, poor and rich live next to each other...literally. Because of the ample manpower, most things are still done by hand rather than machine. Expensive high rises sit next to what we would consider slums. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two... one provides the needed services to the other, but the disparity is glaring. Once you get over the shock, you get to enjoy India. Color is everywhere, old mixes with new. There is a vibrancy that doesn't seem to exist anywhere else.
Day 1 Mumbai
We arrived at the crack of dawn and were met by our car and driver..we had a bit of excitement after our 3 on time flights to get here. They couldn't find a whole cart of luggage...all the priority passengers! Everyone thought it might have gotten left back in Istanbul but while we were filling out the paperwork, it all appeared. We were taken to our hotel, were we checked in, ate some breakfast and crashed for a few hours. We had a tour planned for the afternoon. We wre going to Crawford market which is in the center of what used to be old Mumbai. It is one of the oldest markets around....think souk for those of you who have travelled to the middle east. Thousands of tiny stalls spilling out into the street selling anything you could possibly imagine. The market is divided into sections dedicated to specific goods. So there is a section for fruits and vegetables, clothing, housewares, gold jewelry, silver, etc. Diwali is being celebrated this week and every one and their uncles and cousins are shopping. This is the time of year when people buy new things and give gifts. We do not really know the word crowd..this sea of people is beyond anything we are used to. In narrow twisting alleys this tide of people are fighting bicycles, motor scooters, cars, and the requisite cows to get anywhere. There is a constant honking of horns. I am sure they wear out their horns before the brakes go! Add to the usual items for sale are specialty items for the holiday...sweets, garlands of marigolds,, lanterns, oil lamps, and figures of gods and goddesses. This is a time of year for renewal and blessings for prosperity. This is family time. We survived the crows but almost lost our car and driver. We met our guide at the market and did not know that the drop off point was not going to be the pickup point. Cell phone reception was not good and we could not get hold of the car. As it was starting to get dark we skipped the last part of the tour so we could find the car. I think our wonderful guide thought we were done for..haha..she didn't know we were made of sterner stuff! What should have been about an hours + drive back to the hotel turned into almost 3 hours. With Obama coming to town, security measures were already being put in place for his visit. Traffic was horrible. It is hot and muggy here and this is winter...temp in high eighties with equal percent humidity...although we were told this was unseasonably warm. I am not used to sweating and we were soaking wet by the time we reached our thankfully air-conditioned car. We finally got back to the hotel, ate something for dinner and crashed. Of course because of the 12.5 hour time difference we were going to have to acclimate to the new time. Needless to say we woke up in the middle of the night. We booked another tour for the morning, figuring we could nap in the afternoon.