I’m here! My first impressions of India pretty much align with what people told me ahead of time: lots of everything, rich and poor side-by-side, incredible density, crazy traffic, amazing and terrible smells. Mostly it’s just really exciting to be somewhere so different and try to make sense of how things work here.
My apartment, which I temporarily share with A. and M., is located in the Bandra neighborhood in the center/north of Mumbai. My office is nearby, just a mile away and I can either walk or take an auto rickshaw. The rickshaws are everywhere here and easily the most iconic vehicle on the street. They aren’t allowed south of Bandra for some reason, but I haven’t been into the central city yet so they’ve been swarming around me since I got here. They’re similar to a Vespa Ape that you might see in Italy, except with seating for 3 and meters for hire.
It’s working out okay to share an apartment since A. can show me the ropes and answer questions. One of the new things with the apartment is that every morning a women comes to clean and make food for the day. That’s right, everyday my kitchen gets refilled with a daily supply of homemade Indian food. Speaking of food, I haven’t gone for a proper meal at a restaurant yet, so far it’s been really delicious, whether home cooked or takeout. I haven’t tried the street food yet, and some of it I should definitely avoid, but I’m trying to work up to it. I watched the No Reservations episode from Mumbai but it was pretty uninspiring — he mostly focused on gross out foods like brain. Come on Tony, don’t get all Andrew Zimmern on me.
Monsoon season has been living up to its reputation as well. It rains every day, many times throughout the day, and at least a once a day it’s hard enough to completely drench anyone caught outside even if they have an umbrella. It can be fun if you’re expecting it, which everyone is. Cricket games in the street continue as if nothing has changed and the traffic plows through the flooded streets unabated. It is quite nice since it cools things down, but it makes it a bit harder to explore the city.