Mar 1st, 2009
Mumbai is challenging at times, but Mumbai is great. I was even in my first car wreck last night!
Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to get online at internet cafes which is quite limiting for writing blog entries. Wi-fi doesn’t seem to be very common around here.
Found a Flat
I should, however, have more regular internet access starting on Monday, when I move in to my sparkling apartment in Bandra West, which is apparently the part of town where the Bollywood movie stars live and hang out. Exciting times in the world’s fourth largest urban agglomeration!
Bowels Bested, Weekend Wasted
With any luck, I will also have more regular stools by that point as well! What was that I said in my last post? “Stomach bugs be damned?” The bugs must be reading the blog. Normally proud of my intestinal fortitude, battle tested against Peruvian tap water and street food of all shapes, sizes, price levels, and durations in the sun, I’ve been singing the diarrhea song to myself for the last couple days. You know the one: “When you’re sliding into first and you feel a sudden burst, diarrhea! Diarrhea!” Charming, no? It (the song, that is) reminds me of being in elementary school and singing along with my brother. It also gives creed to Seth Stevenson’s prediction that I would certainly get Delhi Belly while I am here in his 5-part article, Trying Really Hard to Like India. It’s worth your time to read.
A less wipeable byproduct of my gastrointestinal grappling and accompanying fever and chills was that I didn’t feel up to going out on either Friday or Saturday night. A pity. Another benefit of traveling slowly: there’s always next weekend.
Additionally, when I was headed back from Bandra in the taxi, bowels and all anxiously awaiting arrival at the hotel in South Mumbai where I have been staying, (it takes about an hour and a half and costs $4.00) we had a car wreck! A big truck just muscled over into our lane and smashed the taxi up against the divider. The driver seemed quite unperturbed by the ordeal. We both saw it coming and we both gave it a “meh” reaction. No words were exchanged between he and I post-accident. I just got a quick glance back from him. He stopped the taxi, the truck kept going without stopping, the people behind him starting honking mercilessly at the thoughtless inconvenience he was causing, and then on we went. We got jolted around a little bit, but the seemingly bullet-proof shit-box taxi amazingly only took cosmetic damage. It kept honking incessantly, belching black smoke like before, and rattling along just fine.
This was actually less stressful than than the verbal assault I received in Hindi from the other taxi driver who got pissed that the only note I had was a 500 Rupee note for a 100 Rupee fare. I could only understand the words “mother choad,” but his facial expression said the rest. While he went to find change, beggar kids came to the windows and tried to sell me books. The first book was the screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire and the second was about Obama. The first wave of kids eventually went away and a heart-breakingly cute 5 or 6 year-old little girl came to the window and attempted a few lines of “Jingle Bells,” followed by some songs in Hindi. She was holding a baby. This is common. It’s rough.
Stay tuned, kids. More to follow. Especially once I have the tubes at my house.