Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Trip To Mumbai (Bombay) - Part Two

Waiting for us outside of the terminal, in a group of other taxi and other professional drivers, was our "designated driver" for the week, a wonderfully competent man by the name of "Ganesh".  I don't know what it is about us and our drivers....but - they always seem to be named after some very important gods!  "Our" Ganesh had a little bright orange plastic idol of his namesake on the dashboard of his - along with my constant litany of Our Fathers and Hail Marys - I figured that we were covered across the wide Indian deity spectrum.  You learn very quickly that fervent prayer while in the midst of Mumbai traffic is not a luxury, it is a necessity. 

I never thought I'd say this....but traffic at home in Hyderabad is a smooth and easy as a merry-go-round ride compared to the streets of Mumbai.  The lines painted on the street, while all-over-India are merely "suggestions" rather than actual "lane markers".  It was in Mumbai that I finally figured out why it is that there are fairly high stone-and-concrete median-walls in the middle of roads to separate traffic going in opposite directions.  If these walls were not there....whichever direction the most cars are heading in would win the battle and take over - - literally pinching everyone else off the street!!!

Our first official taste of a Bombay Traffic Jam (a good name for a rock-band, I'm thinking!) came on the way to the hotel.  The domestic airport (the smaller of the two in Mumbai - - the other being the International Airport a little further up the road) is pretty-much in the central area of this enormous city of almost 14-million people.  "Downtown" - the Old City - is to the south and on a peninsula - surrounded on three sides by water...on the east by a bay known as Thane Creek and the Arabian Ocean along the other two.  Our hotel - the Ramada Powai - up in a more residential area and with its own "convention center" - was further to the north.  Looking on a map you might think a 15-20 minute drive, tops.  You WISH!!

There was stop-and-go traffic (more "stop" than "go"!) all the way to the hotel.  Frankly speaking, the streets are simply too narrow in Bombay...but there's not a whole lot they can do about this because of the crowding...they have tried to build a few strategically-placed "flyovers" (long "bridges" of highway that run over some of the main streets and roads - Hyderabad has sucessfully done several of them ...and they seem to work...) - but even the flyovers are packed during peak traffic hours.  "They" say it's 45-minutes to the hotel from the airport.  It was 1.5 hours before we arrived.

We stayed at the Ramada Powai - - which really was a nice complaints!!  The restaurant was nice...the bar was really nice...and the breakfast buffet was complementary - - three things to always look for in a hotel!  We called Krishna at home to makes sure that Beloved was O.K. - - and that our friend Aubrey had some by to pick up her dog, "Loki" the Yorkshire Terrier that we had been watching the week before.  Krishna gave us the "Bee is good, sir" report that I always like to hear.  And then we went to sleep.  Amy had an 8:00 A.M. pick-up time for her recruiting trip to the Indian School of Business - and I was planning my day around going to Elephanta Island to see the caves and the enormous Shiva temples carved out of natural stone on the island. 

Here are the photo links to my Facebook Albums:

Our Trip to Bombay 2010

Our Visit From Loki the Yorkie

More to come in parts 2 and 3 - - next: "The Indian School of Badminton and Elephanta Island!"


  1. I read part two blog. It is very interested I hope you also write a part three about your journey. I will wait for new one.
    Best Regards
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