Wednesday, August 12, 2009
First Look Mumbai
We are here, we are here, we are here!! That's a quote from 'Horton Hears a Who' for the those Suessically challenged. I was thinking of that as we dove into the mass of humanity that is Mumbai. So many people, and so many vehicles crammed into what is a fairly small place, except that it takes you over an hour in traffic to traverse just a little of it. But more on that later. We had a great flight, long, but fairly pleasant. We both had complete rows to ourselves so slept for a big chunk of it. We were attended to by a trio of wonderful airline stewards who loved the fact that we were going to Mumbai to start a family and took very good care of us. The only thing wrong with the flight was that it was very late leaving because of weather, and then we had to circle Mumbai a few times because a dog got on the runway. So by the time we got in it was 1:30AM instead of 9PM. Then when we got to our hotel, Steve realized that we had left his passport at the currency exchange back in the airport (The guy there never returned it after making a copy!) so he had to take the car service back there to get it. Meanwhile I settled us in to our hotel. Today we got up and after breakfast walked over to Rotunda, (that's the clinic). The place is great, all the nurses and assistants are very helpful. There's a big Ganesh (the elephant headed god, son of Shiva, remover of all obstacles) by the front door, and a mezuzah on the door frame. Feeling very comfortable, all bases covered. All went well there. There's no big news to tell, but we'll let you know when there is, God willing.
After, we went searching for coffee and finally found a nice Cafe Lavazza place. Good caffeine at last. Then had some wonderful Indian veg food for lunch. Back to the hotel on a tuktuk (one of the little three wheeled motor rickshaws that rule the streets of Northern Mumbai. Then a hour cab ride in traffic downtown to Balbunath, a big Shiva temple, one or two downpours, lots of sun, and then another hour and half cab ride up to an Italian Veg restaurant called Little Italy. I don't think I can do justice to the constant movement of the mass of people in the streets. It's like a more chaotic New York, with really bad air quality and lots of horn honking. Drivers use the horn here just as a way to announce their presence, whether it's needed or not. And everyone does it. The best thing I think so far about the city is the attitude of the people. Everyone smiles at you. They flirt with you as well, and offer to pose for pictures, but mostly, they smile. One of the tuktuk drivers adjusted his mirror just so that he could look at us in the back...and smile. There also seems to be very little theft, you don't feel like you're being scammed all the time, and when you ask for help, people actually are happy to do so. OK, jet lag is finally catching up. I'll just put in some pics. Oh, one last thing, since we stated this with a reference to a children's book, I'll finish up with another. One odd thing is, I keep looking at every person who's Indian and thinking about what their parents look like. This was a phenomenon that we both experienced as we were trying to choose the egg donor. The funny thing is that when I was in Cleveland just a few months ago, I was living in a building downtown, very near Cleveland State University, and the building was filled with students from India and Pakistan. It was sort of a South Asian dorm. This was right in the middle of trying to choose, and I kept staring at everyone. I get on the elevator with 3 or 4 Indians and I would just stare, completely unconsciously. When I would catch myself, I would start to apologize, but then how do you explain, "Well, I'm staring at you because all I have to go on as I chose the biological mother-donor for our child with my partner is a few scant pictures and some basic educational and medical information, and I keep comparing you to the pictures we are looking at." But as you can see, it wasn't very effective. Last evening in Newark Airport, I had the realization that it was an odd version of that book 'Are You My Mother?' that I could entitle 'Are You My Child's Biological Mother?'
OK, tried to post a few pix but it wasn't working. Promise more soon.