Notes From The Road: Bombay Days

When I left for this trip, I was oddly concerned that I had lost my sea legs. It’s been a year and a half since I slept in a barn in Bolivia. What if I forgot how to navigate airports all of a sudden? And what if I spontaneously became afraid of tuk tuks and unknown vegetables? And maybe I’d forgotten how to haggle!?Not so.

I also, apparently, still retain my ability to fall asleep on a 15 hour flight, sitting in that God-forsaken middle seat, between two men intent on monopolizing the arm rests. Never fear, friends. With some exaggerated sighing and pointy elbows I was able to wrestle back my share of armrest real estate.
After mistakenly filling out my landing card in red ink (unacceptable!) I wandered out of the Mumbai airport to find my sweet friend Latha waiting for me. We ducked into a tiny cab and began winding our way through the Dusserha revelers. We made it to Latha’s lovely flat in Bandra where I promptly passed out on her couch. And then woke up at 6 pm the next day.

Β 

I wandered around Bandra, checking out the promenade and the million lovers canoodling along the rocks. I successfully navigated the ATM, woefully misunderstanding the exchange rate and withdrawing what I thought was an epic amount of money, only to later discover was actually $50.
Late that night Latha, her husband and I went out for dinner, where in I had the mildest version of curry that easily equated to a Minnesotan’s “super extra spicy.” We gossiped about blogs, discussed the Indian head bobble (it doesn’t mean yes or no) and that bit in Slumdog Millionaire where the kid is blinded to become so he’ll be a more successful beggar (sadly, based in fact).
Today, I took a taxi into downtown Mumbai to meet Latha and a friend for lunch and practice my haggling/ignoring skills. Thus far I am an excellent ignore-er.

I bought my first salwar kameez and successfully fought the urge to buy the harem pants in every color. They’re the love child of skinny jeans and our harem pants-style shorts and I’d love to wear them all with a ribbed tank, a pile of long, skinny necklaces, cute leather sandals and a big cuff of a bracelet.

Sadly, wearing them without the accompanying tunic is culturally inappropriate here – the equivalent of wearing your jeggings with a cropped top and pretending it’s an outfit. And I’m not that girl.

Next week: 24 hour train ride down to Bangalore! It’s going to be just like The Darjeeling Limited, right?

P.S. Do you want a postcard, package or thai blessing in your name while I travel?

25 Comments

meghana

welcome to india sarah!!eeeeeee!!!!!!!you are going to meet my family soon, iam so excited!wish i could have been there!have fun and think of me everytime you eat:)

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Ellie Di

*swoon* (First of many, I'm sure)

The pictures are so beautiful, and it sounds like you're getting your travel-legs back just fine. Adventures ahoy!

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Alyssa

Duuude so awesome!
You should prooooooobably buy a million pairs of harem pants anyway are they way cheaper there than the ones you can find on etsy for like $60? I'd totally take some off your hands for you!
Looks so sweet there! The food must be the best!

That's also pretty funny that wearing harem pants without a tunic is like jeggings and a regular shirt. Totally awesome.

Have so much fun!!

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Polka Princess

Welcome 2 India dear!! I see that u have had a wonderful time in Mumbai…..am sure u'll like Bangalore too…specially the weather! Are u coming down to Kolkata??? Then I'll surely be your guide here! πŸ˜€

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Sarah Von Bargen

Thanks for the all the lovely comments, guys! I can't take credit for the pictures sadly – I'm not on top of my game enough to get mine uploaded. These are flickr photos I found by searching 'mumbai' πŸ˜‰

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Sarah Von Bargen

Thanks for the all the lovely comments, guys! I can't take credit for the pictures sadly – I'm not on top of my game enough to get mine uploaded. These are flickr photos I found by searching 'mumbai' πŸ˜‰

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Zia Madeira

For you who wish to hang out at home watching bollywood and/or gardening in style and comfort (especially on hot days!), may I suggest libasdesigns.com
I swear, I have no affiliation. Just love.
They have great suits (salwar kameez) for great prices, as well as fancier wear.

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Angela

I'm with Alyssa – I would totally help you out if you wound up with too many pairs of harem pants. πŸ™‚

It sounds like a great time so far. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! I'm looking forward to hearing more!

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Dee

My friend basically wore the harem pants outfit you described when we went to a music festival. She looked so comfortable, yet cool and stylish. She would just add or take off layers depending on the weather (West-coast weather isn't exactly reliable!

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