Monday, December 05, 2011

Mumbai!! December 5, 2011

At last, I am truly in India - but not without changing my flight again.  It took me
until 8PM on the 3rd to finally vacate my home of  fourteen years?  Korean
Airlines had no available frequent flyer seats but, thankfully, Cathay Pacific did.
I flew out of San Francisco at 11AM on the 5th, after spending the night at a
Travelodge at the airport.  My taxi driver was a lovely young man from Nepal
( karmic, no? ).  Instead of my anticipated stop in Seoul on the return
( disappointing since I've never been to Korea ), I will spend five days in Hong
Kong in April.  I've been there twice but I won't mind going again.  Hopefully,
I can coax a friend into joining me.

Cathay Pacific, as an airline, is right at the top in terms of service, that's for
sure.  I was treated so nicely, from the wheelchair at check in, to the flight
attendant who met me at the door of the plane and took my bags all the way
to my seat.  Seating was actually comfortable with ample leg room, food was
good, and I had a really nice Indian ( U.S. citizen now ) seat mate who owns
a small hotel in San Francisco.  Regardless of conscientious service, it was a
long 15+ hours flying time from San Francisco to Hong Kong and another 5+
hours from Hong Kong to Mumbai.  I slept off and on, though, and deplaned in
Mumbai, at 2:15AM, telling everyone, "hello, India."  People looked at me as
though I didn't have all my marbles ( well, I don't ).

The sweetest, skinniest little man I ever saw helped me with my wheelchair
and three suitcases and carry on in that monstrous crowd of people.  He
kept a smile on his face throughout and would not let me help at all.  You
should have seen him when I pressed ten U.S. dollars into his hand!  He tried
to give me $5 back, bless his heart.

I was so happy when we got outside and I saw my friend, Santos, waiting with
his nephew in a tiny Suzuki.  Somehow, they managed to get all of us, plus my
belongings into the car and, in less than five minutes, we were at his house.  It
was just as I left it in 1997.

After attending a neighbor's party for a couple of hours and drinking some of
their local wine ( no competition for Napa Valley, I'm afraid ), I finally went to
sleep about 4AM.  I spent a lazy day, visiting with the Santos family and
drinking at least a dozen cups of delicious chai tea ( I'll never order it at
Starbuck's again ).  Lorna made a real feast for dinner - fresh spicy makeral,
chapati, and two wonderful vegetables.

Tomorrow, I'm told, is a Muslim holiday so I'm going out to rent a cell phone
and take in the scene. I'm having fresh young coconut for breakfast.

I'm so happy to be here.

To be continued...with photographs, once I figure out the new camera.


  1. First, I am so excited for you. You are gonna have a blast! I agree Cathay Pacific is top notch and I like their food too. Make sure you have some melon balls, don't lose them though :D

    I am ecstatic that you'll be spending some time in HK. Wish I could join you while you're there. I'll have to win the lottery :)

  2. It already sounds wonderful, Carmen! How I wish I could be with you - I am in spirit. :)

  3. It is so nice to read this, you're finally there! It sounds like a fantastic flight and arrival, and your lively descriptions make it even more enjoyable.

  4. Fantastic! Looking forward to all your accounts and pictures, and recipes.

  5. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Thank you for your effort and keeping in touch, your great way to explain life as it can be. Glad you are glad.
    Can't wait to read about your 'travel journalism' and this great country. Please have a wonderful time.

  6. It's exciting to read about your trip. Traveling so far is the kind of thing I'm not sure I'd ever be brave enough to do. But being able to follow along and read about your adventure makes it almost as if I could.

  7. Sounds like an exciting trip already, Carmen. Have fun!

  8. I'm so glad you are having a good time. Somehow all that time in a plane sounds pretty awful to me.