Arrival in India…Long travel day…We survived with flying colors!…New month…New life…

Typical scene on busy street in Mumbai.

It’s really nice. The hotel, the service, the views of the Arabian Sea, and the smell of fresh flowers everywhere is breathtaking. As most of our long term readers are well aware, this isn’t how we usually travel.

We often live among the locals, frequenting their shops, cooking with their local ingredients and dining in their favorite restaurants while living in fairly remote locations. 
An endless array of shops littered the sidewalks.

Although we will visit many remote locations while in India, we anticipate to see life as it is in this unique and highly cultural country. 

However, we’ll exist in relative comfort and luxury both while on the upcoming train, the Maharajahs Express, which we’ll board tomorrow, and the subsequent hotels and restaurants where we’ll stay and dine in the next two months, all four and five stars.

Despite living finely during our travels in India, doing so won’t necessarily provide us with the perspective we always strive to attain. Instead, we’ll be observers rather than the usual participants. 
These little vehicles for hire, referred to as tuk-tuks in many countries are known as rickshaws here in India.

We can live with this since the path we’ve chosen will be safer and more convenient during this leg of our worldwide journey, blissfully continuing after somewhat of a hiatus as I recovered from cardiac bypass surgery.

The 33-hour travel day was a true test of my newly found endurance. I managed well, able to sleep a little on the two night flights while we both entertained ourselves well during the over eight-hour layover in London Heathrow Airport.
Rickshaws are ready and waiting for weary passengers.

During the second flight from London to Mumbai, I sat next to a lovely woman born in India, now living in London. She was on her way to visit friends and family. Daisy’s intellect and usual dry British-influenced sense of humor made the last flight more tolerable.

We flew on British Airways on both flights. The first was on a newer plane with many fine amenities, although we’d booked economy class. The second flight was on an older plane with an outdated video screen, no USB pugs-in for digital equipment and poorly tasting food. But, at least we were fed a few times during our over 20 hours of flight time.
This red car, which delivered the bride was decorated with fresh flowers.

Yes, we were exhausted but we both made a point of doing everything we could to keep our blood flowing; walking about the cabin every few hours, wearing compression stockings, drinking plenty of fluids and sleeping whenever possible amid the crying babies and toddlers. 

As meticulously planned by our travel agent Rajiv, a rep and a driver were awaiting us at the t the massive and beautiful Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport exit holding up a sign with our names on it, 

Yesterday afternoon, the hotel was prepping for a wedding held last night. We were able to watch the festivities from our hotel room window. It was a gorgeous and colorful Indian wedding, a sight to behold.

Immigration went smoothly. Tom had to have his fingerprints taken while I did not.
The officer explained, “Visitors of your advance age do not have to leave their
fingerprints.” Oh.

The drive from the airport to the hotel was not nearly as hectic as we’d anticipated. 
It certainly wasn’t any busier than the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand
or in Denpasar, Bali. There were lots of close calls, honking and motorbikes darting 
in and out of traffic, but this was normal for us to see and we weren’t taken aback or
shocked by this, as some travelers may have been.

During the wedding ceremony…

Last night, in an attempt to avert jet lag, we didn’t eat dinner. To us, it was nighttime and neither of us was hungry. Instead, we went to bed early (after 
a short afternoon nap and shower) although we both awoke several times 
during the night, overall we both slept well. This morning we were refreshed and 
ready to continue on.

The included breakfast in the hotel was delicious with many Indian favorites some
of which I tried when the chef explained what I could and couldn’t eat. They had 
the best tasting, and spiciest chicken curry I’ve ever had along with poached eggs, 
chicken sausages and streaky bacon. Tom had eggs Benedict (minus the sauce),
bacon, and a donut. He was content.

We zoomed in for a better view of the wedding nuptials.

Now, as we wait for our room to be cleaned, we’re sitting in the lounge in the lobby.
Once our room is cleaned we’ll go through all of our stuff and decide if we can 
lighten our load sufficiently to comply with weight restrictions for the four 
upcoming domestic flights ahead of us during the 55-night private tour of India.

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 am, we’ll be transported from our hotel to a luxury
hotel/palace where the group of passengers for the upcoming Maharajahs Express
will meet for an introduction as to what’s ahead for our week-long train journey.

Most likely, tomorrow, I’ll upload a short post with some photos of the train 
and our cabin and begin the process of sharing the many wonders along 
the way.

Please check back. We can’t wait to share all of this with our reader/friends.

Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, February 1, 2019:

This gentle little soul is “Little’s Friend.”  He stops by each day without Little to see what’s going on.  He’s easy to spot with his extra tiny tusks, much smaller than Little’s from which he derived his name. For more photos, please click here.