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

Typical scene on a busy street in Mumbai.

It’s nice. The hotel, the service, the views of the Arabian Sea, and the smell of fresh flowers everywhere are 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 pretty remote locations. 
An endless array of shops littered the sidewalks.

Although we will visit many remote locations while in India, we anticipate seeing life 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 strive to attain. Instead, we’ll be observers rather than the usual participants. 
In many countries, these little vehicles for hire referred to as tuk-tuks, 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 an actual test of my newly found endurance. I managed well, sleeping 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 The second flight was on an older plane with an outdated video screen, no USB pugs-in for digital equipment and poorly tasting food.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 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 Hanoi, Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand, or Denpasar, Bali. There were many 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 night, 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.

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 spiciest chicken I’d ever had, along with chicken sausages and streaky bacon. Tom had two eggs Benedict (minus the sauce) and bacon. 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 to decide how 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,

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

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

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