They say altitude can make you emotionally vulnerable, so maybe that’s the cause for my reaction. Parting ways with friends as they head on to Goa, simultaneously, I feel overwhelmingly grateful and glum. These characters make me feel comfortable, safe and lighthearted, so I’m at ease being myself. We always have a good time with lots of laughs and solid conversation. We are moving on from D.C., one by one, but our group of friends continues to be a community of the best kind.
Quick trip into Mumbai
With some time to burn before the return, a driver named Shahrob takes me on a brief tour of the city. Occasionally we drive within arm’s length of a slum where people are washing clothes in buckets, but Mumbai is significantly more clean than other cities we visited this week. There aren’t as many cows wandering the streets, perhaps because there aren’t trash piles for them to graze. It’s a more metropolitan, modern city with recognizable retail like Colors of Benetton and Starbucks. The tall greenery is refreshing, especially along the Arabian Sea coastline. People are swimming, as the water is relatively warm, even in Winter. Summer must be smoking!
Bargaining is the real deal here, similar to shopping for souvenirs in Istanbul. I don’t mind paying slightly high prices for mementos since this trip was relatively inexpensive, but negotiating to get to that price is exhausting. Good thing I learned a few tricks from Haggard the expert haggler this week!
A gentlemanly sendoff
Check-in kiosks are located beyond airport security in India, so be sure to bring a print or electronic copy of your itinerary. Dropping me off at the international terminal, Shahrob waits to ensure I get through security. He radiates kindness as he waves goodbye from across the parking area.
I’d really like to return to India someday, starting with Mumbai and finishing in Dharamsala or the southern region. It’s such a large country and there’s a lot to experience!