Many of you are aware I recently had a business trip to India. It was a very interesting (and intimidating) experience. From the time I got off the plane in Mumbai. After roughly 18 hours of travel, I had a nearly 8 hour layover in Mumbai. This meant a hotel. Being properly informed, I attempted to have a car at the airport to pick me up, as the locals are notorious about over charging unsuspecting tourists. Unfortunately, I got my bags, and there was no car for me or from the hotel. This made for a dicey situation. As I searched for the car, I asked a local police officer, who shooed me out of the airport. At this point, I confronted a mass of people, that even understanding India is heavily populated, I was totally unprepared for. As I continued my search for the car which was not around, I came to the realization that I would need to get a cab any way possible and hope for the best. Well, that probably wasn't the best idea either in retrospect. In the end, I spent over $100 on a cab ride of about 10 minutes. For comparison, I acquired a car and driver for a full day and only paid about $140.
The traffic was simply outrageous. From what I could tell, the only real road rule was if the vehicle is bigger than you, you should slow down. There are few lights, no road signs and no road markings. Everyone drives anywhere they want and they share the road with people (even kids), hand carts, chickens, dogs, goats, donkeys, oxen (also used for transportation), cows, horses (also used for transportation), camels (again, transportation), elephants (you guessed it), monkeys, basically, anything and everything. Not only that, but they do all of these things while driving 60 mph with the slightest clearance. I actually saw a family of 4 all riding the same motorcycle. The two year old on the handle bars, Dad driving, Mom sitting side saddle on the back with both hands on the baby. Crazy I tell you.
Sightseeing was interesting however. It was a terrible time to visit the area I was in, but you can see why people would like it there. There is a lot of trash, but that is mostly due to the amount of people I think. I did get a chance to see a cave which was carved in 0 BC and updated between 6 and 7 BC. Just amazing how this beautiful work was done so long ago and is still in such great shape.
I also went to some typical local areas (a hill station, a dam and several other small, out of the way spots).
I spent some time in a local museum which had some very interesting artifacts, and took a drive through the original downtown area which was all completely wooden buildings. Aside from these things, it was amazing how the areas were built up (many spots being simply shacks with tarps for ceilings or walls) and to just have a general idea of how things came to be.
In the end, it was a good experience, and I was sitting in the airport thinking about returning when I was bit by a mosquito. Assuming I don't get Malaria or some other such noxious disease, I might consider going back someday...
Pictures are located here. Enjoy!!!