Moving Towards Mumbai

Almost a month past our return home, and there is still more to share of our trip to India. On the trip I tried to jot down notes on hotel stationary to remember our experiences for a more complete recap later. I've ticked off most of my notes, but not all just yet.

One of those stories is how we managed to have dinner courtesy of a group of Canadian judges in Udaipur our first night. The hotel's restaurant was a little odd, as it was essentially a buffet in a banquet room. It gave the distinct impression that we were crashing someone's wedding reception. As we requested a table for four we were asked whether we were with the judge's group. Despite saying no, when our bill came it was curiously very low. Low even for India. Seeing us puzzle over the tab our waiter courteously hurried over, worry in his voice, "Sir, is there a problem? Is it too much?" Jason had already realized our luck, but Tushar was still figuring and assured the waiter not to worry. We identified the group by chatting with our table neighbors, and sheepishly hastened out of the dining room, realizing that we'd passed for Canadian judges.

After Udaipur, we headed to our final stop in India: Mumbai. Flying to Mumbai began with a fastidious inspection of my luggage, meaning unpacking every personal item in my backpack, only to then be denied boarding since the thorough security guards had overlooked one critical detail: the stamp saying my bag had been inspected! Worse, the guard who turned me back was the guy who already knew that I use Neutrogena hand lotion, prefer the Kindle over the Nook, carry nuts and gummi bears for a snack, and organize my travel papers in a green folder. But he acted as though he had no recollection of our personal encounter. UGH! I was so steamed, this was when the travel really broke my resolves. So relaxation was primary on our itinerary in Mumbai's Taj Hotel (including a little magazine page flipping, after I picked up VOGUE India's sari issue!)If you recall the Mumbai Terror Attacks of 2003, you have seen the Taj. It was eerie to come home and pull up the closed-circuit camera footage of the attacks and see the hallways where we had stayed. To confirm how India has repaired and recovered from those attacks there was a far more important American who stayed at the Taj just a week ahead of our visit: President Obama. The news coverage was on every hotel television. I got a kick out of their graphics. Of course, we often ended up looking like that too after being welcomed to our hotels.

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