After 26 hours of traveling I am settled in my room in Mumbai. I am the honored guests of Rajiv and Payel Patel in an area called Santa Cruz West. It is right in the flight path of Mumbai International Airport.
That I would be listening to airplanes land and take off was told to me in the trip advisor review. But also, as the review told me to expect, my hosts are so sweet and amiable that I feel right at home. Rajiv came to the airport and met me, negotiated with the pre-pay taxi for 10 rupees off my fair because my bag was so small bringing my taxi fare to about $3.80, and made the taxi driver follow him on his motorbike so that I would get to the B & B quickly and without hastle.
Right off the bat I was asked for money while waiting in my cab. A beautiful young woman holding a sleeping baby tapped on the window. I sent her love through my eyes, but did as I had been told by so many and did not give her any money. Ten seconds longer, and I probably would have rolled down the window.
I was met by mosquitoes. The cab driver spit constantly out of the window, just like the woman in my dream had. And just around the corner from my Mumbai home are people sleeping in the streets next to other people who were peeing in the streets as I drove by.
I'm not staying in the slums. But I am staying in a very REAL neighborhood. Nothing about the place we pulled up spoke of hospitality. The room is spare. The bed has one thin blanket (though lots of pillows!) The bathroom and the shower are one room and toilet paper is obviously not the method of choice when it comes to "cleaning up". But that's ok because I already had encountered the spray down method of "clean-up" a the airport, so I'm already an old pro. Granted, I haven't had to use a hole toilet yet.....
As strange and very third world all of this is, I have no desire to switch to the high end of town to the Marriott or something else equally "western". It just feels right here. Of course, I haven't seen it in the daylight....but, most things are scariest in the dark...so I think it might be ok. I shan't be strolling about here, I don't think. But it is a very nice place to hang my hat.