Earlier today, I arrived in Mumbai (via London), the team’s first stop in India. The first flight, which departed NY in the wee hours of Thursday morning, was accompanied by no less than five screaming toddlers, but aside from the unexpected melody, the flights were relatively uneventful. Thankfully, there were no major delays or turbulence, and moving through customs was relatively straight forward.
Upon arriving in Mumbai, I was pleasantly surprised by the general lack of craziness that I had been primed to expect upon arrival in India’s capital. It was a relief to be greeted by our local contact Shruti and meet my first team member, Nina, in person. Traffic immediately leaving the airport, was not so different than that which you would see in any major metropolitan city. However, upon leaving the immediate vicinity of the airport, the roads quickly became a frenzied scene… Imagine, if you will, your busiest highways, without lanes or traffic signals, and all of the motorists driving like NY city taxi cab drivers. Then. throw in some stretches of road where traffic is literally going in both directions in the same lanes. Top that off with nearly constant blaring of car horns, and you begin to get the idea. It was at once exhilarating and frightening!
This evening was my first real Indian meal with the team. Already, I am in vegetarian heaven! Our first dinner was at an all vegetarian restaurant, and after a few false starts, attempting to ask our waiter about menu items, we ended with a delicious meal. It started off with aloo tikki, followed by buttery and garlic naan, chana masala, paneer, & other vegetarian delights. Aloo tikki was an immediate success across the team. For the curious, “aloo” means potato, and “tikki” means small croquette, so essentially, a small potato pancake with many spices, served hot. Yummy! These are certainly not my grandmother’s potato pancakes 🙂