>Travel Pictures


Second view of life in Bombay

One of our introductions to life here was the dreaded trip to the FRRO - Foreigners' Registration Office (I missed what the other "R" was for). This entailed a looooong trip downtown and 3+ hours waiting in an office for people to hand copy information twice that had already been submitted electronically. If nothing else, the people watching on the trip down was pretty incredible.

We saw street cleaners working (literally on their hands and knees) to sweep garbage from the streets. It was interesting, and I'm sure based on absolutely nothing, but I wonder if one's skin color here is reflective of their status, as most of those we see doing more manual labor are darker. That might be a holdover from families belonging to specific castes, and thus passing down physical traits, or it could just be my built-in Westerner's prejudice.

We passed along the outskirts of an incredible shantytown, where we saw everything from people washing themselves in the street to working on ships' (not little  boats') propellers. Alea liked the guy's frizzy white hair (above), while I was taken by the little boy looking out of his doorway.

We never found out what those boys were peeking at (maybe something to do with that 22,000 volts!), but this other guy sure seems content to sit out in the street, read, and check his messages while his jeans are washed!

Laundry is a recurring theme early in our visit here, as we not only have seen men working hard at getting it done, but the women are also involved. The first two were seen on the same trip downtown, while the other one is laying out clothing to dry on the rock beach right down the road from where we live. Susan and I took a walk one Sunday while the kids chilled at home, and we saw here laying these out. The ground was filthy (as was the water - no swimming anywhere around here!), but it looked like the sun was going to do its job.

All around town people are usually working pretty hard to make ends meet as best they can. It is interesting that there usually doesn't seem to be the envy or resentment towards people who are orders of magnitude better off (like we are). Our experiences here have been pretty uniformly positive here - from the painters and carpenters who work around the school - 

to the rickshaw drivers who have been helpful and honest so far - to the salesmen at shops (who seem to know that it is a good thing to foster a positive relationship with the expats at the school. What they might not make in a single exorbitant sale they will more than make up for in volume) - 
to the roasted corn salesman at the corner and the friendly guards at our building (who are often engaged in a quite serious game of cricket when we get home from work!)

Everywhere we look - from the high rise apartments we can see from our roof to the fishing village that is literally just around the corner from us - this city appears to be a fascinating place. Hopefully we can deal with the traffic enough to enjoy and explore our new home!

To the main India page
To the Stutz's Welcome Page