The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Mumbai’



And Now …


In the wee small hours of … the morning, we boarded our plane in Udaipur and headed to Mumbai. It was time for the last stop on our grand India tour / honeymoon. (And thank goodness, because we were worn out at that time and I’m sick of writing about this. You know it’s going to be a good post when I start off with whining.)

The funny thing about the airport experience was that a woman, an Indian woman, walked up and asked me if she was at the right gate for a flight to Mumbai … you’re going to ask the white guy? Lady, thanks, but I’m not fountain of knowledge. We were at the right gate though.


You wouldn’t know it to look at the place, but it was very nice.

When we landed in Mumbai we did one of the most American things you can thing of … we went to a Starbucks. Lauren and I had left very early in the morning, too early for breakfast, but by the time we landed we were more than ready for some food. A blueberry muffin and coffee for each of us and what a thing it is to eat foods you know after two weeks of new foods. I was sad that it was something so cliche as Starbucks, but blueberry muffins are delicious.

Our hotel lobby was so hip there was a no geriatrics sign hanging (hyuck hyuck). There were a few tables, a kitchen area, and almost constantly one or two employees hanging out. The rooms were all right off the lobby so it was quite small, but very modern and cool.

Cruising around town.

Cruising around town.

The one downside to the hotel … there was construction going on. The kind of construction that made it sound as if one of the construction workers was going to accidentally put a hammer through our room wall at any point. In fact, from our room, if we opened any of the shades we stood face to face with the construction workers on their bamboo scaffolding (which appeared to have been constructed on a dare).

In the early afternoon our guide came and met us in the lobby. She was, well, first off, a she, and secondly she was a bit loony in a fun way. For Lauren our guide reminded her of a good friend of hers – the kind of woman that not only takes no ish (that’s the PG word for shi*) from no one, she proactively takes no ish from no one.

One of the dabbawallas

One of the dabbawallas

She understood, partly from us telling her, that we were wiped out feeling. Message received, she had us covered. We did a bit of a driving tour of Mumbai, getting out to view the dabbawallas (the amazingly accurate and low-tech food delivery system), the Gandhi museum, and the public laundry area. Toward the end of our driving tour she told us a number of places to try that were walking distance from our hotel, including a delightful tea room. Lauren was feeling a bit off so we opted for that. We bid her goodbye, enjoyed tea, and then mostly confidently (me) but also full of fear (Lauren and I) we depended on our sense of direction to get back to the hotel. We made it!

The public laundry

The public laundry

Due to the lack of full energy/wellness feeling we had a very low-movement night at the hotel.

The next day we met up with our guide and headed to Elephanta Caves on Elephanta Island which features religious carvings dating from the 5th or 6th century AD. The carvings were beautiful.

View from the boat ride.

View from the boat ride.

On the boat to the island we chatted with some Swedish students who were working in India for an internship/semester abroad kind of thing and they had enjoyed quite the experience thus far. Two of them were very stereotypically Swedish looking – very blonde, very light blue eyes, pale skin. They said they had taken a tour of some slums in Mumbai and a woman literally shoved her baby into the arms of one of the girls for a picture. Lauren and I’s brown hair perhaps kept us from more unique encounters.

One of the carvings.

One of the carvings.

Well … I’m wrapping this trip up in a hurry because, as stated previously, I’m ready for a different kind of thing to write about on Fridays. Telling true stories gets boring – it’s time to go back to oddball nonsense.

High: The carvings in the caves were beautiful and impressive, it is a shame so many were destroyed.

Low: The next “morning” our flight left at 3 am, the driver was a friendly fella who chatted with us and was happy our visit to India went well. The agent was an absolute punk who looked like a very angry, mean, Indian Burt Young.

Our mean-spirited guide, ol Indian Burt.

India Video

I was going to write about Udaipur today buuuuut … I’m feeling lazy. So here’s a video I made.

My Honeymoon, by the Numbers

My wife (holy crap! I’m MARRIED!?!) and I will soon be going on our honeymoon. We are going to India. In preparation for the trip we have both read some books about India (she has read about 5 times more books about India than I have). In the TWO I have read (one fiction, A Fine Balance which is amazing and the other a travel journal sort of affair called Holy Cow) they have both mentioned the country being quite populated. Let’s talk about that.

One of the cities we are getting to visit is Mumbai. Our current home is in Houston, Texas.

Population Density:

  • Houston: 2,197 people per square kilometer (I rounded) (Source)
  • Mumbai: 29,650 people per square kilometer (I rounded) (Source)

FYI: There are 3,280.84 feet per kilometer.

Let’s say every person, standing up, is 2 feet for length (shoulder to shoulder) and 1 foot wide (the end of your belly to the end of your tush).

Given a square that is 3,280.84 feet by 3,280.84 feet … If everyone, measuring 2×1 feet, stood next to each other in this square kilometer then you have, essentially, 3,280.84 rows and 1,640.42 columns. Or, 3,280.84 people 1,640.42 times which is … 5,381,956 people!

column 1 (2 feet)                column 2                     …                     column 1,640.42

row 1 (1 foot)
row 2
row 3

row 3,281


In other words, 5,381,956 people would fit in if you were completely crammed. With that in mind, we’ve got some wiggle room!

I like to dance, and I have long limbs, so I’m going to need a bit of space for my flailing dance moves. Let’s figure out the amount of crazy dancing I can do. For this, each person will have their own block within that square kilometer. In Houston, we would have 2,197 blocks per square km, in Mumbai, there would be 29,650 blocks per square km. So each square in Mumbai will be much smaller – but what are the exact dimensions?

The area for a square kilometer is 10,763,911 feet. If you divide that, it means:

  • Houston: 4,899.368 feet to work with or a square that is approximately 70 feet by 70 feet. That’s some good dancin’.
  • Mumbai: 363.0324 feet to work with or a square that is approximately 19 feet by 19 feet. Plenty of space for dancing.


That’s all well and good. The dance check comes out with a green light. Now, what else? Oh right, the matter of public defecation. Both books have talked about that, and a friend telling us about his first trip to India mentioned seeing that happening right after leaving the airport.

I’ll just leave this chart here for you …

When in Rome …



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