Monday, October 16, 2006

Mumbai, India

I have access to the Internet from the apartment over here and am writing some first impressions.

The "street security" in India in comparison with Brazil is amazingly good. The level of poverty here is times bigger, which means many more poor people on the street, but on the contrary the level of violence is many, many times less. There is simply no reason to worry about people grabbing your stuff or assaulting you with knives or guns. Well, not to say that it cannot happen, but it's very much unlike Brazil nowadays.

Mumbay isn't really high-tech. The cabs here for example are models that are from the fifties and I have trouble getting in because of the miniature size. The meters are from the same era I guess, not electronic but mechanical. Interesting side-note is that the taxi's do not have side-mirrors. Probably would be a burden because the people here drive very close to one another. Without a car horn you would not get very far.

India has humor too. And a good deal of it, but always still remaining polite and good taste. We were in the car yesterday and my host told me that his wife no longer allowed him to get upset in the car. So he said that from now on he will tell people that cut him off or do silly things in traffic: "Thank you! May your mother have many more children like you! I really appreciate this". Just shows a bit of the easy-going nature of the Indians that I have experienced so far.
Well, the photo here is taken just somewhere along the road in Bombay. There were 2 children playing close by and of course they were asking for some rupies afterwards. The city here, I feel, is not close to any measure of the real India, which we will only start seeing from Wednesday, but it is a very good introduction to let us take it easy and get used to it.

It's easy to get money here as well. Just go to a money-point and get cash. The outside of buildings can look rather impoverished, but once inside in a bank for example you can be surprised by majestic looks. This also works the other way. You can have majestic looking nice buildings with very poor furniture and looks inside.

The weather is very humid, like the Asian tropical weather you get in Singapore and Indonesia. Brazil is less so. The temperature is probably about the same, should not differ too much.

Going for lunch now... seeing some more this afternoon and getting adjusted in the timezone and all.

[EDIT] I've had to upload to a different server first, because uploads over this link in connection with blogspot don't work. Images now being served from googlepages instead.

[EDIT for guys at work] Check out the T-shirt!



Ranjan said...

The level of poverty here is times bigger, which means many more poor people on the street, but on the contrary the level of violence is many, many times less

That very much true buddy, you will find half the mumbai living in slumps but these slumps dont produce criminals, infact these people are more helpful than those who live in posh bunglows and travel in expensive cars.

Have a pleasent stay in India!

Anonymous said...

G, no fotograph ?

Gerard Toonstra said...

Hiya Ranjan,

You may be right, but on the other side not producing any problems can be problematic for those people to create progress, the idea being here that for as long as there are problems to be dealt with, you induce change. If no one complains, nothing changes.

The thing I could hardly understand about India is the way how people find comfort in their situation and accept it as is. I'm not used to that concept at all.

As you can see though, I'm very new in your country. So please give me some time to explore these concepts further.

JMaior said...

I know this uniform! have a nice time!

Gerard Toonstra said...

"Veste a camisa da empresa" ->

E por ai mesmo, ne?