Tuesday, April 14, 2009
We had a couple of friends come down for a visit this past weekend, and we had a great time. They’re living in New Delhi right now, one working at the embassy, and one telecommuting to a part-time version of an old job in DC (I’ve become a serious fan of telecommuting, by the way). It was really good to get together with some friends we don’t get to see that often, but that we really care about and connect well with. When they emailed to say they were coming to Mumbai and wanted a recommendation for a place to stay, we laughed and insisted they stay with us. I mean, seriously, if we’re going to go to all the work of making a guest-room presentable, we may as well have guests every now and then, right?
The day they arrived (Good Friday), we wandered down through one of the areas of town that has historically been inhabited by Catholics. Technically, all of Bandra falls into that category, but it’s in the southernmost part of the area that this is still noticeably true. On top of a hill there is Mount Mary Church – we tried to go in and catch a bit of the Good Friday services, but the place was truly jam-packed, with people spilling out of every door. I guess the super-populated aspect of India is not limited to certain groups. We never even made it into the church, getting stuck about 10 layers of people back from the actual doorway. Between the number of people and the oppressive heat, we ended up walking just a short while longer before catching a rickshaw and retreating to our apartment.
It turns out this was the theme of the weekend. On Saturday, our friends had an event to go to that was being hosted by an acquaintance of theirs from Delhi, so the husband and I stayed behind. I didn’t leave the house at all until early evening, when we went down to south Bombay to meet up with our friends when their event was finished. We hung out with them for a few hours, showed them the refurbished stairwell/dome area of the Taj Mahal Hotel, had a casual dinner at Leopold’s Cafe, and returned home to the air conditioning.
On Easter Sunday, our friends got an early start and headed south to Malabar Hill for a bit of sightseeing and then met up with us for an air-conditioned – and very yummy – brunch. There was some talk early on about trying to go to a church, but after Friday’s experience, we admitted defeat. The plan after brunch had been to go from there to wander around some of the old parts of South Bombay, but again the heat overcame all of us and we retreated to the apartment. We did manage to brave the outdoors long enough to get us and them some boxes of mangoes, though.
Now we’re back to work, and waiting for those mangoes to ripen. I wish I knew where to get some good sticky-rice so I could do the mango and sticky-rice and coconut milk thing. While sitting somewhere air-conditioned, of course. Mmmmm.