Double de-icing and two hours late taking off again - weather. Who'd expect that? In Frankfurt? um...
Mumbai? no de-icing equipment. Warm and moist and fragrant. Hammered with tired we look in vain for the A & K guys who, we'd be assured, would meet us on arrival.
Sleeves plucked at with "Car? Best car! Air Conditioned! You come!" we are swarmed. The Taj hotel people take pity on us, grab our bags and the throng falls back respectfully.
"Five minutes - car from the hotel Taj Palace will be here in five minutes. Ten minutes later? "Only five minutes more!"
Half an hour later, two apologetic and rumpled young guys show up - since our flight was late they had been sleeping in the car in the Parking Zoo (good description) and with a warm welcome they swing our heavy bags like kindling into their car.
Mr Toad's wild ride thru the night-time streets of Mumbai - even at 4 a.m. there are joggers, walkers, and traffic. People everywhere, we think. Wait til morning, they assure us - this is nothing. Flights arrive early morning because traffic during the day is hellacious.
Red lights? We didn't stop at one.
The Taj Palace - famous for heartbreaking reasons. Gorgeous.
Out the window more pigeons than I've ever seen-
A yacht harbor with no yachts...
...and The Gateway to India, built to honor visiting British royalty. Irony?
Crowded beyond belief, smoke and jasmine scent the air. Sidewalks teem, traffic seethes, all horns blaring. Beggars tug at our sleeves and pinch their babies to make them cry (who thinks crying babies are more sympathetic?)
We are definitely in Mumbai.