Today we disembark the cruise ship. We have traveled 27,504 nautical miles in 83 days. It is hard to believe that this leg of the trip is over. We will miss the safety of the cruise ship and the convenience of being able to eat, drink and be merry within a 5-minute walk of our stateroom. On the other hand, the ship is preparing to enter pirate waters as it makes its way to Egypt and the Suez Canal. Pirate drills have already been practiced by the crew and access to open decks has been lined with barbed wire.
There are lots of people in India. In fact, it will surpass China in population in a few years. The sad part is that in a population of 20 million people, half them are homeless and left begging on the streets. On our way to the airport a lady holding her baby came up to our car tapping profusely on our window pointing to her mouth and asking us for money; being stuck in a traffic jam there was nothing to do but sit in that uncomfortable situation as we told her no. The good news however is that in an effort to keep its people working, every service is broken into tasks and each task is performed by a different person. For example, we hire a car to travel to the airport for our trip to Delhi, India. One person met us in the terminal and helped us through Customs. We are passed off to another person who rides in the car to get us through the harbor security checks. Another person drives us to the airport where we are handed off to fourth gentleman who helps us check-in with the airline.
For the largest city in India, Mumbai airport is really antiquated. Planes wait in the distance and we must ride a shuttle bus from the terminal and then walk up stairs to board. As it is an evening flight, we are served a small coleslaw sandwich and a bottle of water. The flight to Delhi is uneventful and we land 2 hours later. We are picked up by our tour company, Go-Delhi. The weather is Delhi is cooler and less humid than what we have been experiencing. It feels good!
We experience Indian life at night (8:00 pm) as we travel to the hotel. The air is dusty as the streets are well worn or non-existent. Streets are filled with cars, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, bicycles and packed buses as individuals return home. Men linger on the street to discuss the events of their day. As we approach one street, we observe strings of lights on walls and buildings and a crowd of people. Our driver explains that this is the 7th day of a nine-day Hindu festival honoring the goddess of power.