We have arrived in India via a red eye flight on Egypt Air between Friday and Saturday. Now were are adjusting to the 3-and-half hour time difference, the higher humidity, and new room-mates. Well that last is just for the students since "the family" triple stays the same.
If you have seen photos of Mumbai in National Geographic or elsewhere you have some idea of what we saw driving in from the airport. I think that much more than the few days we stay here would be needed to adjust to the sight of so much poverty. Certainly we saw poverty in Cairo, but there the housing is more often in brick buildings and one tends not to see many poor people. Here the housing may well be constructed of sheet metal and blue, plastic tarps and the people are very evident. After hearing today that prior to the 20th century not even the shadow of an untouchable person was to fall on a high caste person I wonder how this long-standing cultural "not seeing" contributes to social life today. I fear that one of the ways to survive in a city like this, if one has means, is to learn not to see.
Yesterday we traveled by boat to Elephanta Island to view the astonishing temple carved into black basalt. Although the nine panels of Shiva in various life-stages were badly damaged by Portuguese soldiers using them for target practice, the sight is still impressive. In another way, but no less remarkable, we were also impressed with the very live monkeys who will snatch a soda bottle from your hand, climb a tree, remove the cap, and drink the liquid. Today we saw more of the city including the Gandhi museum.
Our stay here is short so the next time you hear from us, we'll have moved on to the Ecumenical Christian Center. I hope that Thomas will post more photos soon.all our love,