Archive for mumbai airport advice

Nervous arrivals at Mumbai Airport

Posted in Diary, Story fragments with tags , , , , , , , on December 26, 2012 by helenperkins

STEPPING out of Mumbai airport felt like stepping out of the Big Brother House.

Long before I found my way to the exit, I could hear shouting and cheering. I hoped the audience waiting for me outside was a friendly one.

I dragged my suitcase through the double doors at 1am local time and was met with the full force of three-hundred people shouting and waving. Taxi drivers, families, partners, hotel owners, porters, and more taxi drivers all clamoured for attention. The crowd was held back by railings and several security employees. All these jostled and clustered around a small floodlit square.

Like a rabbit in the headlights I stood in the centre, dead still. Please be here; please be here; please be here.

And then, as if by magic and four years since I had last seen her, my friend Afsha appeared in the corner of my view, raised above the sea of people.

She headed to the airport straight after her Mumbai birthday party. I hauled my bag to the only part of India I knew, even a little bit, and followed her into the night. Her favourite taxi driver sped us across the city to West Khar, where she and her family lived.

Mumbai’s roads, even at 1am, were busy. There was the honking and screeching of cars and yellow-topped auto-rickshaws, which nipped in an out of spaces in the traffic like fairground dodgems. I talked to Afsha – I can’t remember anything I said – and stared and gawped out into the evening. We arrived at Afsha’s home and, somewhere between meeting her mum and the dawn breaking I fell fast asleep.

This blog is a visual record of my trip, with a few tales and spots of advice. I hope it’s useful, especially for anyone who fits into the category of the nervous solo female traveler, and who is also hoping to spread their wings for the first time.