After a long overnight flight on Valentine's Day from Ethiopia to India, long lines at immigration, (albeit in the NEW terminal), confusion about the size of car that is needed to carry 5 people and 6-months of luggage, a taxi driver that took us to the wrong neighborhood (in the dark) and missing keys at the front desk, we made it to our apartment in Mumbai only to find that the third bedroom designated for Ben did not come with a bed but a quilted mattress on the floor.
Dad to the rescue. Luckily the apartment owner also owned the unit next door that had a bed and was a bit cleaner. Crisis of the week averted. It took a about 3 days to get acclimated and overcome any remnants of the red-eye flight and by Sunday afternoon we were ready to venture out as a family.
This is where the story gets interesting.
A family of four can take a cab in pretty much any country. Families with 3 or more kids need a larger car. We agreed that an English speaking driver would also be helpful but not necessary. Mike is amazing at the art of pantomime.
Google 'private driver in Mumbai' and you get a website called www.driverinmumbai.com. Seems easy enough, right? Call them up and schedule a time/place (700 Rupees sounded cheap for 8 hours but who are we to judge?) then meet them in the lobby. I'm thinking the hard part is going to be convincing the kids that more sightseeing will be good for them.
The driver showed up on time and spoke English. He was missing a key ingredient to our day though. A vehicle. No car. No minivan. No rickshaw. Driver in Mumbai really is just that. A Driver in Mumbai. You provide the car.
At this point it is 4pm. Now the 700 Rupees made sense. The driver was kind enough to call a friend and try to get a car for us to borrow. No luck. So he called the local taxi company and arranged for a minivan and driver to pick us up and drive us south to the Gateway of India. Then he waited with Mike until the car came. An hour later and we are in the minivan headed south with the original driver, the new driver and three hungry kids. Let's all go see the Gateway of India. And no, the 'drivers' had never met before but became our tour guides for the day. One big happy family.
As it turns out this was the perfect plan. One of them stayed with the car while the other showed us around the area. Even at a major tourist destination like this our family looks pretty out of place. We fooled everyone with Ben's Canadian t-shirt though. (Thanks Grandma)
Check this one off our list.