Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 6: So this baby walks into a bar....

Greetings from the VITS hotel. We're settling in here, anxiously awaiting our embassy appointment on Thursday. We're in a really lovely 2-room apartment, with a king-size bed and desk in one room, sitting area and mini-kitchen with a breakfast bar in the other. The hotel price includes a fabulous buffet breakfast and the best gym I've ever seen in a hotel, with personal trainers just waiting there to make you work. We've been enjoying hanging out with Nik, and Kerrie and Mark; last night for Mark and Kerrie's farewell evening, we all met up with them in the bar downstairs for a drink. (Lest anyone be tempted to call social services, the bar actually wouldn't let us in with Micah, so we drank our beers in the restaurant instead.) We're very sad that Mark and Kerrie are returning home today -- we will miss them!

Today we went back to the hospital to collect our paperwork that we need for the embassy. This was our first trip outside the hotel since we arrived on Sat. night. While there, we also got to introduce Micah to three couples who are here to get their party started -- two couples from Australia, and a couple from Hungary. We enjoyed showing off the baby and helping these couples see what the prize is at the end of this process. While we were chatting with these couples, three Indian women were also admiring the baby, and asked a few questions about how old the baby was and whether a boy or girl. They held him for a minute, and we later realized that they were the foreign couples' surrogates. We hope that they'll figure out that Micah was Rajeshree's, and let her know what a beatiful, healthy baby she helped to create. We hope that it gives her some comfort to know that.

Other than that, my big event of the day was getting my phone's sim card re-charged. This was a big understaking requiring three trips to the hotel lobby and two trips outside the hotel. The first trip was unescorted, and I couldn't find the shop I was being directed to. The second trip, with one of the hotel valets, required stops and three different, tiny stores that specialize in selling mobile phone cards, and included crossing the very busy 6 lane road in front of our hotel in rush hour traffic. Once we had purchased the recharge, my escore consulted with about a dozen different people to try to figure out how to check whether the recharge had gone through. In India, many people purchase their phone time on a pay-as-you-go basis rather than a monthly plan, so this whole effort netted me a rechare for the equivalent of $2.00. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts; I'd rather not go through this again!

Outside this fairly elegant 4-star hotel is well-ordered chaos. There are small shanty dwellings tucked together with stalls selling all sorts of things, from chickens to fresh sugar cane juice to haircuts and mobile phones, the streets bustling like Manhattan at rush hour, but with small children in neat school uniforms, women in beautiful saris, men on ancient bikes balancing 3-foot high boxes on the back. Mark and Kerrie's room had a view of some of the twellings, and we spent some time watching the comings and goings of people, and were impressed with how hardworking and clean the people were, and what a marvelous it was that children were being taken care of by the whole community rather than just their immediate relatives. The people of India are so much more industrious than we're used to -- Amit explained that it is because there are no social safety nets here, so if you don't work hard, there's no unemployment check, health care, school for your children, or place to live. We're also impressed with how hospitable people are here. There's a much stronger service ethic here, underlined by the sanskrit saying, "Guest is God." We wish we could get out of Mumbai to exlore the parts of India with more natural beautify, but ti doesn't seem to fit into this trip......


  1. Hello new parents!
    Your little son is adorable. I am surprised he looks so alert at such a tender age! Can't wait to meet him.
    Your friends in Tucson

  2. It was wonderful to meet the three of you yesterday. What a beautiful baby boy!

    Darren & Johnny

  3. Love the pictures. Kisses to Micah and hugs to your both.

  4. I love his lush hair, and how he looks at you!