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A Most Stupendous & Audacious Undertaking

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[travel] Airport people-watching and more
Given that it takes 1.5 hours to get to the interesting stuff in mumbai (each way) from the airport, I'm spending my 6 hour layover reading and blogging. Nice how that works out.

What I've noticed so far:
– This is the first place I've been *in the world* where middle/upper class people still primarily wear their country's traditional dress. Given I'm in the airport making a domestic transfer, I'm probably seeing the upper crust of Indian society. I'm surrounded by women in beautiful saris. (yes, it's amusing that I, a straight guy, am looking at the fabric instead of the wearer's body and face even though a lot of the women are very pretty) None of the men are wearing traditional Indian garb though... probably an artifact of the businessmen having to spend so much time interacting with other cultures. I suppose I'll see a lot more traditional garb in the middle east.
This airport is horribly disorganized. Horribly. Admittedly they're doing construction, but should the shuttle bus between the terminals (not connected in a walkable fashion) only come once an hour? Seriously.
– Gender roles are much more traditional in this part of the world. There was an ad saying, “book a flight during [some special period] and your wife flies for free. It's like a 1950s era Life Magazine ad.
– There are slums right next to the airport. The planes come within 300ft of them. I suppose it's my introduction to the startling income inequalities here. There's a company that does ethical slum tours (no photography allowed)... I'll probably do one.
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While I wouldn't say 'primarily', you do see a lot of fairly traditional dress in cities in Japan, especially under certain circumstances. In the taxi line outside Kyoto station it would be unusual to not see at least one formal kimono on a woman, and there are yukata all over the place in Tokyo on a warm summer Saturday evening.

The poorer men in the cities also mostly wear western clothes. I remember being struck by that, how people going to their construction jobs or working as tailors or whatever always wore long-sleeve collared shirts and long pants.

There was a good article in a recent New Yorker about life in that slum next to the Mumbai airport. Here's a video, with link to the story.

I'm curious about what an ethical slum tour consists of... (my immediate thought was: there are unethical tours?)

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