The flight to India was really long…
It took four flights to get me from Atlanta to Bangalore. I went through Chicago, over the North Pole, through Delhi, through Chennai, and then to Bangalore. I had to go through security at every airport and customs in Chennai. Lindsay met me at the airport and we headed back to the hotel for a nap. A few hours later we went back to pick up Steph as she got in. We had a short night’s sleep, and slept in quite a bit. We eventually checked out an hour late, and grabbed a quick bit of food at the close by McDonalds. We got the Indian versions, made of Aloo and Paneer.
We made it to the next hotel, which was about an hour and change away. We checked in then went to see the town, and get some much needed coffee. We walked a bit around one of the nicer areas and found a Cafe Coffee Day that Lindsay liked. We got our much needed caffeine and then talked through what our plan for the trip was going to be. While walking along the streets we noticed cows just wandering around and standing in the middle of the road. Everyone just went around them. With as crazy as the traffic was, cows weren’t even close to the biggest hazard.
We then went for some really oily massages called ‘Ayurveda’ massage. It was a very interesting and unique experience that I would not want to repeat. The massage wasn’t that unpleasant, but the constant oily feeling afterwards wasn’t great. They do let you shower, but it isn’t western standards. We had a nice Indian meal after that and called it a pretty early night.
The next day we went on a tour of the city, with a really amazing guide. In the morning we went to a snake temple that was built to appease all the snakes that were displaced from the filling in of lakes in Bangalore. They served the most delicious meal we had while we were in India.
Near the snake temple were sari looms, and they were incredibly loud
Just down the street from there was a well known coffee/tea house, so we stopped by to get a drink
After that we went to the central marketplace. It was very loud with people going everywhere. There were large piles of trash around because someone had not been bribed to take it away. There were so many flowers in the lower area, and Steph got some Saffron, which I was dubious about.
We then went to a Sikh temple and learned a little bit about the Sikh traditions of taking care of the community, which I strongly approve of. Their meals, housing, and education social policies are very good, and are done on a scale that is mostly sustainable. Their religious practices aren’t for me, but the social policies are nice.
We had lunch hosted by a local family that was distantly related to the royal family that once ruled the Bangalore area. They were very nice, and cooked a dish ‘Kofta’ that was delicious. We liked it so much we decided that in the cooking class we were going to be taking later we would have to have that included.
We then headed to the temple to Kali, which was pretty disturbing. They had animal sacrifices, locks to cast curses, and a black cat owned by a transvestite. The whole place wasn’t that scary, just really creepy.
The nexts stop was Pottery Town. This was an area that was known for making pottery, and consisted entirely of a labor caste that converted to Christianity to get out of the caste system. They had a lot of pots everywhere, as well as all sorts of clay figures. We found one room full of nativity characters.
A short drive away was one of the slum areas, which the guide referred to as the nicest slums. The area was mostly buildings with a few tarps here and there. We stopped by an area for women who take trash and weave it into usable products. Lindsay got a day bag there, with Steph and I just donating for a tour of the facility. It was a very interesting area.
Lastly we stopped by Washerman’s Valley an area in almost all Indian cities that has the old style of cleaning clothes. They wring water out of the clothes and beat them against rocks to force out the dirt and oil. This is a very cheap way of getting laundry done, but destroys the clothes pretty quickly.
We called it a night and went to an interesting Mexican restaurant, which was decently good tex-mex.
The next day we headed to the park, followed by a nice cooking class.
We then went to the plane to Kochi