Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Train to Bangalore

So with two days left in my trip but no days left in my apartment I had to go somewhere. Yoga season ended with led primary this morning and I grabbed a train to Bangalore where I will stay until early morning of the third.
Chikku stealing calf in the market.

So much trash! View out the train close to Bangalore
main station.
The train trip and Bangalore arrival was quite a change of pace from peaceful Mysore days. As I may have mentioned, Gokulam is especially cushy but all of Mysore is quite laid back (at least compared to larger cities). It's known for having lots of temples and yoga schools and has a population not much larger than Seattle (that might be the only commonality with Seattle though...). My train trip started out about in accordance with what I have come to expect - besides the headache of procuring a ticket by shoving myself up to two different counters yesterday it was pretty easy. My second class car was roomy and I was joined in my seat by two polite friendly people from Mundya (a nearby city) who were eager to demonstrate hospitality. The older man tried to get me to eat his lunch which he made taste (it was delicious). I managed to appease him by eating my own lunch while he ate his.

Train companion #2. He is trying to get me to
 hand him my phone so he can take a picture
 of me (and also look for games). I am
pretending not to understand what he wants.
Over the 2.5 hour journey there was a definite shift the best feature of which was a man who joined me in my seat who was very intent on talking to me despite his lack of English and my lack of Hindi. His strategy was to keep asking if I spoke Hindi either in the hopes that the answer would change or not understanding my shaking head and failure to grasp any of his conversation to be the answer it was. Unlike my previous companions, my new companion wanted me to give him food as well as show him games on either my kindle or my phone neither of which have games. He was charming.

The Bangalore train station is one of the most crowded places I've ever been. As the train pulls into the station crowds of men chase the train and try to throw their handkerchiefs onto a seat. As soon as the train stops they swarm through the tiny doors and will run over any de-boarding passengers in their way.

My journey of course ended with an argument with a rickshaw driver who refused to use his meter, hardly budged on his price and then asked me for extra at the end because he got turned around and said the meter would have been more than the price we agreed on. I told him to use the meter next time. As an aside - I am not generally a huge jerk here. I am not unwilling to giving people money (though I don't do it every time) and don't fight to hard about paying foreigner prices. I get it  - I'm a foreigner. Sometimes I get some extra hand holding and directions, sometimes I get pushed around and pay a little more. Rickshaws are a different beast though and I'm pretty sure even Indians find them to be kind of a battle sometimes.
Monkey family on Chimmundi Hill which is home to a large
temple to Chimundishwari a special to Mysore deity
 and also many many monkeys. We climbed early on Sunday
 which was lovely.
St Philomena's Catholic church in Mysore

Happily I am arrived at my hotel which is charming but affordable, found myself a street food dinner and am using the internet from the lobby which is so densely packed with mosquitoes that I will wrap this little update up.

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