Mysore was beautiful, and I left on day 8 for Bangalaru. I had no idea what was in store for me as i escaped the house I was staying in without saying goodbye. The landlords had been making up excuses of all kinds for me to have to pay them more money as the days went on. My cab driver, of course, did not want to drive to Bangalore. This makes no sense to me, but is perfectly normal there. After much ado about nothing, he agreed to take me instead of pass me off to his friend. (Have I mentioned that he was already paid for the trip)??
Travelling by car in India is thrilling for me. I am still in love with all the sights and random craziness happening on the side of the road, and found that my iphone can actually focus and take pictures quite well from a moving vehicle. It is scary however, because the driver almost never speaks much english, never gives a straight answer, and I am without wifi and a working phone. Luckily, Indians never seem to mean harm to anyone, so although safety sometimes felt like an issue, I doubt it ever was.
Bangalore is huge (to me anyway, to Indians, it is considered small). Traffic is even more nuts than in Mysore, and the pollution almost did me in. Apparently I am very sensitive.
Here is where I met Dinesh. Dinesh grew up in Chennai, which is about 3 hours east of Bangalore, and went to school with my best friend in Fargo, ND. He moved back here about 6 years ago. I emailed him prior to my trip to see if he wanted to play tour guide. I have only ever met him once, and that was 10 years ago. I feel like I am getting crazier by the day.
Turns out, he and I were fast BFF’s. Our connection with Liv, my best friend of 29 years, and his of 10, gave us a really good foundation to get to know each other. I think he was happy to have a fresh breath of America, and I was delighted in everything he could show and teach me.
We spent the next couple of days exploring…avoiding getting hit by rickshaws and buses, taking pictures, and eating the best food I have ever eaten. Ever. Period. Dinesh explained everything about the food to me, what flour it was made out of, what part of India it was native to, and how to pronounce and order it. He taught me how to eat with my hands like a pro. Well, at least without looking like an idiot. We walked miles, even though he hates walking, and I, like a proper tourist made him stop constantly to look at the way the light shines off that particular tree. He was very patient.
We watched a Bollywood movie in Tamil, shopped for nose and toe rings, and I drank as much Indian coffee as I possibly could. I developed a new love for prawns and briyani, and finally learned what the kind of roti I love so much is called. [Rumalleh]. It took me an inordinate amount of time to learn to pronounce that consistently.
While Mysore was the spiritual and emotional connection that I needed, Bangalore provided such a better understanding of the culture and traditions. I am eternally grateful to my tour guide for taking such good care for my safety and teaching me so much. I’ll fill you in later about the trip home, and how leaving there positively broke my heart. But I don’t want to talk about it right now, because remembering how amazing this all was is so much more fun for me at 4am when jet lag has gotten the best of me.
I feel so blessed, and crazy and kind of brave. I don’t know what possesses me sometimes to embark on adventures with so little idea of how they will turn out, but so far whatever it is has been to my advantage.
WIth love and affection, I thank Dinesh, and all the craziness of Bengalaru for such a delightful end to my vacation.