Hello everyone, I’m finally in India! I guess this means Pac Rim is without a doubt over halfway over, since this is the last country I’m visiting. That’s a scary thought… But, with that said, I do have another three months to explore India, which is basically its own sub-continent, and Luisa and I have been thinking about adding a European leg on to the end of our journey. We’ll see what happens.
As for India, it is certainly an interesting place. I’ve been in the country for five days now, and I’m not exactly sure what to think about it. I guess the first thing is that it’s obnoxiously bureaucratic. Flying through Mumbai was the biggest pain in the but I can possibly imagine. As Prof. B told us, this is the land of stamps and signatures, and she really wasn’t kidding. Every carry on needed its own stamp, as did our boarding passes, and we had to get in and out of line at security several times to ensure we had all of these, because naturally they didn’t tell us we needed them until we were at the front of the line. When we got through security, about half an hour after our plane was supposed to leave, they still hadn’t announced our gate. After another half hour or so, the gate was announced, and we boarded a bus to take us to the plane. The bus then sat next to the plane for 15 minutes without letting us off for no apparent reason. It was a long and very trying day, but around 1am we got to the hotel safe and sound, bringing our total travel time to about 18 hours.
Our first day in India was pretty uneventful, especially compared to the previous day. I slept in, and then went out to see what was around. We started out in Bengaluru, previously named Bangalore, which is India’s third largest city. It seemed like a pretty busy place, with a very interesting mix of modern and rustic. We had trouble finding somewhere to eat, so Luisa, Erin and I ended up having a fancy meal with a bunch of business men. It was very good, but a bit expensive. Later on we had dinner with the whole group in traditional South Indian style, which was great, and we learned the proper way to eat with our hands, since silverware is very optional here. So far, I’d say the food is all pretty good, but very heavy, and a bit overly spicy for my tastes. I anticipate a very unhappy stomach for the next few months, but I planned ahead and stocked up on probiotics, so fingers crossed that helps.
We only spent two full days in Bengaluru, and the second day was my favorite in India so far. We all went shopping for punjabi suits, which are basically tunics with pants and a scarf made of light weight material. Some of them are beautiful, and they are generally pretty flattering. I bought a few, and spent the whole day looking in stores with Luisa, Sam and Rachael, and afterward we all went to a Bollywood film. We saw a movie called “Players,” which was basically the Indian version of the Italian Job, right down to the mini coopers. The whole thing was in Hindi without subtitles, but it was over the top enough that we generally understood all three hours of it. We had a lot of fun, and most of us intend to see as many movies as possible while we’re here.
Bringing you up to date, I’m now in Mysore, the second largest city in the state of Karnatika, where I will be continuing my art history class at a nearby university. We’re in a very quiet area, about a 20 minute auto-rickshaw ride from anything interesting, so I’ll hopefully be getting a lot of work done on my research paper. I also have decent internet here, so the next two weeks are a great time to get in touch with me, because I have no idea what the future holds.
I promise my next post will have pictures, but the blogging mood hit me today, and I haven’t seen much that’s picture-worthy yet. We’re going sari shopping on Wednesday, so that should provide plenty of interesting photos, and maybe even video.