Welcome to my first attempt at a blog! I figured now is as good a time as any, having moved halfway around the world to Hubli. While I didn't know anyone on day one, I've since met many wonderful people, both those who have come from out of the country as I have as well as those who are native to India and have been teaching me a lot.

The plan is to update the blog somewhat regularly so that none of the posts get too lengthy (which is the case with the first several, as they were originally mass emails). We'll see how well I do at keeping up. Miss you guys!

Friday, April 24, 2009

the rents visit Hindustan

Since my parents were arriving right after a Monday holiday, Kraemer and I decided to check out of Hubli a little bit early to stop through Mysore on our way to meet my parents in Bangalore.

We took an overnight train from Hubli and, of course, took no time at all in finding an eager driver to cart us to the hotel we'd picked out based on our guidebook suggestion.  The man assured us this one was no good and proceeded to find us two cheaper hotels closer to the Mysore Palace.

Mysore isn’t super big but has a decent amount going on.  We decided to use the energy we had while we had it and take a morning hike up Chamundi Hill, some 700 steps up to the first pit stop with Nandi, the bull, and another 300 steps after that to the market.  Legend has it that when the bull's left knee reaches the ground, it's the end of the world - at least that's what my landlord says.

It wasn’t too long before we figured out that our book was geared toward people with a deep pocket, as everything was a quatrillion miles away and required at least two rickshaws and a bus to get there if you didn't have a taxi.  We wound up at a relatively sub-par garden (granted, we didn't stay for the 7:00pm lit fountain show that everyone had raved about) out in the boonies, which caused us to rethink another trip out that direction, and at a posh hotel restaurant, when we'd been hunting for a hole-in-the-wall.

But my favorite part of Mysore by far?  Mysore palace and my run-in with the popo.  Okay, okay - it was just palace security, but this man meant business.  I PINKY PROMISE I saw NO signs banning photography, but I can't deny that I suspected it … whiiich is why I tried to be sneaky by holding my camera at chest level and pointing it up at the stained glass ceiling I wanted a picture of.

Unfortunately, flashes are not listed in the "sneaky" category.  The man came over and insisted I turn over my entire camera - not just delete the photo (see one of the two the illicit photos here). 

 He threatened to take us to the station.  Not sure whether he would have followed through with that.  After five minutes of pleading ignorance, the man pulled us aside and Kraemer offered him money - just like that, it was as if nothing had ever happened.  The bribe nearly negated the discount I'd received for being a Hubli resident.

Mysore and Bangalore are pretty close, so we took one of many busses down to B-lore to meet my parents, and we all spent a few days in the IT center eating, drinking and being merry. 

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