Travel adventures.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

India Day 2 - Sightseeing and Shopping in Bengaluru

NOTE: This is a brief summary and I should be able to add photos and more details in the coming weeks.

We fell asleep at about 9:00 PM and I woke at about 3:15 after a crazy dream. I knew I needed more sleep so I laid in bed but my mind was racing and I could not rest.

We started our morning at the Leela Palace's Citrus Breakfast Buffet which offered many Indian and Western food choices. I tried egg stew and poured it over rice, had parantha bread with coconut chutney, pickle chutney, coriander chutney and onion chutney. I also tried several other wonderful Indian foods but didn't make a note of the names. It was all very tasty.

While walking several blocks in each direction we were still in awe of the traffic and we saw about 10 more cows along the side of the road. One cow was in the midst of a pile of garbage, presumably eating it. One cow walked across the street and down a side street. Traffic stopped and waited for the cow to cross and motorists took care to give the cow a little space. As it walked down the side street several motorists drove to the right or left of the cow.

We had the most incredible lunch. The Chicken Tikka Makhani tasted wonderful with tandori cooked chicken and tomato gravy. It may have had just a bit too much ghee but was oh so good! The Kadhai Jhinga was excellent with shrimp saute, onion,  tomatoes, garlic and spicy peppers. The garlic naan was great also.

When we arranged our car with the hotel staff we asked to be taken to a custom clothing store so that I could have trousers and shirts tailored to my size and preferences. I explained that a friend had recommend shops on Commerce street. The drivers huttled near us discussing options amongst themselves and agreed on a store that might meet my needs.

Our driver delivered us to the store the hotel staff had decided upon. Since the shop had few patrons the sales staff ganged up on us and were somewhat pushy. When they showed us clothes we repeatedly shook our heads no and explained that nothing was to our liking. But they pulled the clothes out of the plastic wrappings anyway. As they continued to show us clothes we told them repeatedly not to remove the clothes from the packaging but they continued to spread clothes across the counter and tried to convince us that we needed and wanted the clothes they had to offer.

Most of the clothes had no resemblance of what we described but after about an hour of high-pressure sales we settled on four dress shirts, four dresses and four pashminas that we liked enough to buy.

I want to briefly note that in this clothing store we used the first Wastern style toilet without TP. It was a flush toilet and next to it was a small bucket inside of a larger bucket. There was a TP holder but no TP. There was a spray wand coming out of the wall that is used for washing after toilet use. We learned quite a bit more about toilets and I'll explain more in a later post.

When we left the sales floor a young man carried our bag and escorted to the lower parking level. As we waited for our driver to pull the car out of the tight parking area I thanked the young man and asked him to give me our bag of clothing. He pulled it towards himself, glared and refused to hand it over. When the car arrived he placed our bag in the trunk and I tipped him. I'm not really sure why he refused to relinquish our purchased items.

After shopping we asked to see some of the temples around the city. Danae described one in particular and he took us to one that looked exactly as she described. He said it was constructed in the 17th century and was the oldest in the city.

Our driver was very friendly, polite, offered advice and was able to answer almost evety question we asked. Many children walked along the streets since it was just after 3:00 and they had just been released from the nearby schools. Our drover explained that you can tell which school the children attend by the uniforms they wear. He said that the children mostly attend private schools because the government schools are substandard. When Danae asked how it was substandard he explained that all instruction is in the state language except when learning English as a second language. He said that the government schools are also underfunded and the buildings and facilities are in disrepair. In private school all teaching is in English except when learning the state language as a second language.

Since Danae and I were both exhausted we decided to order "private in-room dining" for dinner. A young man rang the doorbell about five minutes later with the four bottles of water I had ordered. I can't comprehend why water was delivered separately from our dinner. The linguini was edible but significantly below the standards of the hotel. The crab on the linguini was apparently a crab cake that had been broken into smaller pieces and pan fried and not particularly apetising. The basil was wilted but still mostly raw. Danae's croque monsieur was also edible but poorly made. The "ham" looked like thin slices of corned beef or highly processed lunch meat. The french fries were crispy and overcooked but not burnt.

Since we were exhausted we laid down at about 9:00 PM and fell asleep very quickly.

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