The way to Mysore. .

Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 01, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, May 1, 2006

Of course I got a late start, it was hard to leave Hampi, but the NH 4 was a proper highway most of the way toward Bangalore with two lanes on either side, so I was making good time for most of the time.
Calling my contact in Bangalore, a friend of a friend who had lived in the US for a time, I realized that it might not be time to go to Bangalore yet. This happened due to circumstance. Des had two cousins in his place staying with him, and was busy with the obvious family obligations and such. Really I did not want to go such a large city solo, I do prefer the smaller towns, so I tried to find lodging on the highway.
Finally, behind a petrol bank, (gas station) I found the only game in town, the Sasha (sp?) Lodge. Going up to the counter I asked the man about rates, figuring that in such a small town (Nattamaguram, I believe it was called) I would get a good deal. I had 300 rupees in my pocket, and figured this to be more than enough. "Six hundred fifty," he told me, and I almost laughed, had I not been so tired.
He was trying to pull the old "I know you're tired, and western, and I'm the only game in town" trick on me.
I countered. "too much, I pay Indian price only, two hundred." He countered again, and 650 he would not budge from. Shit. By now it was full dark, and I dread driving in the dark in India, it is completely dangerous, all high-beams, and for some no lights at all. The thought of going on in this to an uncertain bed made me make him another offer.
I opened my wallet, showing him the three hundred I had. "I pay 300 now, leave bags in the morning, find ATM, then bring back 350." It was worth it at that point just to have a place to lay my head. "650 now!" he came back with. The guy was obviously a prick, and did not like me, so I walked out the gate to sit with rocinante, wallow a bit in the feeling of being so lonely and far from home, and after a bit, thought of my options.
I could go on to bangalore, where I knew that all the rooms were supremely expensive, try to find a room for an affordable price and an ATM, or I could go back a short distance the way I came and take the cutoff toward mysore. A coin flip did it. Toward Mysore.

Driving a bit slower than my usual speedy pace, and blinded by every passing car, I made a few kilometers, and just as I was considering the dodgy possibility of just setting up hammock on the side of the road, I came across a well-lit sign for a "resort." It promised tennis courts, pool, all the amenities. Too expensive for sure, but perhaps they had a lawn or roof I could sleep on.
The security guard opened the main gate and let me in, motioning me to the office. Five men met me there, there were pictures on the wall of the boss's mother and father with lights around them. Muslims, they were.
The Boss man asked me the usual questions that Indians all ask, and informed me to no surprise that the cheapest room was for 1500. Of course I told him that I could not pay that, but did he know any lodging down the road for less? He answered in the negative, so I began to bid them goodbye, and to head for Rocinante and an uncertain future.
The Boss man told me to come back in, and said, "I have room, can give for five hundred.. "
There it was. I told him about leaving 300 tonight, then the other 200 the next day, and he nodded, fine, that is fine. There was kindness and charity in his eyes for a tired and slightly distressed and homesick westerner lost in the dark and far from home.
I thanked him profusely, and parked rocinante by the "Administrative housing" building.
My room was not generally a rental, and the building was empty, and my room looked as if it had not been used in quite a while. It had a couch and coffee table, and a large bed, and hundreds of ants on the floor. Well, any port in a storm. .
When the door shut and the porter left me, I had a little flood of emotion, happy to be safe, and thankful to the people here for going out of their way to accomodate me.
In the morning I found the ATM, of course after some travail, had one of the best dosas I have ever had in my life, went back to the Resort and paid the man.
We talked for a half hour or more, I loaded up and went. His english was semi-understandable, but I managed to express my own gratitude, and told the story of the prick Lodge owner up the road. "Mysore, one hundred twenty kilometers," he pointed, and we waved our goodbyes.

The road to Mysore this back way is not used much by tourists, and not at all by the Western variety. The going was slow, and I of course had to wave at so many people along the way my arm got tired. Rocinante's sissy bar had snapped on one side, so I had to re-rig my guitar so that it would not fall off. I figured I would get it welded in Mysore, then make my escape to Ooty, a mountain town famous for it's temperate climate and cool nights. . .
Making it into Mysore, after a couple of tries, I found the Guptha Hotel, a good price for Mysore in the center--350 rupees. A television, and even room service if you wanted it for just pennies! High-class, and Rocinante got to park inside in the courtyard.
Well worth it for a tired man, though not indian price, as I will explain later.
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