Bangalore Bangs!

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

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Monday, May 22, 2006

At last, on the third attempt, I managed to get Rocinante into Bangalore. As we drove into Bangalore on the NH 7, we of course were greeted by the stench of raw sewage, and stopping to look at the map, we both noticed a gray-water stream, leading into a larger grayish brown river. Open sewer, I believe they are called. Medieval systems for a city that pronounces itself the most modern in the country. .
Checking into a hotel "the paradise lodge" in the Ghandi Nagar,(they call them lodges, a hotel usually means a restaurant) that Linda had stayed in before, we went out to have tandoori food. . The first day was somewhat uneventful, though uneventful in India is extremely eventful anywhere else.
I was accosted by two women demanding money and holding round baskets. When they opened the baskets, each contained a cobra with small change around an on it. These snakes were quite alive, I can assure you, but being threatened and extorted for money is something I do not respond well to, so I agreed that if I could take a picture of them I'd give them ten rupees. .
The Lodge was about half-built, and of course much ado was made to show me how the building process was taking place as soon as they found out I was a tool-using man. Also they made me play guitar for them as well, this seems to make Indians excited, when a western failed rocker plays and sings american songs for them. . .

On the following days we had posh accomodation, Linda wanted to get a day of ninja training in, and the man who owned the Dojo/dance studio/posh bar/club put us up in his spare room. The room had private bath, they had an actual washing machine, and we took a couple of trips down by rickshaw to the MG road, which is the most westernized place I have seen in this country. Even more western than Goa. Pizza hut and Domino's are there, but, to my relief, the evil starbucks was not.
The Bangalore area has many "Coffee Day" coffee shops, a chain, but one can get a decent cuppa joe in such a place. Also we watched a stinker of a movie in a large movie house: "Poseidon," which, if it didn't cost the equivalent of a dollar to get in, would not be worth the trouble. The original of this movie did not need remaking either, it at least had some bit of character development, and a good cast. Hollywood is running out of ideas, it seems. .
It was nice to see Kurt Russel drown, though, if only he had really died before his agent suggested that he do this bomb. It's a long was from Snake Plisskin escaping from New york. He should have "escaped from his contract. . "
We spent a night of debauchery with a friend of a friend, Des, who had lived in Boston for a year, working with a good friend of mine. He was a funny fellow, and instead of the standard Indian-type English-inflected accent, he was much more american sounding. Linda couldn't understand his accent too well, but that could have had a little to do with the loudness of the music in the New Night Watchman. Quite a cool club, actually, very european inside, Lights, and loud music, but still one eats with one's hands in such a place. Mostly men are the ones who hang around in bars such as this, though there was an
occasional woman in there, daring to break the norms of Indian society and venture out at night, singly, and have an alcoholic beverage in the company of single men. . Big taboos here.
Bangalore all in all is a relatively clean, well-educated city, and fairly well laid out with street signs and such. Through all this, though, is the fact that Bangalore is also more smoggy than LA on a clean day, and this becomes apparent by the hacking sounds of people in the morning as their lungs attmpt to cleanse themselves of the soot and half-burned hydrocarbons the tuk-tuks, buses, cycles and cars belch out all day long in the heat. India has a long way to go. They are starting some LNG rules, and more taxes and such on pollution standard breakers, but these sort of rules are difficult to impossible to enforce, and if one gets a fine or citation, there are a thousand more polluters, worse, who never have a problem.

We left Bang in the early morning, having spent three nights, the requisite time if one is to get to know a city at all. Off toward Hyderabad, some 580 kilometers away.
We made a smaller village with one lodge, a crowd gathered as I unpacked rocinante on the street. . .
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