Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
Trip End Feb 16, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, March 16, 2006

When leaving Hapmi you have to catch a bus from Hospet which is a dump and not a place I would recommend to visit. We had booked tickets for a semi deluxe over night sleeper bus. We caught what can only be described as a prison bus with bars on the windows and a bus driver who did his best at trying to kill us! You might think I'm exaggerating but believe me when I say we were scared to death and more than a little relieved to arrive in Bangalore in one piece.

Bangalore is the IT hub of India and resembles 1950s New York. We couldn't afford to stay in the MG Road area so had to make do with a small hotel not far from the bus station. We arrived at 5.30am, exhausted after not daring to sleep and with a heart beating pulsating faster that the leading car in the British Gand prix. We sleep for 4 hours and go out exploring. We walk a while then take a rikshaw to MG Road which is so different from the rest of India with its sky scrappers and shopping malls. We go ten pin bowling and walk for miles to a shopping mall for a decent cup of coffee. Here we met Martin & Caroline an English couple who did what we did 4 years ago and have now well and truly got the travel bug. We chat and exchange adventures and promise to look up each others websites.
Their's is if you wanna have a look.

Rikshaw drivers are a nightmare here. Our guide books states that the locals insist they use their meters, few actually do and you can argue for hours over a few rupees which isn't much fun. We come across one who actually uses his meter so Ben asks him if he would like to take us out sight seeing the next day and he is so excited (the driver not Ben) it's quite scary. The next day is Friday and our driver has to go and pray before he picks us up but promised to be here at 1.45pm. He is a big jolly man, kind of like an Asian Santa.
He tells us in his best bad broken English that he has planned our day and we set off on our sight seeing tour of Bangalore.

His rikshaw registration number is KA03 A5903 so if you happen to stumble across him amongst the other entire 10,000 rikshaws book him, you will have the funniest day of your life. I don't know how we manage to do it but our drivers are always hilariously funny, speak very bad English and have no idea of what sightseeing actually consists of. Ben and Santa have a conversation which goes like this:

Santa "You children, sir?"
Ben (with puzzled look on his face till I translate - do you have any children?) "No"
Santa points and says "glass house, lots flowers, one year, August, October)
Ben "Flower show"
Santa "Royal wedding many"
Ben Beautiful, big"

I can not speak for falling about laughing and this goes on all day. My stomach muscles ache from laughing and I have nearly wee'd myself several times.

The actual sights we saw were the Botanical Gardens, MG Road which we had already walked up and down 10 times, 2 museums and the Musical Water Fountains which Santa was so proud of for taking us there. We didn't care the day was priceless and worth every one of the 400 rupees we paid. We find NASA bar (decked out like a space ship) desperately in need of a beer and are glad to be leaving first thing in the morning.

To be continued. . . . .
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