Visitin' Vikas

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
Vikas' and friends' pad

Flag of India  , Karnataka,
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    My first (and only) big, bustling, superchaotic city in India.  It didn't start oot well.  My only purpose was to visit my friend Vikas who i met in Pondicherry and it was kind on route to my next stop.  It was only a short 3 hr bus ride but the bus dropped me off at some random new bus station way oot of the city that Vikas didn't even know aboot.  Then i found another bus to get into the city but had no idea where i was going exactly or where to get off...Vikas was trying to help me as much as possible but it's hard to explain to a foreigner in a foreign city, where exactly to get off...afterall there are no official bus stops.  The bus man was mean...he ripped me off with my with my bus fare and i refused to pay at first but then he threatened to throw me off the bus.  He of course wasn't gonna help me with where i should get off.  Anyways after lots of patience (and frustration) and calling back and forth to Vikas, he finally found me on his motorbike. I was very happy to see him....what a debacle.

Vikas was a grand host.  I had no idea what to expect in regards to how he lived....he lives very well!  He has a very spacious, new flat with 3 bedrooms that he shares with 2 friends, huge lounge, 2 balconies and a cook and a cleaner....typical bachelors.  I felt like i was staying at the Ritz, i had my own room (his room) with my own ensuite bathroom and my own balcony...i was loving it.  His neighbourhood was full of high, fancy apartment buildings but then there was also a huge contradiction as is evident in all of India...some wee slums as i'll call it.  There weren't very many but there were still some very poor peeps.  Living in simple, thrown-together shacks/huts/tents made from whatever is found - plastic, bamboo, wood, metal -right in the midst of all the affluent residences, if not beside. 

So needless to say i was quite comfortable in Vikas' home and neighbourhood, except i was the only white person so staring was still prevalent.  I went for a few wee wanders around and was happy with that as my first day when i went into the 'city' was challenging and again frustrating.  This is the first city where i have actually known someone yet this is the first city where i have constantly got lost, confused, upset, frustrated.  I took a rickshaw, 40 mins, to get into the city after Vikas' roommate bargained real hard to get me the proper price (as soon as they see a white person even with an Indian, the price is hiked right up).  I mooched around, shopped a little and met Vikas for lunch.  There wasn't a lot to do.  Then getting back to Vikas caused more problems...i took a jam packed bus for a hour that i thought would get me quite close to his house.  It didn't and it didn't stop where i wanted it too and then i just ended up getting completely ripped off with a rickshaw and they didn't know Vikas' address (even tho i had it written down)...blah, blah.  So i didn't enjoy myself when i stepped ootside of the neighbourhood and didn't particularly enjoy the peeps either.

Saying that, Vikas and his friends couldn't have been kinder.  We had dinner every night, compliments to the chef, roti and dhal one night.  Then the other night, it was Vikas' bday so there was sort of a party which was interesting.  All of a sudden i was sitting with 20 other guys, all talking Hindi, with aboot every 20th word english, drinking beer, laughing. I just took it in.  I like how they were talking Hindi and not talking english on my was true to their party, true to the experience.  Then rice and chicken was served and i was made my very own special version that wasn't lovely! 

It was great to see how a 'local' lives...even if i wasn't necessarily roughing it, on the contrary actually...but i was still able to experience a true life in India.
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