Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From Delhi to Mysore

It's been a long day today. Very long. We left our hotel in Delhi this morning at 7:30am, went to the airport, flew to Bangalore, had lunch, drove to Mysore and got to our hotel at about 7:30pm. The flight on Jet Airways was comfortable and uneventful, but quick. Just a reminder before I continue. I'm traveling with my mom and step dad who are treating me to this once in a lifetime vacation. And I am so appreciative. The reason I mention this is that for the next three weeks I'll be traveling within their budget range which is much higher than my budget. So for those of you who know me please don't think I won the lottery or anything like that, just remember I have a very loving mom.

So we arrived at the Bangalore International Airport where our driver for the next three weeks met us. He took our luggage and loaded all of us into a really nice, large and comfortable touring van. Water bottles already there for us and tomorrow he'll stock the ice chest with whatever we like. I can't remember his name, will have to get that tomorrow, so for now it'll be "the driver". The driver took us a short distance to Clark's Exotica, a five star resort where we had a wonderful lunch. Then we piled back into the van and drove, and drove, and drove. I think our itinerary stated three hours to Mysore which is south of Bangalore but it took at least six hours. Half way we did stop and have coffee and snacks.

Now I know I said I'm being treated by my mom and step dad for these next three weeks on this organized tour. But I still have to be a good son and treat my parents once in a while. It's been easy here in India to do that as food just isn't expensive. I sure hope Indians don't catch on to expensive restaurants. So the coffee stop today was my treat. Did I mention that coffee at shops similar to Starbucks is only a buck a cup? Nice!

When we drove through Bangalore I was amazed at the difference between it and New Delhi. New Delhi is very smoggy, congested, chaotic, noisy. Bangalore is the opposite. It had some smog but nothing in comparison to Delhi. The roads were not chaotic and crowded. The landscape green with some hills. Lots of coconut trees. It was a beautiful city with unique buildings. From what I saw it just didn't look like India.  But once out of Bangalore and as we went through the smaller towns then I got to see the India that I imagined it would be. Poverty, beggers (though only a handful), cows goats and sheep wandering everywhere, monkeys here and there, street vendors and stalls set up everywhere. It seemed like we would drive for a half hour or so then hit another small town, then more open land and then another small town. It went on this way all the way to Mysore. There are beautiful and colorful temples everywhere here and of all sizes. We were in one small town when some young school boys crossed the street in front of us. On boy glanced at our van and saw mom sitting in the front seat with her spring straw hat on. His eyes lit up and he smiled wide at mom, just as if it was exactly what he needed to perk up his day. There is something about a bright white smile coming from someone with very dark skin. And I think that so far Indians here in the south, or at least what I've seen so far today, are much darker than Indians in the North.

Anyway, we finally make it to Mysore. It only took minutes to know that this is a place I can come back to. It's beautiful, clean, organized and has clean air. On the other hand there is the part that is chaotic and busy, especially the area near the gorgeous train station and bus station. This obviously is a hub for numerous desitinations. The driver first took mom, Steve, Donnie and Lee to their hotel. A five star heritage hotel that is pretty swanky. I don't know if that's really a word or not, but it sure seems to fit this hotel. We all got welcome drinks and a tour. It has 40 rooms total, was built in 1929 and served as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. After they checked in and we checked out their rooms we had a quick dinner and then the driver too me to my hotel, the Pai Vista. I chose to stay at a hotel closer to my budget range as I thought it would help keep costs down, and it does. I chose this hotel blindly when my mom was organizing this tour and it appears that I lucked out. The room is very spacious and includes a separate sitting room, terry cloth slippers and robe, free wifi (their hotel does not), a roof top swimming pool, three restaurants and a gym. Best of all is the location. Two blocks from the train station and across the street from the bus terminal, and it's not noisy or busy with either in such close proximity to the hotel. What I like most though is that I'm in the thick of the town. Markets, temples, street vendors everywhere. This is what I imagined India to be like.

Trucks here want you to honk if you're going to pass

The back of another truck
This one wants you to use the dipper at night, anyone know what that means?

The air here is so much better. Not only can you see across the street you can see the stars. I've decided that this is a place I could come back to though the city of Mysore is bigger than I would want to visit, it has 3 million people. Bangalore where we flew into is a huge city of 8 million, very clean, very organized, very nice. I could live there. Mysore is on my list of places to possibly come back to for a longer visit.

We had dinner tonight at the swanky hotel. Actually, we had dinner last night at a high end restaurant and lunch today at an all inclusive five star resort. What surprises me is that meals just don't cost much here. At the most elegant restaurant we paid about $6 to $8 per person with appetizers and drinks. Maybe up to $10 per person one night.

It's late, we have an early day tomorrow. So off to bed. Tomorrow we'll go see the sights. I hope I have enough time to walk around down town and through the markets (my favorite past time).

1 comment:

  1. Lucky son.
    Good observations about the smile of the young boy & dark skinned persons.