Will the rain ever stop? I think not. I got dropped off in the morning mist on a busy road, and tried to look completely comfident and sure of where I was, even though I didn’t have the faintest idea. The autorickshaw drivers hadn’t yet picked up on my sense of doubt, and were largely ignoring me. I scurried across the road and checked into a hotel that was characterless and frankly awful. And overly priced at 500 Rs a night. I dumped my bag inside the cardboard box-like room (it was as small and the walls as thin), lay down on the damp mattress, and decided to get out of Bangalore asap.
I got an autorickshaw into town and meandered around MG Street. After traipsing the rain-sodden streets, I noticed a coffee shop, and bolted into it for a blueberry muffin and a cappucino. Felt better. Went to an ATM to get some cash, as apparently my wage in Singapore had come in. The great thing about cash machines here is that you’ve no chance of losing your cards. You slot your card in, and take it out, then perform your transaction. There’s no unpleasant wait as you the ATM makes disturbing crunching noises then stops, and just before the silence becomes too uncomfortable, spits your card back out at you, to your relief. I got 10,000 Rs out, which should be enough for a good week or so, I reasoned. I then went to a pizza restaurant for dinner, eating a chicken tikka pizza.
As a token effort, I went to Majestik in the back of an autorickshaw driven by an Indian version of my uncle Andrew. Looked just like him. Except this one was addicted to chewing the leaf I metioned earlier, and had to spit every 5 seconds or so. Majestik is the seedier, market side of town. I stayed for 15 minutes, and took some steamy South Asian shots. Next, I got another autorickshaw back to my hotel, grabbed my backpack, checked out, and got the same autorickshaw back to Majestik to get a bus to My Sore. Somehow, we got to the bus station in one piece. Abosolute chaos. The engine fumes were choking, and the oily rain water was now wheel-deep in places. And the rain was heavier than ever. It’s funny at bus stops and train stations. Why do they always seem to attract the scum of society, the misfits,the beggars? Either here or any place of religious significance, because religion, apparently, brings out the forgiver, and the giver, in all of us, and God loves a beggar. And a traveller, apparantly. They have change.
Anyway, I got to the bus, and paid 190 Rs for the 3 hour ride to My Sore, which was quite reasonable. Within minutes of leaving the station, a Hindi movie was screened at full blast on a tiny screen at the front, and repeated twice. The rain subdued as we moved away from the chaotic mess that is Bangalore, but it didn’t stop. I arrived in My Sore and feltimmediately refreshed. The place isn’t as crowded, and has a regal charm to it. I checked into an old but lovely hotel, Hotel Dasaprakask, set just off Gandhi square. 500 Rs a night. Had a hot shower and headed to Park Lane Hotel for dinner. It had more charm and atmosphere than other places, and the live music added to that. I ordered a large Kingfisher beer, and a chicken tikka for a starter. For a main course I enjoyed a chiken kalimariri ( I think)….very spicy and perfect with my garlic naan and plain rice. Feeling suitably full, I walked back to the hotel, not feeling tempted by all the bars filled with men. No women are ever to be seen in the streets after 8pm, it seems. They are at home, washing underpants, and the men go out to drink. A bit like a load of ‘working mens clubs’ in Britiain before women got equal rights and made it a place to gossip or have a ‘coffee morning’. A totally different culture, India….fascinating place.