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First Impressions: Bangalore, India

We arrived in Bangalore early in the morning Sunday (our flight a little behind schedule). It was quite the scene at the airport. Getting through customs was a breeze (we wondered what the point was, even) and two of us were able to get our luggage without a problem. Ian's checked bag took much longer and we started to wonder if he was going to make it out of the airport or not. Eventually he got it and we were good to go.

As we walked out the door of the airport, we were greeted by a throng of people - drivers, as it turns out - holding signs with names. It turns out, finding our sign, while not difficult, was also not trivial. I should mention that simply getting out the door was an exercise in "no, thank you" as we were each approached multiple times by guys offering to carry our bags, taxi for us, etc.

Our driver crammed us into a smallish Ford sedan (like a Focus) -- Chris's and my luggage in the trunk, Ian's in the front passenger seat. All three of us were crammed into the back of the car, barely fitting, hot, tired, but not overly smelly. :)

Speaking of smells.... it definitely smells different here... but not necessarily in a bad way. This morning, I predominantly smell wood smoke. We were also greeted by petrol fumes, though that may have been from the cook. Yes, we have a cook (two, in fact).

The picture above is looking out the balcony door from my room. The three of us are sharing a 3-bedroom apartment, each with its own private bath. I rather like it, finding it more cozy that a hotel. The other guys aren't so sure, and understandably so, being that this is work travel. Ah, we spoiled Americans, so used to expensive hotels! :) At any rate, I think it's fairly nice. I'll post pictures to my photos site later.

Breakfast! This morning we were served dosas (rice crepes with a mildly spicy vegetable compote filling with carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes), fresh fruit (mango, apple, banana - we're all leery, I tried some, we'll see what happens), and "burnt toast" w/ a fruit jam that tasted sort of like raspberry. It was very good! We were also served mango juice and orange juice (the carton said from Nepal). I tried the orange juice. It tasted quite different, as did the fruit. Perhaps it's the local water, but I'm more inclined to think that the fruits here are just different. The main thing I notice is the lack of sugar in most foods. Ah, yes, such a sugar-addict I've become! :)

We are surrounded by a cacophony of sounds. Humans sounds you of course expect, what with 1.3B people in the country. The housing is stacked on top of each other. I opened the front door to the apartment this morning and was greeted by the sounds of life ringing through the halls. A baby was crying, women were chattering, cars were honking as they drove by. It's what I expected from here.

There are lots of horns! And small engines are the norm. Everybody seems to have a motorcycle around here. There are also, of course, the small motorized rickshaws that will take you around. I think we'll have to experiment with them later in the week.

Other sounds... a couple men on bikes have been by a couple times this morning yelling "PAPER, PAPER" in a loud, flat tone. I've also seen another man pushing a vegetable cart. Birds are all around, and Ian and I swear we've heard a monkey, but it's not to be seen anywhere. You can hear dishes and laundry being washed.

The weather is quite nice this morning. This is perhaps the most surprising aspect of our visit. It's cool (70s?) with a wonderful breeze blowing throw the balcony door. I'm actually quite surprised, even though my research late last week revealed that the temps here in Bangalore are quite mild.

Well, that's probably adequate for now. We're going to go exploring this afternoon (our driver is returning around noon) and we'll have a couple more meals, I'm sure. All told, things are quite well at this point. If we can survive this first day without getting sick from anything, then I think we'll survive ok in general.

Oh, one other story! Several people flew all the way here from Dulles on the same flights. On my first leg to Frankfurt, I sat next to a guy named Felix who turns out to be a production manager for MTV. He and his crew are following a young Indian man home to get married. The fellow has met his wife only once before as part of a traditional arranged marriage. I find the whole thing to be quite intriguing.


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Today was our first full day in this crazy place called Bangalore. We took advantage of our transition day to get out and explore the city, and I think it's safe to say that we had a very good... [Read More]

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 24, 2007 12:24 AM.

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