Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bang A Lore

Arrived in Bangalore yesterday. A few of us traveled from Delhi to Bangalore by train, which took about 40 fun-filled hours. Delhi railway station was insane, and I am still not sure how we managed to haul ourselves and about 17 pieces of luggage over the train tracks, under the bridge and over the platform. An army of coolies, a rickety old wheelbarrow and a spectacularly priced 700 Rupees helped. The accomodations were cramped, claustrophic, but oddly comfortable (except for the bathrooms, which were kind of traumatic. Thankfully I was mercifully constipated.) The tea from the chai-walla was wonderful. Sharp, yet sweet. If I accomplish nothing else in my time here, I will at the very least learn to make tea like that. No wonder my parents talk of tea like its some ambroisa from the Gods.

I was robbed my first night on the train. I was sleeping (apparenly quite deeply since I don't remember any of this) and some fool rifled through my purse which I had by my feet. They took all my Indian money and my newly acquired desi cell phone. Very very thankfully, he didn't take any of my Amrikan dollars, nor my passport (which is worth--I'm told--about 7000 US Dollars in the black market.) He also didn't take my ipod. Just all things Indian. I'm over it. I was irritated at first, but what'dyou gonna do? It could have been so much worse.

Everyone that I've met so far have been so unbelievably kind and warm. People--sometimes random strangers--have bent over backwards to make sure we are settling in as comfortably as possible. On the train, one of the fellow's uncle happened to be traveling on the next compartment, and he was so kind. We were saved from eating e-coli-laced biryani. He had wonderful home-made matri, and dhokla and spicy chappatis.

Here's what's weird. Whenever I travel in the states, whether I'm going to new york or philly or Iowa by train, bus or plane, I invariably get atleast a little sick. Some little bug somewhere gets the best of me. But I've yet to get sick here. My immune system is a tough little soldier. **cyber knock on wood**

In India, if you think too much about how you are going to get things done, you will drive yourself insane. Everything has this way of working out somehow. Alright, gotto go. I'll update more later. Bangalore is a much more internet friendly city.


Anonymous sheyi law said...

WheW robbed already? Thanks for the updates.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Zavestoski said...

I'm a new reader of your blog. I'll post a more detailed comment on a more recent post and explain myself. For now I just wanted to say how sorry I am about your experience on the train.

I was living in India with my family for six months and it was not until the last week that we were robbed. Since the thiefs got all four of our passports (US$7,000/passport, really?), they must have turned a nice profit (plus the $750 they got from a foreign exchange counter the next day using my as yet uncancelled credit card, an iPod and cell phone). The short of it is that it was a horrible feeling. So I can imagine how you must have felt.

Of course, in our case, it wasn't even an Indian who stole our stuff (which, as patronizing as it can sound, I could have understood). Who did it? Some western backpackers in Dharamsala. OK, gotta go. I'm working through your more recent posts and can't wait to find out how you're liking B'lore. More from me later...

9:35 AM  

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