When I arrived in Bangalore and took a drive through the city, I definitely felt like I was in a different world than the U.S. This picture shows a street with several shops and a group of young folks – I’m guessing pre-teen and teenagers, all carrying backpacks. Although it was a Saturday, seeing the backpacks made me wonder if they were going to school that day.
There are many reasons why I felt like I was in a different world — cars driving on the left side of the street, the temperature was 82 degrees in January (well, not that off from St. Louis that day, which was oddly in the 60’s). More likely, however, it was the fact that I felt like the odd man out. The obvious reason for that is that I don’t look like anyone in the area – which is something I am not terribly comfortable with. I usually like feeling like a part of the crowd, blending in with everyone around me. My mom suggested I darken my hair before the trip, which I balked at, of course. But hair color isn’t the only thing different – it is skin color, clothes and of course my American accent.
This realization reminded me of another article I read on the plane trip over here (I had a lot of free time to read with about 26 hours total spent in the air). The article was in the London times about the fact that as of right now, white Brits are the minority in London: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article3628405.ece That trend is affecting the U.S. also, not sure when it will affect the Midwest where I live. It is going to be an interesting change and it will probably occur faster than any of us realize!
Morning fog in Bengaluru disappears in a 30 minute time span (13 Jan 2013)
Day 3 – 12 January 2013
Did not sleep too much on the flight from London to India, as I was too excited. My excitement was tempered when our landing was delayed about 3 1/2 hours (with a side detour to Hyderabad for re-fueling the plane) and then finding out my large suitcase which was checked did not make it with me to India. The British Airways staff were able to locate it, still sitting in London. I left the airport with the promise that the bag would be delivered to me the next day at my hotel. So much for my original thought about having more clothes than I need (see Day 1 post). The biggest disappointment about it is that I don’t have my workout clothes with me, so I can’t get in a run today. I feel stir crazy after all the flights, so if the luggage does not arrive by noon tomorrow, I will get a car to take me to a shopping area here.
Instead of running, I decided to create this blog and exercise my fingers for a bit. Not sure if this will have any future life after my trip ends, but it sure is a nice writing space for me to log my thoughts and post various pictures to share with family if they are interested (those who choose not to use Facebook, where I’ve posted plenty of photos already!).
Day 1 – 10 January 2013
Left St. Louis with 3 bags packed for 18 days in India – probably over packed, but would rather have too many clothes than not enough (see Day 3……). Connected in Dallas, a wonderful surprise to get upgraded to first class for the flight from Dallas to London Heathrow. It was amazingly comfortable, with lots of distractions available (videos, music, etc.), but I opted to avoid electronics for the start of the trip to be able to remember it better. Instead, I read a book on Mother Teresa (http://books.google.co.in/books/about/Mother_Teresa.html?id=kpa3Sgt5c_4C&redir_esc=y) – thought it would be in the right spirit, due to all her life work in India. Good choice!
Day 2 – 11 January 2013
After deplaning in London and walking to Terminal 5 for the next flight, I met Mark & Mark – both in IT from Dallas. It turns out they’re on my next flight too – very helpful, since they directed me to the right terminal bus and to the British Airways lounge area. I appreciated finding the lounge, since we had about 5 1/2 hours to spend at the airport. It allowed me to do some work and also shower and change clothes – never realized how nice a benefit that could be on a long journey until today!
When boarding the flight to take us to Bangalore, I met a woman who has lived the past 30 years in Miami, but she is a native of Bangalore. She encouraged me to travel outside Bangalore city to see more of what Bangalore used to be (the ‘garden city’). It isn’t much of a garden any more, she said, but the state of Karnataka still has many beautiful areas. Once on the plane, I couldn’t abstain from electronic diversions any longer. I opted to watch the movie ‘Rock of Ages’ again. Watching movies multiple times, I recently learned, is based on the psychology of reconsumerism (http://hub.aa.com/en/aw/creature-of-habit). I am definitely someone who reconsumes experiences, like watching favorite movies or traveling to the same location often (Key West).