Sightseeing

Sightseeing in Bangalore. The car & driver (I borrowed him for Sunday) picks me up at 7:30 AM. It takes about 45 minutes to get downtown where he drops me off. After 20 minutes or so, a guy points me to the tour bus. Some more people get on the bus. About 9:00, we start off. I'm the only Caucasian on the bus. The bus has, without a doubt, the roughest running diesel I've ever heard. We drive around and pick up someone else, then we stop at another tour company. Turns out I'm the only one signed up for the “1/2 day tour”, so they pass me off to another bus. This is a little van with 5 other people on board. I'm still the only Caucasian. The driver gives the guide spiel in Hindi, and then repeats in english for me afterwards. I catch about every third or fourth word. First stop is the Tipu Sultan Palace. Everyone wants their picture taken where the sultan used to stand. Me too, so the guide takes my picture (see picture). Every once in a while someone asks where I am from, and I say “U.S.". They smile and usually try and speak a little english. Around the corner is a historic temple. We take our shoes off in a little alcove on the sidewalk, then walk barefoot on the sidewalk to the temple entrance. This is a working temple, and many people bow before one of the alters. Back on the bus, we travel to Lal Bagh Gardens. This is very much in style of an english garden. It is quite pleasant, and really not very crowded. I see an American tour group go through when I'm there. After the garden we visit the tech museum. The museum itself is really not very interesting, but it is fun to see all the indian families there - they're really into technology. I see the guide and he asks me if I want to visit some shops. I go with him and buy a few things - mostly some silks, and a pashima for Shonagh (I read afterwards to watch out for imitations, which I'm sure this is - sorry Shonagh). I'm sure I've paid outrageous prices for the silks, but oh well. The tour ends and the driver picks me up. I was going to some shopping afterwards, but since I've done a little bit already and I'm kind of india-ed out for the day, I go back to the hotel. People told me it would be hard to get around by myself here, and they're right. Not anywhere as many people speak english as I thought they would (all the business folks do of course, but not all the drivers and shop keepers).