Bangalore 1.24.17

Writing this post almost three weeks after leaving India, I still feel mixed emotions about departing. Previous visitors to India told me I would either love or hate my time in that country. Difficulties included, I declare myself a member of the ‘love it’ camp.

Even as a fan of travel in India, when I booked my flight to from Bangalore to Bangkok, Thailand I was ready to leave. I wanted to escape what I view as limitations imposed by society on people of my gender, the constant challenges involved with daily life tasks, and the lack of anonymity I experienced throughout my visit in India.

Departing India from a more western city, Bangalore, and arriving in cosmopolitan Bangkok, culture shock hit hard and continues daily. The following are a few of the sights I was surprised to see in Bangkok (and then doubly surprised to realize I was surprised, because these are sights that at some point in my life were normal):

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  • A clear, efficient, communicable process where people wait and every person receives the same level of service in a timely manner.
  • Signs and maps in public spaces.

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  • A train station with easy to identify ticket windows, signs, and minimal lines.

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  • A mass transit system.

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  • Abundant ATMs with cash.

In Thailand, not only am I re-familiarizing myself with sights, opportunities, and processes that were previously normal, there is a second reason for my feelings of culture shock. I am accepting my experiences in India will not compare with experiences elsewhere. As the saying goes, with great reward comes great sacrifice. Traveling in India is no exception to this mantra. By profoundly challenging me, I also experienced deep rewards.

My last long-haul night bus in India was a posh experience. I got a pillow and a bag of snacks. I am smiling especially big because this ride was my last night bus and my last long-haul bus for at least one month.

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I spent a lot of time in the hostel in Bangalore. Bangalore is sometimes known as the IT capital of India or the Silicon Valley of India and the internet at the hostel met this standard. It was the fastest I experienced in the country. My photos synched with my backup software and FaceTime worked flawlessly.
I visited Cubbon Park, a public park in the middle of the city. The park was created in 1870 and many of the trees looked to be at least a century old. Surrounding the park are historical buildings including the Karnataka High Court. My visit was relaxing.
In Bangalore I walked a lot. There were sidewalks in much of the city and I felt comfortable walking solo – both are realities that were not common in other cities. One part of Bangalore, a shopping district called MG Road, has an elevated walkway. Homes in the wealthier neighborhood where I stayed showcased modern architecture.
The owner of the hostel where I stayed in Bangalore recommended Toit Brewery. Not only was the beer and food great, but visiting a brewpub was a fun re-introduction to western restaurant life. Going solo and visiting a place serving alcohol are two more examples of how life in Bangalore is different from life in most other parts of India.
These photos capture my final auto-rickshaw rides in India. In Bangalore rickshaw drivers are required to use a meter to determine the fare. For my final rickshaw ride the driver honored my request to turn on the meter without argument, a request that is usually refused. I felt like an Indian rickshaw riding master after that successful interaction!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kat says:

    I am 100% confident that if Marcus and I were to travel to India our marriage would not survive the delays and mysterious un-cipher-able lines and what have you though all of them sound fascinating. It was really fun and interesting to read about that part of your journey. Glad you are in a country with currency security now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m just as glad to be in a place where there is a stable currency! I no longer take it for granted that I can go to an ATM and get money. Crazy that was. Also, I call BS. You and Marcus would for sure have a successful trip. I bet there would be tons of laughs. I’ve said to myself that if I return, I want to go 5-star. Maybe that’s you’re answer… LOL

      Like

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