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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Road Trip - India Style

Big Banyan Tree
Festival Season is upon us here in India.    This week marks Diwali (also spelled Deepavali) which is the festival of lights.   Di is Light in Hindi and Deepa is light in Kannada the local language here in Karnataka State.  The kids had a short school break and I had a work holiday to celebrate this occasion.     Diwali is like Christmas for Indians, all sorts of sales at the stores, commercials advocating the gift of massive jewelry this Diwali (O.K., I like that part) and massive sales of fireworks.    The kids were mesmerized by the pop up shacks of firecrackers (as they are known here) along the side of the road, in empty fields.   In Bangalore alone, 260 Crore were sold in just a few days which equates to 260 million.   Additionally, there doesn't seem to be any regulations on where you can shoot off the 'crackers and what scale of explosives is appropriate for a residential neighborhood.     We have been experiencing rapid fire fireworks non-stop for the last three days.   

Thursday morning we packed up our car and headed to Mysore which is the royal city of Karnataka.  The Maharajah still lives there and it's only a 2.5 hour ride.   Our driver accompanied us for the trip and he had his own agenda in mind.    Javeed is very proud of India and especially the history of the local area.    He initially wanted to leave at 6 am, we pushed that back to 9 am.    It was of course a day off for all of us, so we enjoyed a normal wake up time.     Most of Thursday was spent hopping in and out of our car at various spots along the way to Mysore.    Javeed ensured we saw the highlights of the area - both historical and from local films.    The Big Banyan, Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, the Cauvery River, a very old Hindu temple and other architectural remains.    Doug and I enjoyed seeing the history and learned something new about the Hindu, Muslim, British and then back to Hindu ruling groups.   The kids were hot and yearned to get to the hotel pool and room service.    We arrived at 430 pm, quickly checked in and then headed out to Brindavan gardens to see the light show and the damn.   Our night ended with dinner at the Tiger Trail, complete with Kingfisher beer, french fries, naan and dahl.  The perfect mix of American and Indian foods.   Our hotel was complete with the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.    It's been a while since the kids watched their favs while I drifted away.
Emma - International Ambassador

Mysore Palace

Family Shot @ the Zoo- see the Giraffe!
Friday started early with a trip to the Mysore Palace.    What a fabulous place, built in just 15 years for Rs4.5million, the equivalent of $100K USD, this architectural gem was finished in 1912, complete with electricity.   I highly recommend this as a day trip if you come to Bangalore, I will be taking my Christmas visitors back in a few weeks.     The kids loved the audio tour and learned something, this I know because they repeated tidbits through the remainder of the day.    Next was the zoo.    Nothing brings you back to simple pleasure like walking through a zoo and seeing the magic of nature.   Plus in the Indian zoo, you can actually get quite close to the animals - Bengal tigers, white tigers, African and Indian elephants, monkeys galore.    Back to the hotel for pizza and swimming, checked out the next morning.    Nolan and Emma wanted an extra night - I guess that's proof we planned a good trip.

Emma achieved Britney status on this trip, every place we went people asked to take their picture with her.  She is growing in India, because these requests did not disturb her as much as the first time.   It was interesting to see the rest of us get passed over for requests but once Emma agreed to a photo opp, others stepped out of the crowd to get their turn.   

On a shoe note, our white sneakers are now clay red after traipsing through the dirt paths ...

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great family trip! Can't believe how much the kids have grown! Hope all is well!