Installment #17 - January 5, 2001


We arrived in Bangalore early Sunday morning and settled into the Safina Hotel. Centrally located between the entertainment district on MG Road and the shopping area of Commercial Street, it was our nicest hotel room of the trip (and the third most expensive, at about 2300 rupees per night).

Bangalore is visibly more modern than most cities we’ve seen, with (mostly) paved sidewalks and many modern buildings. It is the center of India’s software development industry and has a large population of well-educated, young engineers. Fiberoptic cable is being installed all over town to improve data communications but, even without the new cable, our Internet connection was among the best so far.

We spent Sunday evening with Rita’s friend Saro, who had invited us to dinner with her family at her brother’s home. We had an interesting time conversing with the other guests and enjoyed being with friends on Christmas eve. (Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures).

The afternoon before Christmas, and again on Christmas day, I ran into a group of school-age girls carrying homemade anti-litter signs, singing Christmas carols, and chanting anti-litter slogans. On Christmas afternoon and evening, Brigade Road was closed to traffic and lined with arches covered in holiday lights. The street was full of people out window-shopping and merry-making.

I continued my morning walks, visiting Cubbon Park, which was full of joggers and dog walkers. I also walked around Lake Ulsoor, which is much less scenic than Kodai Lake in Kodaikanal.

Our remaining time in Bangalore was spent doing very little of note. We both felt somewhat under the weather physically and tired of visiting tourist attractions. We did some window-shopping together, and Rita did a lot more on her own. I bought and read an adventure novel.

On Thursday, we checked out of the hotel and saw a movie (Bedazzled) at the local English-language theatre. We were surprised at the number of people able to attend a midday movie on a working day. After a little more shopping on MG Road, we headed to the train station and our overnight train to Hyderabad.

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The Royale Arcade on Brigade Road in Bangalore - clean and up-to-date.
This sign on Infantry Road is the first prohibition of horse and ox carts that I have seen anywhere.
These people are enjoying a morning stroll in Cubbon Park which, according to Lonely Planet, has been around since 1864 and covers 120 hectares. The Library can be seen in the background.
Another view of Cubbon Park.
The Karnataka State Court, on the edge of Cubbon Park, is a beautifully restored building.
The Bangalore Library is also located in Cubbon Park.
This plane sits in a small park with a Russian name just north of Cubbon Park and across from an aircraft company building. The plaque under the plane indicates that it was built here.
Here are Rita ...
... and I in the lobby of the Safina Hotel on Christmas eve.
Santa Claus (as well as Abbott and Costello) visited a Brigade Road toy store on Christmas day.
This store on MG Road was originally called simply "Himalayan Dowry". The owner inserted "anti" into the name, and was then frequently approached for help by women who were harassed for dowry. The owner has since helped out in 45 dowry-related cases from all over India.
This woman and man are manufacturing crushed stone by hand for a construction project. Large rocks are turned into finely crushed stone in several steps, each step carried out by a worker with a sledge hammer.
A scene near Bangalore’s Ulsoor Lake.
These military men are involved in water training on Lake Ulsoor.
Unfortunately, this is also a scene at Ulsoor Lake.
These kids were demonstrating against garbage - a hopeful sign that things may be changing.

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