Friday, March 02, 2007

New Places, New Experiences

Been on the road for over a week now and somehow this southern trip seems more relaxed and reflective than the Rajasthan experience. I'm glad I made the decision to have longer stays in some places and that's given me the opportunity to both catch my breath and catch up with others!

The two days I spent in Hampi were terrific - I'll have to say it even beats my Udaipur experience. I loved the fact that I could wander all over the countryside and "discover" little shrines and ruins all along the way. I walked all over the area north of the river on the first day and on day two, rented a bicycle and spent a glorious morning biking down tranquil country roads lined with banana fields on either side.

Hampi was the first place where I was truly "alone". Up until now, in every place I visited, I either knew people or had travelling companions. For the first time ever I was travelling totally on my own, and I really enjoyed it! It was really nice being able to do your own thing and not have to consult anyone else along the way. I also realised that you tend to meet more people when you're travelling along - other travellers are more inclined to strike up a conversation when you're alone as opposed to if you're already with someone else. I met some really nice people in Hampi and hope to meet them again along then way in the south.

After 2 days in Hampi, I arrived in Bangalore, India's IT capital. I've been staying with my cousin and her husband and their cute little 3 year old who's constant chatter has keep me entertained over the past 3 days! Didn't do a whole lot of sighseeing here - it was more of a rest stop before the next intense leg! It was nice catching up cuz who I haven't met in about 11 years.

Met up with cuz Scribbler's fiance) for lunch yesterday, and a post lunch "just one pint" turned into a full afternoon session! It was nice to really be able to get to know him - our previous meeting in Bombay had been quite rushed, and sans alcohol! He took me to Pecoe's - Bangalore's oldest pub. And I do mean a REAL pub - something Bombay is sorely lacking, and I've been missing! Inspite of being just off one of Bangalore's main and busiest shopping streets, Pecoe's still manages to drown out the noise and chaos of the city and allows you to down ice cold goodness and sink into the mood music in its deep (and very dark) interior. Top marks for ambiance, service and quite good masala fries as well!

Went back to Brigade Street today to check out this bookstore that Scribbler had reccomended. 2 hours later I staggered out of there bent under the burden of my new purchases! Let me introduce you to the newest members of my bookshelves:
The Man in the Brown Suit
The Listerdale Mystery
A Murder is Announced
Cat Among the Pigeons
At Bertram's Hotel
The Regatta Mystery
The Mysterious Mr. Quinn
Funerals are Fatal
- Agatha Christie

If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?
I Lost Everything in the Post Natal Depression

- Erma Bombeck

Yes, He is the Best: A collection of TOI cartoons
- R. K Laxman
Ice Candy Man

- Bapsi Sidhwa

The Hungry Tide
The Glass Palace
- Amitav Ghosh

And, for that mandatory fluff factor:
Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason
- Helen Fielding

That brings my total book count to well over 20. Any one with ANY ideas on how I'm going to get them all home - drop me a line!

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