Yesterday I flew to Bangalore. I got to the airport to find my flight had been cancelled, and enjoyed the bolt of stress that followed. I did get on a plane leaving 2 hours later than my original flight. The domestic terminal in the airport contains a ton of shops, including a W.H. Smith, where British chocolate can be purchased. 🙂 The airport also numerous had plugs for electronic recharging. The extra wait wasn’t too bad.

The flight was pretty bumpy, I suspect because there was rain from Delhi to Bangalore, but we landed okay, which was all I cared about.

Even during the 45 minute ride to the hotel last night in the dark, I noticed the big difference between Bangalore and Delhi – there are trees here, and grass! And it’s a little humid, but 88 F, even with a little humidity, is far better than 104 F even when it’s a dry heat.

Bangalore’s nickname is the garden state, and the hotel has a gorgeous garden that every room looks out on. A mammoth tree is right outside my little balcony, which is where I’m writing this from. I explored the garden just a bit today – I knew I’d be going out shooting in the heat, and didn’t want to be tired to begin with, so I’m putting off playing with the camera until tomorrow, except for two photos I took before breakfast this morning. The Thai restaurant here has no windows, and is partially surrounded by koi ponds. It’s gorgeous.

I actually LIKE being in India, here in Bangalore. For the first time since I’ve been here, I felt energized and positive. I didn’t realize that the intense dryness (everything is dirt) in N. India was affecting me so much. Where there are dirt fields in the north, here there’s grass and trees. It’s so much more like home, that even my homesickness has somewhat abated.

Having seen Bangalore’s potential, I now understand why the English fell in love with this country. The plants are tropical wonders (apparently January is a much better month for blossoms, but I’m still impressed with what I’ve seen), and the bird calls are none I’ve heard before – loud and distinct, and apparently there were wild parrots in the park. I’m taking short movies to capture some of the bird calls, and will harangue my birding friends to identify them. I did get photos of a cookoo bird, not great ones, but hopefully good enough.

A very sweet young man from work took me around to a famous garden today. I’d hoped for more blossoms, but it was worth it for the trees. They are huge – I can’t even imagine how old they are. The one I have the most photos of – honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s immense. It reminds me of elephants – they have a grace and beauty that comes from their size. The red structure is an ancient maharajah building that’s not falling apart.

The park was full of families, dressed in their best. As you can see, one young lady actually posed for me. I didn’t get a shot of her very long, gorgeous hair in a perfect braid down her back.

We also walked a little in another garden, it ended up there was no aquarium there, just an amusement park and tons and tons of kids. There were three cows hanging around together, so I was happy to have stopped. For me, it’s a weird clash– a park is a city park, but cows are on farms. As Sandy would have said (but better): Whiplash of the locations.

The driver took me around Bangalore before dropping me at the hotel, so I got to see more of the city, including the furniture section – I wish I could take some of those pieces home – beautiful teak chairs…

Hang on – mosquitoes are out, so I’m going inside. Even though I’m on malaria pills, I’d rather be paranoid.

Back in the a/c. Oh! I love a/c. Speaking of hotel again – they have McVitties biscuits here. You have to pay for them, but what a pleasure it is to have them available! Bluray player as well – yay! Before I left the Leela I watched several episodes of Suits – so glad I bought and brought the season – such a good show, & TV here pretty much stinks. NatGeo has gone annoyingly crazy, animal planet is all about the nastiest animals, and Discovery is full of idiot as well. WTF?

I understand that people feed the dogs here, and my young friend told me about two different people who have taken in stray dogs, and one who started a shelter. Other differences from the north: this is a wealthier town by far – far fewer abandoned buildings, more successful building, the buildings are in better shape, fewer people living on the streets. Another thing different – and I cannot believe I didn’t notice this earlier – there are almost no traffic lights in the north. Only for utterly huge intersections. There’s one area where 4 lanes meet 4 other lanes, all going in the same direction, but to get to the hotel or its attached mall, you have to cross 4 of the lanes, with no help from traffic regulations. There are more traffic signals in the south – not a lot, but at least there are some.

I just had a magical moment. It’s been progressing toward twilight while I’ve been writing this and I suddenly noticed the sky had gone pink. I grabbed my camera and ran onto the balcony. The sky had lit up with pink and purples, a mist was covering the garden grounds, and a prayer song was being broadcast over a loud speaker. Wow.

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