Sunday, June 12, 2005

that's no sheep

things are far quieter in the morning. i explore mg road, where my company is supposedly located, but i don't find it. most places seem to be closed. one exception is the "indian coffee house", a hole in the wall where turban clad waiters serve coffee with various egg dishes. the first meal in any new country is always daunting, as you don't know any of the rules... how to be seated, how to order (often there isn't even a menu), how to pay, etc. i go through the usual awkwardness, confusion and miscommunication, but eventually i manage to get a table and some food. as i eat indians start to sit at my table, which i can't understand, as there are unoccupied tables nearby. they don't talk to me or seem interested in me, but nonetheless they sit at my table. i hope that this isn't going to be a common occurance. i do like to have my space once in a while.

stuffed full of runny eggs, i emerge and am immediately harrased by auto-rickshaw drivers. (auto-rickshaws would be called tuk-tuks in thailand--they're the noisy, 2-stroke polluters that dominate bangalore roads). these guys all run the same scam of taking you around town for an hour for only 10 rupees (23 cents), provided you go into their "special" (i.e. grossly overpriced) shops. no thanks.

i switch modes to hotel recon, looking to move out of my expensive place asap. although accommodation is scarce and pricey in booming bangalore, especially here in the center. i suspect i can find something a bit more reasonable.

unfortunately addresses make absolutely no sense here, and i fail to find the first hotel in my list at all. i ask a guy where it is. he tells me it's no longer a hotel. i have no idea if he's right. still, it's a good thing indians speak english, as i'm starting to get the idea that i'm going to have to ask for help a lot.

i find the second hotel on my list, and move into a room that is only 2x rather than 3x the price of my most expensive room in 4 months of travel. i only give up aircon, which seems unnecessary here. bangalore's temperatures are surprisingly mild.

i head to a department store where i find a food court and supermarket. i eat some fast food chapati & curry and stock up on crazy snacks. as usual, i buy the local varieties of lay's potato chips. i pick up a bag of indian masala flavor and one of "chaat street" flavor.

after a rest, i head to the pubs. bangalore is apparently one of the few places in india that has pubs at all, and it has a lot of them. apparently the new yuppie class has generated a demand for this sort of thing. the first place is dark and crowded and loud. i quickly down my first indian beer and leave. the second, pecos, is more accomodating. i hike up 3 floors and find an outdoor rooftop table where good music plays at a reasonable volume. a few expat-y looking guys show up after a few minutes, and there being no empty tables, i offer space at mine. we start talking and more people show up an suddenly i am a member of the expat community. they invite me to join them for dinner at a trendy restaurant where i order a fancy french mutton dish, but i had forgotten that mutton means goat in india. this is my second time eating goat. my first was in cambodia where i had goat soup in a restaurant called "goat soup", still one of my all time favorite restaurant names. my new cohorts give me some good leads on housing. i tenatively plan to meet with the italian guy the next day to visit his place, which is a sort of a long stay guesthouse.

it's time for bed. tomorrow is my first day of work in 4 months, after all. my brain hasn't accepted this at all, and thinks i'm still going to be a tourist tomorrow.


Werewolf said...

Welcome to India mate!!!
Check out Styx on MG Road and Purple haze on Residency road. Maybe you can drop into the Tavern on Church street off M G Road.

emphatican said...

It is weird, but your day has something in common with what I experienced in Japan (I know that's not in the same league of adventurism as SE Asia, but bear with me): street addresses make no sense. That's right, in Tokyo of all places, it's impossible to locate a building (whether it's a business or a residence) by its address because the address has nothing to with the the street that it's on or the number pasted in front of the building. How does anything get done, a tourist wonders?