Tom’s orientation began on Friday and only allowed for a one-day weekend this week, so we wanted to make the most of it. At the same time, we were still fighting the jet lag, and Tom had had two days of focused attention as he took in a barrage of information and met a lot of new people. So, this week, “the most” meant a relatively relaxing outing.
We started the day by calling Madesh, the driver recommended by the school. He has a number of drivers who work for him, and they can all be trusted to get you where you want to go when you want to go there. Uber is supposed to be a good alternative, but until we have fully functioning phones with data plans, we can’t use it (and frankly, we’re just not fans of Uber anyway). We requested a 10 am pick-up and said we’d want the driver until mid-afternoon. At 10 am, we met Anand at the gate to our apartment and asked him to take us to Koshy’s downtown (See: Koshy’s). Traffic was really light so we are filing away the notion that Sunday may be the best day for heading into city center.
With a wonderful breakfast behind us, we walked to Cubbon Park, referred to as one of Bangalore’s “lungs”. It’s a lovely green space filled with trees, flowering plants, fountains, and playgrounds. It’s also home to the library (which was hot, silent, and packed with studying students) and surrounded by government buildings. There’s a drive through the center of it, which is closed to cars on Sundays. It’s also apparently closed every day from 5 am to 8 am when the park is kept silent. If it didn’t require a driver to get there, it would be a great spot for early morning meditation.
From there, we returned to UB City to buy Melissa a phone at the Samsung store. The store clerks were all kind and helpful, but strangely insistent that Melissa sit at all times. Any time she stood, to bring a credit card over for example, she was quickly ushered back to her seat and offered water. The intentions were clearly good, but it was a little oppressive. It will be interesting to see if that’s the norm elsewhere as well. Melissa loves her new Galaxy S8 – it’s so pretty and so powerful!
It was now a little before 2 and we called Anand to pick us up, which he did just a short while later. We asked him to take us to a supermarket that we’d read about called Loyal Market, and Tom showed him on his google maps where it is. Anand confidently headed out while Tom followed the route on his phone. When Anand seemed to turn away from it, we were concerned, but he insisted through limited English that he knew where he was going. He actually pulled up at the Royal Mart, sister store to the one we walked to on our first day. Luckily, this was a much bigger store and we accomplished most of our list, including everything we needed to make our own chana masala at home that night. Here, rather than oppressive assistance, the clerks at Royal Mart were incredibly helpful. Every time we had a question, someone was nearby to help. What really got them excited was when we, who were clearly out of our element, made it clear that we didn’t want the chana masala spice blend but the spices to make our own. In addition to the team of clerks, a fellow shopper found the amchur powder for us, as he was clearly enjoying eavesdropping on our quest.
And dinner was delicious! A perfect end to a perfect day.