Bangalore, India

We survived it. A 44h train the length of India. We boarded at 11.30pm on Sunday and didn’t leave our little zero-square feet upper bunks until Tuesday night.  The upper bunks are sought after as they are above the filthy ground and offer most privacy, but the downside is that during the day you have no-where to sit and no access to fresh air or windows, unless you creep downstairs and monopolize one of the lower bunks as a communal sofa. Which of course everyone does, so some poor sod ends up sharing their bed. It was touch and go for a while. Roasting in a tin can cell that was our home for 2 entire days and nights. Think of what you can do in that time! I read White Tiger cover to cover in a day (Set in Bangalore/Delhi, great/easy read.) Mark started Shantaram, which would take an eternity of train rides to read in full. We played a million games of ‘20 questions’ and covered everyone from Mahatma Ghandi to Caroline Flack. Then we were worried delirium might have sunk in, so we decided to make friends in our neighboring compartments, and befriended two guys from Bangalore Uni who worked for call centers & I.T start ups. We left our food and drink to fate, and dined on 5r cups of Chai, 10r ice-cream, and the odd samosa. There is no café cart on board Indian Trains, only the big game of roulette with the street sellers that hop on/off at every station. They parade the carriages yelling their wears with their random baskets of fruit, noodles, belle puri, and Thumbs up. We knew we had reached the exotic south when they sauntered along with coconuts.

The South climate is tropical. There are actual litter bins, there are shiny western billboard ads and posters selling comforting concepts like ‘don’t drink and drive.’ The streets are paved with gold….Not really, it’s still India. But never has the North-South divide been so vast. I have to say, the South is where it’s at.

Bangalore to be exact. It is India’s most up and coming cities due to the influx of US companies setting their outsourcing operations up there, leading to more a massively more visibly prosperous city. We don’t even see a single cow inside the train station. They have bus stations that run on timetables and platforms. They have budget hotels with clean shiny marble bathrooms. It feels light-years ahead of scruffy Agra or Varanasi.

We carry on this fantasy India feeling by spending our one day here at Bangalore’s answer to Disneyworld; Wonderla  –  India’s largest water park.

But before you picture the water parks of Portaventura Spain, or even the rides of Alton Towers, it’s actually a much tinier and tamer affair. More like an exotic version of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. But we can’t knock it. It’s a Wednesday, the queues are non-existent, it’s scorching, and we witnessed for the first time what must be one of the most genius inventions to ever hit the entertainment business; the Rainforest Disco. Yes we have foam parties, yes we have pool parties, but how more club owners have never got all over the concept of a dance floor teaming with sprinklers I really don’t know. They have two separate areas, one for families/couples and then a rather handy cage for single Indian men. I kid you not.

Watching a hundred grown Indian families go wild and scream to Bollywood hits whilst getting rained on, is one of the funniest things you can ever hope to see. Being English/Irish, we only wish we could have had Flashdance, The Lion King and 10 beers or so to enjoy to its full potential.

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Connecting to %s : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

March 2012
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