Andrea and I took a night bus to ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು (Bangalore) and arrived early this morning. It seems common here that the only option for transport is a bus that departs at 10pm.
We started the day at 5am at a super fancy hotel just because the cafe was open 24 hrs. While paying for the coffees I found out that there is a whopping 18% sales tax on all things at this hotel. Apparently there is a very high luxury tax for 5-star hotels.
We then met up with my buddy Abhishek, who I had met in Bangkok a month or two before and who was kind enough to host us for the night.
At first glance I didn’t see that radical of a difference between Pondicherry and Bangalore, but with time I started to see a whole lot. Bangalore certainly doesn’t have the cute and quaint feel that Pondy does; it has clean streets and a hip feel that is together far more modern and westernized. Tall buildings with regal shopping centers line the streets on either side of the metro-rail. From anywhere in the city it seems that not far away is a hipster café with turmeric lattes and fresh healthy spins on classic indian dishes. Foods that once acted only as reserves for desperate times are now the hot items on a menu packed full of super foods.
I have been noticing that in an interesting way, India, or at least the younger generation here, is far more in touch with American happenings than Europe. One of the things that specifically caught my attention was that I overheard some people at the café quoting Rick & Morty. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a comedy cartoon on Adult Swim that has very modern American humor. I have brought it up with quite a few europeans and few if any have had any clue what it was. Similarly, the entire café is a good example of something that is very much an American thing. Sure, hipster cafés are popping up just about everywhere now, but the prevalence and the overall feel reminds me much more of the going trend in America.
Here’s a super weird book I found at the cafe:
I have to vent really quickly here. There is a horrible image of the USA among…people of any and every other nationality (except maybe Kosovo Albanians). There are a lot of reserves about going to the USA right now. People don’t have interest in the culture or experience of the country. It seems like the only reason Indians may want to go is to get a post-graduate degree in the USA, but that Europe is far more associated with being a cultural center of the west and a place that foreigners can be accepted. To be quite honest, it’s rather embarrassing having to either sit there and listen or make a desperate attempt to defend my country, noting that not everyone is close-minded and xenophobic. There are already so many presumptions about how bigoted I am upon hearing my accent.
We stopped at a modern art museum where we discovered the entrance fee for foreigners is 25 times more than for locals! That being said, it was still only about $8, but the very principle of it combined with Andrea and my interest in keeping a tight budget helped us decide to opt for coffees in the museum shop café.
We headed to Cubbon Park and hung out for a while and then walked around the city.
The highlight of the day was then when we went to a super cheap restaurant and I got…drum roll…this:
Okay, okay, this is a google photo. Mine wasn’t quite this presentable. But trust me when I say that it was loaded with all the flavor and creamy deliciousness one could ever ask for. I now know what I will be eating most nights for the next…well, till I get sick of it. The $1.40 bill was just the fried veggie ball on top!
The next day was pretty chill. As some highlights though, I got a kurta, pictures to come…and Andrea cooked us an excellent Italian dinner. Abhishek and friends, it was so great meeting you and thank you so much for your warm hospitality! Until we meet again up north!!!