India & Sri Lanka - Fall 2013 travel blog

mini Taj

mini Taj

mini Taj


Today we got up at 4am. The only time we get up that early is to catch a plane and that is what we did. The hotel packed us a breakfast to eat on the bus. Bad sandwich #1 was Wonderbread with the crusts cut off filled with tomato and cucumber. I washed it down with the kind of drink box little kids put in their lunch box.

We bid adieu to our wonderful bus and driver, who took Charles' big suitcase back to Chennai. The group's suitcases were weighed together allowing us to slide by without overweight charges. I have 2 kilograms too much and Ken has 7. We are strategizing how to handle the next flight in two days where only a handful of us will fly on to Delhi and there will be no fudge factor. Some people had two carry ons and they were not weighed. An extra carry on might solve the problem. Although the flight lasted only an hour, we were served a spicy "meat" sandwich that tasted like no meat I have ever had. Bad sandwich #2. Should have chosen the veggie wrap. When in Rome...

We flew to Bangalore, whose residents you try to speak with whenever you telephone a call center. It's high altitude and much drier climate, made us wish we were staying, but we got on a new bus for the five hour ride to Mysore. Getting out of town was a challenge. I listened to two NPR Planet Moneypodcasts while we inched our way only one block. Eventually we got to a tollway that sort of felt like a tollway. We pay tolls regularly, but the roads are generally two lane with occasional traffic signals and bulls pulling carts. This one was a four lane divided highway and our driver honked his way past one slow vehicle after another. Still it took most of the day to drive here. We will have to drive the same distance back to the airport when this leg of the tour is over in two days. Hope what we see in Mysore tomorrow is worth it.

We ate lunch under a thick grove of trees overlooking a river and reveled in the moderate temperature and humidity. The only photo stop was at a mausoleum of a Muslim rajah, which looked like a mini Taj Mahal. The ruins of his palace, which were destroyed in the 1700's were nearby covered with thick grass. The wall from those times still stood in parts of the town. Our first impression of this state is that it is more affluent and less garbage strewn than where we came from. Huge billboards clutter the highway advertising high rise condos. Someone is earning a decent living here.

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