Friday, 20 June 2008


I have come to the conclusion that Indian bus travel really isn’t for me. Even though I was in “seat 13” and not able to see that much of the approaching road I was able to see the apex of each twisty mountain curve. The horn was barley silent the entire 6.5 hours and going pass a recently crashed bus didn’t improve my mental stability. Also having to sit in a small chair made my tailbone numb (don’t get me started on my fat arse). At least in Iran the madness stopped as you passed the city limits. Here in India it’s more like a starting flag being waved!
I really don’t like being in a bus that overtakes a petrol tanker on a blind bend whilst on a narrow mountain road.
Anyway I got to Mysore safe and sound in the early evening. A cheap hotel (with NO tv) near Gandhi square and the Palace. I’ll be here for 4-5 days, depending on what’s about and how I feel.
I’ve been in India now for 6 weeks; it doesn’t seem that long to me. Before I came to India many people told me that I would either love or hate it! Truth be told I’m still undecided.

Bits of India I hate:

• Mumbai
• People shitting out in the open
• Being continually asked if I want drugs
• Bus travel

Bits of India I love:

• A certain dog in Goa
• The natural beauty of the landscapes
• The ancient temples of Hampi
• The people (when not trying to sell me drugs) especially when posing for their photograph. I mean how straight can the arms and backs be?
• The monsoon…it’s the best time to travel


Bloody hell!!!!! Turkey did it again and are now in the semi finals of Euro ‘08! Seeing that England didn’t qualify and I was in turkey when they did (the town went crazy) I’ve been supporting turkey!

Anyway back to today, the 1st place I wanted to visit was the Palace. It dominates the centre of the town and makes for one huge roundabout! Once again after paying the slightly racist price I was allowed inside. Straight away I had to hand over my camera as photos inside the palace are not allowed. I asked why and the answer “because there is gold inside” left me confused and puzzled. Inside the building (minus the shoes) I was greatly disappointed, whilst the architecture was amazing, especially the columns and the stained glass ceiling, it was all roped off. The display cases which were few and far between were so far away that even though the labels were large you couldn’t read them let alone see clearly what was inside.
From the palace I went to the museum. There, another R100 spent to visit a very boring and poorly laid out display of the maharaja’s personnel life. Let’s face it…seeing 8 gramophone players from the 30’s and 40’s is quite boring!
Passing the elephant ride, which for some reason cost non Indians twice as much, I got my shoes and after a couple of photos left disappointed.

Next I went to a nearby art gallery. It is 3 storeys in height and the ground floor was full of portraits of rich dead people from the Victorian and Edwardian Indian era. The 1st floor was more charming with pictures painted by local Indian artists. The last floor was a smaller affair filled with musical instruments. The one that really caught my eye was three mouth organs fused into a single cylinder that allowed, with a flick of the wrist, to change organs!

My 3rd port of call was the old headquarters of then yet to be Duke of Wellington. At just over 200 years old the building still looks modern and minimalist. The ground floor is used as a cultural centre with rotating displays. This month a small display of Indian Himalayan life and beliefs. Upstairs were some more rich dead guys on canvas and a smattering of Mysorian artists displaying their most recent work. Shame they didn’t have price tags on them!

Across the road from the hotel I was being hassled again by a drug dealer who wouldn’t take “f**k off you low life scum” to mean “please leave me alone”, so I ducked into the nearby bar. Damn, what were the chances of that happening on a Saturday afternoon? Like all good Indian bars the floor is an ashtray, the tables and chairs just about work and there is no tv, music or women to distract the men from the important business of drinking and arguing!

Later on in the evening after a long lie down I awoke feeling hungry. The good news was that next to the bar was a pleasant roof top restaurant. The food didn’t make the tightest of my muscles spasm uncontrollably a few hours later…this is a good thing!


I went to the Zoo……

Damned if I know why?

The snakes and elephants were cool to look at but once I saw the caged jaguar pacing up and down the fence with glazed eyes I remembered why I don’t really like zoos. Still I could be worse; it could be me behind those bars!

In the evening the Palace is lit up with a mind blowing amount of light bulbs and between the hours of 7pm and 8pm the local police band play their little hearts out! Amazingly it’s free to enter and the grounds are packed out with the locals.

For the last 3 days I’ve been hankering after a cheddar cheese and red onion crusty roll. However the chances of getting are one are slim to say the least. So on the way back to the hotel I settled for the next best thing. Yep…I found Indian’s answer to pizza hut. Proper cheese and garlic bread followed by pepperoni pizza. My stomach was making “I love you “noises for hours afterwards.


It’s my 4th day now without tea or coffee…I was wondering why I was finding it hard to get out of bed before 9am!
Today is my last full day in Mysore and in the morning went to Chamundi hill. Its one of the 8 sacred mountains in southern India, so why it’s called a hill? At the summit of the 1300m “hill” is a temple complex complete with the usual array of hawkers and vendors. To reach the top you climb up over 1000 steps, or like me take the bus! I did walk down the steps which gave great views of Mysore and the surrounding countryside. By the time I got to the bottom my left calf was going disco, so I decided to walk back the 2-3 kms to town. After about 20 minutes I came to the conclusion that I was indeed heading completely the wrong way. Not that I minded that much as I was enjoying the walk. As it neared 1pm I felt like a beer…one rickshaw ride later and yep, I back in the bar across the road from the hotel.

Tomorrow I’m off on the early afternoon bus (NO!!!!!!) to………

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