India Itself

After many hour of flying and some hours in Singapore and many hours spent at NetApp's BTC office, I had some time to wander around town. Actually, I took pictures walking to and from the office, while I was at the hotel and any other time I could.

I found the people generally friendly, if a bit mercenary at times (we were considered fair game among the auto rickshaw drivers as well as, apparently, among the hotel's drivers). Most people there were delighted to see us.

The only real entertainment I had was wandering around the streets looking for bargains. So I shopped alot. But there are, it turns out, many other things to do. There are museums and so forth there.

Because there wasn't enough room at Oberoi, Jay and I stayed at the Taj West. It's very nice there! Here's a picture from my back porch of the next building over. You can see how much foliage there is. I was in a two story building with, perhaps, 16 rooms in it. It was quite a way from the lobby and I seldom saw the other guests.
Here's a picture of some plants near my room. It's like living in a rain forest...
In front of the hotel they have a pool with a fountain. If you look closely you'll see a man holding surveying equipment. We passed his partner and, unlike every other person at the hotel, he impatiently waved us out of the way. These technical people have no sense of etiquette! :)
This is an odd structure behind the hotel which I think is a water tower.
Here is the ubiquitous auto rickshaw or "auto." If you want to get around in Bangalore, this is the vehicle to use. Of course, if you are by yourself, or with up to three close friends or relatives, a motorcycle is a fine choice as well.
I never spent any time on a bus but I spent a lot of time sitting in auto-rickshaws with buses mere feet away -- very exciting!
I saw a bunch of these white cars. They must be something special but I don't know what.
I passed a garage in which workers were pulling out huge piles of wires. And then I passed more piles of wires. And then I came upon a cart with more wires on it. I assumed I would next see the front end of an auto-rickshaw or small truck. But instead I found this animal! I would love to hear about the economics of using water buffalo power instead of a gasoline engine.
Do you Yahoo? Apparently someone in India IS Yahoo! Hey, we aren't the only people hiring in Bangalore!
I thought this building was interesting because it's a fairly modern looking building set among a lot of sort of older buildings.
I liked this little white church. It's so clean and neat.
Everywhere I went there were people sweeping the sidewalks with these brooms. Some places aren't completely paved but they still sweep the parts that ARE paved. Naturally, the paving stones will be dirty tomorrow -- and they will sweep them again.
I noticed these chalk markings at doorways. At first I thought they might be graffiti of some sort but then I noticed that they put them (at least in that neighborhood) in front of every place people might come out of their house. I suspect they might be the local equivalent of a Mezuzah -- that is, stepping over these symbols is a form of blessing. It had not been raining and yet the sidewalk was wet; this is because they pour water on the sidewalk before they wash it.
Everywhere I went in Bangalore there were sidewalks paved with stones. On the side away from the street there is always a ditch. Often covered, here we see where the cover is missing. This is a pile of leaves which we passed without incident for 3 days. Then we noticed that it was burning. It burned for another 3 days and, as far as I could tell, finally just went out by itself.
Here's Cauvery, a very nice store on M.G. road, just up the street from the hotel. Inside there is every manner of hand crafted and manufactured product all tastefully displayed. Vases, carvings, cloth hangings, jewelry and much more. You buy things here by taking them to the nearest register. There they type the numbers into a computer and print out an invoice; you get one copy and they tape the other to the item you bought and send it to another room. When you are done you take all the invoices to the cashier and pay for them. Then you take the paid invoices to the pickup window and they find your stuff for you. Sort of like a catalog showroom (remember those?) would be if they didn't have a warehouse in the back.
I waned to get some embroidery thread for Dorita. No one could tell me where that might be; some were of the opinion (and you know who you are) that there are no embroidery shops in Bangalore. But I found it (it took about an hour of wandering and asking questions). This guy had 400 colors plus every other thing that a person working in textiles might want.
And here is the floss (embroidery thread is called "floss") I bought. This is about $15 worth of stuff.
This a long open air market near Commercial Street. It is a long wall on which merchants have hung all manner of nightgowns and other pretty pieces of clothing. In the distance is St. Mary's Cathedral.
Here's another picture of the open air market showing some Indian ladies in their saris. (I've been informed that these are not "saris" but "salwar-kamij". Apparently, saris are wrap-around skirts while salwar-kamij are long tunic-like outfits. If these women were wearing saris you would see them wrapped around their shoulders underneath the scarves.)
As I was walking along the open air market this young guy waived me over and asked me to take a picture of an old friend of his. This is his old friend. He told me he wanted a copy of it but I didn't think I could get him one -- it's not like I carry a printer with me.
I also took this picture of the young man, his old friend and some other kids near by. I believe this is the best picture I took while I was there.
I printed out the pictures I took of the young man and his friend on a printer at work and took them back. It took me a while to get back to the exact same place (we'd just been wandering around) but I finally found it. Here everyone in the neighboring stores has come over to celebrate the pictures I took. For 10 minutes I was a local hero!
I found it fascinating that everyone who could wore a uniform. This is probably the most elaborate one. This is the doorman to the Oberoi hotel.
Here are a couple of security guards. They are probably there to prevent people from parking in the parking lot and/or blocking traffic.
Again, just a guy stationed at a gate.
And again.
Another security guard at a gate. I wonder if the ones with more elaborate uniforms have more important jobs or if it's just a fashion statement?
Here is an example of marketing in India. It's all about cool. Young, good looking men doing a "Fonzie" and showing off a product.
And another example, this time pointing at you. Everywhere good looking men (and sometimes women) seem to be pointing at you in just this way. There is something ironic in using modern marketing to sell traditional clothing but it's an irony that we Americans know all too well.
This was my favorite marketing trick. This manikin is bowing to you (she is motor driven) wearing the latest fashions. Notice the generator at her feet. Many shops have no electricity at all and everyone needs a backup generator because the electricity goes out for short periods almost every day. It made me homesick for California in the summer...
I took this picture from my hotel balcony.
This is a picture I took of the open air market. When I was going through it I noticed this guy in the crowd. He doesn't look very happy to see me there. Perhaps he doesn't want his picture taken or maybe he just doesn't like Americans. Or maybe he's just having a bad day.
I saw this symbol in a church at Jaya and Sharon's wedding (one of eight of which I knew four) and didn't know what it was. I saw it here in India and I asked. It's called "Om" and is the "Symbol of the Absolute", an important sacred symbol of Hinduism.
This is St. Mary's Cathedral.
This is a small Hindu shrine or temple. In some neighborhoods I saw these every few blocks.

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Dave Menconi


Last changed 4/13/04.

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