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Lalitha Mahal Palace

Mysore Day Trip: Destination 3


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We were recommended by co-workers to have lunch at Lalitha Mahal Palace which has become a 5-star hotel. It is absolutely gorgeous!

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Inside we made our way to the dining room and were amazed to see a two-story height room in a light blue with white and gold accents. They had a lunch buffet which I enjoyed very much. B did not eat at all. They had two people playing music as well, and it was plesant and beautiful.

We visited a silk shop and a rug shop in the hotel just to get an idea on prices. On the way out, we found this huge stuffed lion in a glass box (we are pretty sure she died a natural death). I would love to stay in this hotel if I ever got the chance.

We were afraid to take pictures while inside the hotel - some hotels don't allow you to do that - but I did get a picture of the outside and I bought a postcard of the dining room (where you can actually see where we sat to eat).

Posted by mexibell 07:53 Archived in India Tagged lodging Comments (0)

Brindavan Gardens and KRS Dam

Mysore Day Trip: Destination 2


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Our second stop on our day trip was Brindavan Gardens and KRS Dam, just a short drive away from the wildlife sanctuary. Again, there were very few people around and it was quiet and peaceful. The gardens are laid out in a terrace style with water features everywhere. At night the water foutains are lit up and they dance to music. The gardens are laid out below the Krishna Raja Sagar (or KRS) Dam, which holds back the Kaveri river for agricultural use. We wanted to go up on top of the dam, but the stairs were closed and I did not want to go up the ever-long ramp. We were on a time-table for the day. I did get some wonderful pictures of flowers that might be worth printing and framing when I get home.

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Posted by mexibell 07:49 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Ranganthittoo Wildlife Sanctuary

Mysore Day Trip: Destination 1


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After an almost 3 hour ride from Bangalore to Mysore, we arrived at Ranhanthittoo Wildlife Sanctuary, about 20 km away from Mysore. It sits along the Kaveri river and attracts many different water birds due to the large number of insects that appear during the monsoon season. We walked around the sanctuary for about 45 minutes. There were not many other people around. It was so peaceful and quiet, which is a huge contrast from life in Bangalore. There was also a gentle breeze which felt so good. We saw lots of birds and even some marsh crocodiles sunning themselves on the rocks. I even got a picture of one of the storks flying.

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There were a small group of boys who started to follow us around. They were given candy by one foreign couple in the sanctuary, so I think they thought they would get the same from us. It only took 5 minutes for them to realize it wasn't going to happen. The general rule is to not give out anything to anybody because you will then have tons of other people coming up to you.

Posted by mexibell 07:23 Archived in India Tagged animal Comments (0)

Traffic


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Driving in India is something everyone should experience one time. It only takes one time to never wish for the experience again. There are certain things that you must know before striking out in India traffic:

  • There are lanes marked on the roads. But no one adheres to the lanes. They aren’t even suggestions here.
  • Honking is not something that is used as a severe warning or to express road rage like it is in America. Horns in India are used to tell people that you are passing them on a certain side, or to get them to move out of the way so that you can pass. It’s a very loud and annoying experience.
  • There are 5 different modes of travel used on the streets: cars, rickshaws, motorbikes, bicycles, and walking.
  • The drivers will do moves that will scare you. It’s best just to follow that old bumper sticker advice: Get In, Sit Down, Shut Up and Hang On.
  • It’s best not to attempt to drive yourself anywhere. The taxi is worth the money.

Everyone shares the road here, which is part of the problem. People are walking or bicycling in the streets, which makes the cars have to straddle the lanes to avoid hitting them. At stop lights, the motorbikes will squeeze in between the cars and rickshaws so that they can get ahead when the light turns green. When this happens, you have people looking in your car and there is no privacy.

If people see that you are a foreigner, sometimes you will have little kids come up and do tricks or gymnastics in front of the car, and then knock on the window to get a donation. I read that you should avoid giving any beggar or child anything since that will prompt a lot of other people to see if they can get a handout as well.

I took a picture from the roof of the building where we work of a light traffic day when there was a transit strike. The small yellow vehicles are the rickshaws. You can see the number of motorbikes and the people walking in the streets. Remember that this is traffic on a LIGHT day…

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Posted by mexibell 21:48 Archived in India Tagged transportation Comments (0)

Schedule Adjusted

sunny
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B and I have finally adjusted to the time difference here. We spend Saturday and Sunday sleeping on and off. Sunday night we didn't sleep at all and crashed by the time we arrived back at the hotel.

I've been meaning to keep track of all the food I've eaten while I am here. So here goes from Sunday:

Breakfasts: The hotel provides a breakfast buffet every morning that B and I take advantage of. It has almost the same items everyday so I won't go through that. I eat a lot of fruit and try all the different lassis that they provide.

Sunday Dinner - I ordered Pasta Primavera for room service and liked it. I was hoping that this would be smaller than the Thali from Saturday night, but I still couldn't finish it.

Monday Lunch - Our company has a "cafe" on the roof of the building. We went up there and for 40 rupees ($1) you can get a Thali for lunch. Everyday the offerrings are slightly different, but it was awesome. And you cannot beat that price. Everything offered there is vegetarian to accomodate most of the workers.

Monday Dinner - The hotel has a buffet that I took advantage of. Everything I tried was really good. I recently discovered that the buffet is different every night, so I need to make a point of looking at it before ordering. I also ordered a mango lassi.

Tuesday Lunch - A co-worker asked if we would like to order out and B jumped at the chance for Pizza Hut (she is not as adventurous as I am when it comes to food). I ordered a Veggie Supreme Personal Pan Pizza and it was very tasty. We also ordered some cheese garlic bread to with it.

Tuesday Dinner - I decided to order off the menu and I had Ma Po Dau Fu, which is tofu cooked in a spicy sauce. I ordered some rice and a mango lassi to go with it. It was ok...better than some Ma Po Dau Fu's that I've had. The sauce was really spicy, so I ended up blotting the sauce off the tofu and eating it with the rice.

Wednesday Lunch - A co-worker took us to a little restaurant (can't remember the name) and I ordered Vegetable Curry with Naan. It was perfect! Slightly spicy with a lot of complex flavors. B ordered Chicken Tandoori and it was the most moist Chicken Tandoori I've ever had. We tried our co-worker's Portugese Fish and it was awesome (from someone who doesn't like a lot of fish).

Wednesday Dinner - I ordered Chicken Satay and Rice with a Diet Coke (I had a craving). The chicken was good, with a slight charcoal flavor. But the Peanut sauce was not peanut-y enough for me and just a little too spicy. I couldn't taste a lot of flavor. After dinner B and I had pistachio ice cream which was different than what we get in the US. It almost tasted like there was cherry flavor in it.

Everyday we have fruit in out room, and some days they bring little sweets for us to eat. Monday night I had a little chocolate torte and some brownies waiting for me. Tonight I had a sugar cookie (which was very good). We also have bottled water placed in our room, which is the only thing we drink except canned drinks.

It's very interesting to watch how our Indian co-workers eat at lunch. First, utensils are not necessary and often not wanted. Eating with your fingers in the norm here. I do a little bit of it when I have naan or roti breads. The second thing I notice is that they usually don't drink water with their meals. I guess they have grown up with some of the spices and can eat the meal without a drink.

On Monday when we were eating I noticed that there were two bottles on the table with clear liquid in them. My first guess was that they were something to keep bugs away. Then on Tuesday when we ate there I saw Y drink out of it, but she didn't touch her lips. Apparently they are communal bottles where it's understood that you don't touch your lips to it. The bottles are filled with filtered water and re-filled as needed.

Y and S allowed us to try their food and it was awesome! This is the kind of Indian food that I want to eat all the time. I need to find a cookbook that has more than Tikka Masala in it.

I have noticed as well that beef and pork are more prevalent here that I thought. All the info I read said don't expect to see beef or pork, but our hotel has had both. We believe that it's because the hotel is predominently foreigners. I made a point of eating a hamburger before I left the state to make sure that I would have a small beef fix, but it was not necessary.

Posted by mexibell 07:21 Archived in India Comments (0)

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