Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bangalore more

Continuing the string of people in Bangalore being awesome, I couchsurfed with an awesome Bangalorean (/Bihari) named Siddharth, who showed me even more all around the city, including this temple with a giant bull (Nandi, Shiva's ride) carved all out of one piece of rock.
you can kind of see him in the back there

Food in Bangalore is great, because they take the food from South India plus everywhere else. Siddharth kindly treated me to a Butter Dosa (or should I say, "Better Dosa", hey?), the best Biryani, and Idli/Vada, which I will eat all the time.

Drinks in Bangalore are great, because South India likes coffee. The standard is black coffee, brewed overnight into this super-concentrated coffee sludge, then diluted with milk and sugar, in a tiny shot glass. Yeah, it's a bastardization and tastes like a Starbucks concoction, but it's tasty and small. Also, Cafe Coffee Day started here, which means they have The Best CCD:
Single origin coffees! Single origin coffees from all over the world, including India! I had a french press from a plantation in Karnataka. Not life-changing, but if I paid $4 for it in Seattle, I'd be happy.

Bangalore is glitzy.

This is UB City, a shiny shopping mall. Why am I here?

Tech boom means there's lots of money here. Lots of money means shiny stores and status symbols; people wear brand name clothes and ogle cars. (Once, driving with Moin and driver Ram, we passed a Rolls Royce. Moin: "Wow, a Rolls Royce." Ram: "Yeah, that belongs to so-and-so, a friend of Vijay Mallya." Not just celebrity gossip, celebrity car gossip!) Sometimes prices creep up into American territory.

However, it also means it's a city I can understand how to spend time in. There are pubs (which close at 11:30 by law, but whatever) and coffeeshops, movie theaters and art galleries. Alternative weekly magazines. One microbrewery. There are almost even neighborhoods; most are plastered with malls, but there are hints of real new modern culture developing.

And there are a couple parks. Lalbagh botanical garden:

Not actually a lawn jockey, but a monkey wearing clothes. Is this racist?

Anyway. Bangalore is neat. I feel almost as much at home here as anywhere. Still impossibly unwalkable, and there are some cultural issues (like celebrity car gossip), but then, you have those anywhere. And besides, am I traveling in order to match up each city against some criteria and judge how good they are, or how much I'd like them, or how much I'd like to live there?


  1. wow, Bangalore! some of those pics look like you could be in Chicago or something! probably not your cup o' joe. womp womp.

  2. its funny you say that, I just was telling my wife Laura that looking at these pics you might not know you were not in the US.

  3. Nah, if I were choosing a place to live, I kinda like it. Glitz is not my bag, but it's fine, because it means that outside the glitzy downtown there are probably a lot of good (not too dirty, and with some culture) places to live.

    Either way, yeah, it's definitely the most United-Statesish city I've seen here.