Couchsurfing in Bangalore

Equipped with a 39-year old Japanese name Hideaki (long story), the three of us made our way in a taxi on the bumpy roads of India for 6 hours from Tiruvannamalai to Bangalore. As hours pass, the countryside slowly turned to valleys and plateaus of granite used for extraction. Eventually it all melted to city life. Urban buildings, shopping malls, gyms, orderly traffic (compared to Tiru) and all the usual stuff you have in Singapore.

Hideaki, our Japanese IT & software guru from Tiru

Our first stop was at Hotel Empire in the City Centre along a busy road called Mahatma Gandhi Road – (MG Road for short). After dispatching our baggage, the second stop was a sumptuos buffet lunch costing $3.30 located conveniently at the hotel lobby. Having refrained from eating meat as much as we would love to, we devoured the Halal chickens and muttons like zombies in Resident Evil.  The staff tried to con us while paying. For the first time ever, i saw the smiley Hideaki lost his cool. Trust me, you do not want to see an angry Japanese. (Hell hath no fury like a Japanese scorned)

After ingesting meat protein back to our systems, we’re up and about exploring the city of Bangalore. Lanes of shopping malls and branded stalls lined up the streets. The people here looked better well off and the women are more attractive. We observed a stark difference in the level of humility, warmth and manners compared to the more welcoming Tiruvannamalai.

In the evening, we were greeted by our “Bangalorean” friend/host and his beautiful Brazilian girlfriend. (Firman was pranked into believing her name was Pushpa). This was how the introduction went:

Firman: Eh, what’s Amar’s girl’s name?

Linda: (blurts out randomly) Pushpa

(Amar arrives in a car and waves hi and shook our hands)

Linda: Hello everyone! Hi Amar!

(goes into the back of the car)

(Firman enters next)

Firman: Hey Amar, oh by the way, that must be Pushpa right?

(awkward silence)

Linda: Hi! You must be Amar’s girlfriend. What’s your name?

Amar’s Girlfriend: Shanalie. (Crick, Crick, Crick….. more awkward silence)

We went on to explore the Cubbon Park, Post Office and more administrative building along the way the next day. Halal food is easily available here in Bangalore and we had happy tummies all day long. On the third day onwards, our hospitable hosts invited us to their villa. If you thought our house in Tiru was grand, Palm Meadows was majestic. Three stories high with condo facilities like swimming pool, California fitness-like gym, steam bath and sauna, we felt pampered amongst the elites. We asked how much was the rent – SGD 1500 per month. In Singapore, that amount could only afford you a measly 3-room flat in a bad inaccessible location.

Palm Meadows, our haven in Bangalore

Firman getting some bike lessons

To summarise our stay in Bangalore, we would highly recommend this for expats trying to get their feet wet, for it is one of the more metropolitan cities in India.  The interesting thing is that if you look hard enough, there are many historical sites and natural places to see in Bangalore. Unfortunately, we pass out on this opportunity because motorbikes can’t be rented here and drivers tend to overcharge.

Traveller tips: When taking the auto-rickshaw, ensure that they’re using the meter before alighting. For Muslims, you definitely should check out Ammi’s Briyani. Slightly pricey Briyani but extremely tasty.

We managed to roam around the busy and colorful KR Market

The largest mosque in Bangalore, Jama Masjid

Unfortunately, we were unable to enter the mosque as the entrance is closed. Closed? -_-”

The main entrance of Jama Masjid

McDonald hotcakes in Bangalore

Bangalore’s Wild Safari at Bannerghatta Biological Park

The unique thing about the wild safari is that we can get really upclose with the animals as seen from the pictures, but of course, in the safety of our safari van.

Park entry cost SGD 5 per person.

We managed to catch two shows in the cinemas: Heart-warming  Bollywood movie, Barfi & the action-packed, Resident Evil: Retribution. Both were great shows. One thing that’s different is the movies in India have intermissions (a 10min break halfway through the movie) – something we’re beginning to get used to. Kinda reminded me of the cinema in Thailand where everybody have to stand when the national anthem is playing and slideshow of the Thai King is screened, before the movie starts.

Some terminology that might interest you:

In India, “TAPAU”, “PACKET” or “TAKE AWAY” is known as “PARCEL”.

To top up your pre-paid card, you say “RECHARGE” instead of “TOP-UP”.

Traffic lights are called “SIGNALS”.

Restaurants are called “HOTELS”.

At traffic light junctions, when it’s green light, locals called it “OPEN”.

Well, there it is our 9-day stay in Bangalore.

Next stop, the picturesque coastal town of Gokarna and Goa!

From the mountains, to the plateau and now to the coast.

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