We arrived at a hotel we found in Lonely Planet after a death defying cab ride from the Bangalore airport. The hotel was nice enough, more than we wanted to pay ($20!), and as we checked in the receptionist guy told us "great night life. Down the street to the left. 10 minutes." At this point it was dark, and we're in India!!, but not to be deterred decided to take the walk. It's totally dark, loud (you don't drive without beeping 3 times a second), dirty, and empty. We passed a few people, but nothing, I mean nothing was open. This is 7:30 pm. We go back to the hotel, decide Bangalore sucks, and we're bailing the next day. Had a lovely dinner at the hotel, watched National Geographic and called it a day.
Day 2 India. We start walking thinking we'll explore a little and hit the train station later on to find out about leaving. After a 15 minute walk decide we don't want to give Bangalore another 2 seconds thought and tuk tuked it to the station. (Maria- how did you do it for 5 weeks!??) Indian train stations are fun. There are 8 million people running around all trying to get to the front of the "line." More of a cluster around the window. We finally push in, are told to go upstairs, go upstairs to get the train #. go downstairs to ticket window 14 labeled "Seniors and Foreigners." Old Indian men are a lot like old Korean men. They feel entitled and they push. We patiently wait and get a ticket for that evening to Kerala (South Western Indian Coast. Supposed to be less touristy than Goa) via sleeper car. Sleeper car to Paul and I sounds fancy. It's not. We meet 2 super sweet Indian dudes, both under 20, who chat us up and help us find out train. And thank god becasue we would have had trouble with that! We get there and words can't describe the spartan condition. Each cube, as I will call it, consists of 8 beds. 3 on one wall, 3 on the opposing wall, and two across the aisle perpendicular to the other 6. Somehow our cube sat no less than 12 for the first hour. I went to the bathroom at one point (literally ahole onto the tracks) and can't help but notice we have the most popular cube in our car.
It's all men except me and the girl across from me. She starts chatting me up, I have a really difficult time undertsanding her, not only is her accent thick, but the windows of the cars are just bars, so the whooshing of the Indian countryside is quite defeaning. Anyway, she asks about Paul and I, and I tell her all about our marriage on June 3rd (Mom not really, this is just our story), and how this is our honeymoon. Then I start talking to Paul and i guess we kissed or held hands or something because she beckons me over and whispers, "Sister, you cannot kiss you husband. You're in front of Indians." Oops!! All PDA is officially off. Then she asks more about us and finds out that Paul is a year younger than me. This is shocking ot her as only high leaders in India can marry an older woman. Ghandi married a woman 13 years his senior. She suggests next time we get 1st class (hey we thought we did), notes how strange my life is compared to hers, then kisses me on both cheeks and she and her posse depart.
Paul and I had the 6 beds then to ourselves and I managed to sleep ~6 of the 11 hour ride. I totally love Indian trains, I thnk Paul is less enthusiastic, but at least we got to use our locks!
We arrive in Kerala at 4:15 am and wander the streets looking for a hotel. Find one and sleep only to be awoken by banging on tin. WHy, what could that be in June in Southern India? MONSOON!! You hear about it, and read about it, but without seeing it, you can't quite grasp what monsoon season in India is truely like. We go out this morning to find the streets completely flooded, even the path to our hotel is submerged and we have to wade our way out. After a brief convo with the desk man we decide this ain't stoppin anytime soon so we best head out. Go to the train station and book a 16 hour general class (not even sleeper, oh my!) ticket for Goa tomorrow am. Hopefully the monsoon hasn't hit there.
I must say, Paul and I way prefer Kerala in the monsoon to Bangalore anytime (the weather there was awesome, high 20s and cool in the evenings).
Killing time at a ghetto Internet Cafe after havng an amazing lunch. Indian food is amaaaaaazing!! We haven't had a bad meal yet!
Off to see if we can find a beer. We haven't drank since we got here, and apparently the only place you can find booze is at a bar. So here's hoping. Hopefully sunnier news from Goa!!
We'll see India in a week at this pace!