My Time in India
In some ways India seems designed to frustrate. To intentionally drive away those who are unfamiliar with its idiosyncrasies.
- The time zone is :30 off of the standard time breaks. This guarantees that no other place will operate on the same time zone and every traveler will have to reset their watch.
- The government of Kerala (South-West India) has called for a strike of government employees in Friday 6a-6p. Makes it hard to do business.
- Locals say you can know your way around unless your family has lived in a place for generations. There may be some truth to that.
- State governments are nearly all either Hindu nationalists or communist. One state bans beef and alcohol, another promotes strikes. In Kerala, for example, there were 86 days of government called strikes last year.
Next time you’re in Bangalore, stop by a restaurant called Bheema’s just off Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road for short). Try the deep fried curried hot peppers. That’s the first place I ate in India and it was great. MG Road is one of the main roads through Bangalore and it’s lined with shops. The unfinished metro rail runs down the road, looking like a monorail high above the road. It’s not thought very highly of in the town – for one reason because they decided to go over, rather than under, the streets. Many locals consider that an eyesore and since it’s taken so long to get going they see it as a hassle. Hopefully when it’s done it’s effective at reducing traffic.
Speaking of traffic, I don’t know that there are any traffic laws. The only rule is chaos. People jostle for position if and when they can get through the traffic. Lots of two-wheel and three-wheel vehicles are in use. Most of the two-wheelers have two people on them. Women sit ladylike, sidesaddle. Sounds like the whole situation would be dangerous but the speeds never get above about 30mph so that reduces risk somewhat. Overtaking is quite an undertaking here – there no blinkers, only horns. And if you don’t use yours people are likely to run you down. It’s craziness.
You’ve heard the expression “exit through the gift shop.” That’s the case in Bangalore airport. Bangalore airport security dumps you into a duty free store you have to get through to get to your gate. This seems to be an increasing trend in International airports. Well at least that’s organized.