Wednesday, December 9, 2015

High contrast

I’m no expert on Bangalore, let alone India but here are my observations for what they’re worth.

This country is a land of extreme contrasts—yes, there’s desperate poverty but there’s a lot of wealth and the two don’t always live that far away from each other.

I’ve seen shrines scattered and tucked away in the smallest spaces. Some are plain stone or limestone and others are highly elaborate and colorful. I’ve also seen a fair number of Christian churches here—I passed one this afternoon and I could see inside where the altar and cross were, along with a couple of motorcycles.

This trip, the garbage was far more obvious than last summer. I read an article in the paper that described the garbage dumping as a protest. Apparently, the garbage is supposed to be sorted by whether it’s wet or dry and people aren’t doing that. So the garbage trucks aren’t picking up the trash—so in turn, people are burning it.

Bananas here are a lot smaller. They’re maybe three inches long? Limes are different too, the skin is much smoother than the limes I buy at home.

I’ve seen more cows in the road this trip, also goats (which I didn’t see last time).

Someone asked me last time what I missed the most when I’m here. I don’t think I posted this (apologies if so) but other than my husband what I miss the most is being able to rinse my toothbrush under running water.

It’s winter here, and people think it’s cold. I’ve seen down vests, heavy sweaters and scarves and the other night I saw a woman wearing ear muffs. Temps have ranged from highs in the mid-80s to lows in the mid- to low-60s.

The floods in Chennai have had an impact here. The drains run under the sidewalks for the most part, and the sidewalks are made up of concrete slabs designed to be picked up and moved so the drains can be dug out. And that’s what I’ve seen—huge piles of dirt and debris piled alongside these open channels where the sidewalks are. If it rains here the way it did in Chennai last week, Bangalore would flood too. There’s just nowhere for the water to go.

We don't take cabs here, the hotel provides a driver to take me to work and pick me up (and also do the airport run). Some of my drivers have really wanted to talk—they’ve asked where I’m from, how many times I’ve been here, what religion I am (that topic isn’t taboo here), what I think of Bangalore etc etc etc. It’s mostly sweet although sort of tiring.

I’m glad to head home tonight, well really it’s early morning. Regardless. In about 30 hours I’ll be home and that’s a good thing.

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