First day in Bangalore

The Leela Hotel Bangalore India

I woke up, looked out my window and started to orient myself.  I was now in a more tropical environment and it was warm.  I took out a cotton shirt and cotton pants and proceeded down to the Citrus café for breakfast.  There was a full array of Indian food, international food and an area for freshly prepared eggs and pastries galore. I had a small breakfast of cheese, yogurt, and breads and of course hot tea. I wandered around the hotel and its gardens and It felt good to move at my own pace. I was still tired and coping with jet lag.  I needed a few hours to take it slow.  After my breakfast I walked into the lobby and a young man was refreshing the tuberose on the arrangement I had seen the night before. I asked for a couple of tips of tuberose to bring back to my room.  I put them in a glass and placed it next to my bed.  I was not in a hurry to get to the office. 

 There are people all over the hotel at your service and as you pass they gently ask, “Is your stay the Leela Palace ok Madam?”   How can anything go wrong here?   It has several good restaurants, the landscape looks like paradise, everyone on the staff all have impeccable manners, and in general the palace it is stunningly beautiful. 

I was having a light lunch outside on the patio when the waiter placed a dish in front of me to try. This is a” house specialty madam” I thought you might want to try. My antenna is up immediately.  Is “house specialty” the Indian version of Chinese “delicacy”? Do I have some kind of radar that says I am willing to try new things?  What is it? I asked politely.   It is Lamb madam. I reluctantly obliged while thinking, “I really don’t like lamb very much and I really just want to pick my own food and be left alone.”   I thanked him and acknowledged that the dish was good.  It was swimming in a spicy curry sauce and I could not even tell it was lamb.  After eating I was asked for my room number and my mind went blank.  I have been in 6 different rooms since I left the US. I didn’t know the number and was too tired to think it through.  I finally just asked him to swipe my credit card.

 

As I prepared to go to the office I went to the ATM and figured I would get the equivalent of a few hundred dollars. I walked away laughing at my naïve perspective of the exchange rate, I had so many rupees I wondered they would all fit in my wallet.  As I removed the Chinese RMB to put in the Indian rupees, the contrast of pictures on the face of bill suddenly startled me and forced me to think about the cultural difference in these two countries. The RMB had Chairman Mao and the Rupee had Gandhi. It was contrasting in every way.

 

I walked over to the bell desk to ask for my driver. The bell captain blew a whistle and asked for my driver by speaking into a microphone. A few minutes my driver pulled up and the captain opened the door and as I got into the care Ravi cheerfully greeted me drove me to the office. The drive awakened me and it felt good to be outside in the sunshine and I spent the entire drive observing everything that passed my way.  The lane lines on the road are only useful when there is no traffic. As the traffic increases it becomes a game of chicken as to who could hold their own ground with motorcycles, auto-rickshaws and cars all vying to move forward.  As I look around there is no doubt I am in a third world country.  The streets are strewn with garbage, the buildings are worn down, there are people selling on the edge of the street, women walked along the side of the road balancing all manner of things on their heads and there is a constant din of honking horns. I stepped out of the car and went to front desk and asked where my colleagues sat. The guard immediately called up to the office and in 2 minutes Sunu was at my side escorting me through the building.  She was a small woman who was an assistant for one of the directors and I swear she kept the place running smoothly. It was Friday and after I had spent a few hours catching up on e mail and getting a sense of the office layout.  Many of my colleagues were not in the office as Monday was a holiday and they had taken the extra day off. I had finished my work so I packed my bag to get ready to go. Sunu called down to have Ravi meet me at the front desk. She was incredibly efficient and I said good evening and left for the day.

 I asked Ravi if he could pick me up tomorrow so I could spend some time touring around the area. He eagerly said “yes madam” and we agreed on a meeting time for the next day.

 I went down to the café to have a small dinner. I was delighted to see Muligatawney soup on the menu and ordered it immediately. When I ordered the waiter asked “Are you sure Madam it is quite spicy” I answered. “Yes please I love this soup.  I have it at home sometimes and I am anxious to try the authentic version.”  It was the perfect meal, completed by a piece of buttered naan  Indian flat bread) and a little chocolate tart.

 As I returned to hotel room, I noticed that some of the tuberose buds had fallen off the stalk on to my bedside table.  I took them and placed them in my bath to luxuriate and sooth my sore muscles. I curled up with a good book and had every intention of catching up on my jet lag. I was ready to have a look around the next day and I wanted to have energy.

 

The Leela Hotel in Bangalore is beautiful, check it out.  http://www.theleela.com/locations/bangalore

Leela Hotel Grounds
Leela Hotel grounds

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05.06 | 05:29

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04.06 | 20:35

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18.11 | 19:06

Picturesque.

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