I arrived in Bangalore (Bengaluru) at 00:35 on the 23rd of January. The Air France flight was 25 minutes late. Due to the coronavirus that is running in China at the moment the immigration hall at Kempegowda International Airport was a nightmare. Queues everywhere. Lots of officials wearing masks doing… well not much.
I joined the queue. The wrong queue. None of the officials saw fit to try and direct the weary passengers from multiple flight to the proper lines. I was in the line for the health questions for people coming from China and Hong Kong. Obviously I needn’t have been as I’d arrived from the UK via France.
Having waited all the way to the front of the queue I was informed that I’d joined the wrong queue, so I headed for passport control and joined that line. Yup – it was the wrong one too. I have an e-Visa. Different queue.
Two hours later and about three aircraft’s worth of baggage on the baggage claim belt 10 I finally have my biometrics taken (I’m not a criminal but I’m subjected to having fingerprints taken and a facial scan) and I’m free to collect my rucksack.
PK has now been waiting for me since 00:10.
Bus to Bangalore
The bus ride into the centre of Bangalore was uneventful but lengthy enough to be a literal pain in the arse having been sitting down, effectively, since 20:45 on the 21st of January.
At nearly 04:00 PK and I exit the bus at Cubbon Park in the centre of Bangalore. I know we are near the hostel but as I don’t have an Indian SIM and PK’s credit is out we wander around for a good while without Google maps help trying to find Social Rehab Downtown Hostel. The place isn’t going to open until 08:00 so we have time.
Finally locating the hostel we are faced with a 2 hour and 40 minute wait until the doors open. PK leans on the bell and we are let in at about 05:20. We both fall asleep on the sofa in the social gathering area of the hostel for a couple of hours. It’s ok, this is India and it’s pretty normal to crash out when and where possible.
Breakfast, lunch and supper
Very much refreshed we head out looking for an Airtel shop to buy me a SIM, recharge PK’s phone and to find some chaya and grub. The phone shop opens at 10:30 so… grub first. Anna Kuterra (only vegetarian food) provides the grub. The food there is so good that we’ll end up eating there every meal time. I’ve been missing dosa and idli. Two cups of chaya, two plates of dosa, sambar and chutney 120/-Rs. UK money, about £1·50. Stuffed to the gills. You’d be unlikely to get a coffee back home for that!
Lovely food – all vegetarian
SIM purchased and installed and I’m connected to the net at last. 289/- Rs (£3) for 28 days and 1·5Gb of data daily. More than enough for me.
We have a meeting in town at 15:00 on the 24th – more on that later. So now is the time for a quick explore of the local area. I don’t want to stay in Bangalore, I want to get out to PK’s parent’s farm near Yadamangala. His mum and dad ask after me frequently and I want to visit them again, breathe some fresh air, have a swim in the river Kumaradara, sleep with only the noise of night birds and insects (and the occasional dog barking).
Beer in Bangalore
Many people I know think that India is dirty and covered with rubbish. In some places it is. But Bangalore is a modern city, it’s kept clean and tidy and has some lovely architecture and great food. PK and I discovered a bar where they brew excellent beer on site, and I mean excellent! Yes it was a little pricey but, sure, I’m used to UK and Europe prices so… what the hell. The Bière Club wouldn’t be out of place in any major European city. Their choices are
- Blonde Ale
- Wheat Beer
I had a couple of the blonde ales, PK a Lager and a blonde ale. But I also had samplers (chupito/shot size) of the other two.
We are leaving Bangalore on the 25th. So no more beer and back to the hostel for an early start.