Impressions of My 4th Visit to Bangalore
1. Strangest sight this visit: A pack of camels marching down a busy street in Bangalore! Cows are a very common sight on Bangalore streets and traffic, along with many stray dogs, chickens, sheep, goats, etc. but I have never seen camels before in Bangalore traffic. Camels are actually quite common in several northern Indian states, where there are deserts, and where they are used for farming, meat and milk. If you haven't already seen this from a previous post, watch this incredible footage of Indian traffic, and imagine cows and camels in the chaotic mix.
2. Most interesting phrase this visit, heard from a student: "I was the topper of my batch in 12th standard." American translation: I graduated at the top of my high school class.
3. Something I didn't notice before on my previous 3 visits: Almost all of the utility poles in Bangalore are made of cement, because of the shortage of wood.
4. Something I had never heard before: India still struggles with polio, especially in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where they had 1,500 cases a few years ago. Polio in the U.S. has essentially been wiped for more than a half century - by 1964 there were only about 100 cases of polio in the U.S.
5. Best part of living in Bangalore: having a "butler" as part of the accommodations provided by my host there, Alliance Business School. Lewis stayed with me in a beautiful apartment and did all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, shopping, shoe shining, arranging for vehicles, making appointments, etc.
6. Worst part of traveling to Bangalore: the grueling 24-hour travel to get there and back, and having to connect in Paris' Charles DeGaulle (CDG) airport, arguable the worst airport in the world. Anybody who used to complain about the old DTW airport in Detroit, should try connecting in Paris sometime, and see what real travel frustration is all about. CDG has 6 separate terminals, connected by bus ONLY - you cannot walk from one to the other. And even if you arrive in a terminal, and leave on a connecting flight from that SAME terminal, you can often count on a one-hour connection time (it took me more than one hour, and I almost missed my flight), because you have to go through security again, and the lines can be LONG. Compare that to connecting in a real airport like DTW or MSP, or even Frankfurt or Amsterdam or Bangalore.