At the weekend we booked a bus to Mysore and Bandipur. Keeping 8 of us together was a mission, especially when the rickshaw drivers were refusing to take us to the bus station. We sent the others on and Hannah and I eventually made it, leapt onto a bus which we thought was the free shuttle bus to the mtct bus station so we could connect with our bus to Mysore, because we asked "is this the free shuttle bus to the mtct bus station" "yes yes yes". Great, we thought, perching for what we thought would be minutes on hard seats on the rickety and cramped 3rd class bus. "Where is this bus going?" we asked after a while. "Mysore Mysore". These people just can't stop saying yes, and wobbling their heads about like jibber jabbers in the Indian fashion. So we were on a real bumpy local bus, at night, for 3 hours, while our air-conditioned deluxe coach with reserved reclining seats zipped off without us. But at least we were going in the right direction. The bus conductor sat with us and was telling us that his one ambition in life was to go to England or America. He was asking, how could he get there? How much would it cost, 1 lakh? Sad, that he will probably never fulfil his dream, and we can flit about across the globe as and when the fancy takes us. He spent his few pennies on buying us a bunch of mini bananas, and was hurt when we were at first wary of eating them. He loves George Bush and asked if we knew (personally) Andrew Flintoff, or had met Diana - his heroes. I think we made his day though, as he was grinning from ear to ear and calling us his friends. On Saturday we went to Bandipur to go on safari. It was rubbish. We saw 2 buffalo, 3 peacocks and a herd of wild deer. And a monkey stole our crisps. We did ride elephants though. Back in Mysore we stayed at a posh 5 star hotel next to pizza corner complete with HOT SHOWER and watched England lose YET AGAIN on penalties in the quarterfinals of the world cup. Sunday was spent buying gorgeous silk sarees and visiting an Ayurvedic essential oil guru-man (out here, everyone's a guru) Guru-man was a round Indian with a gold tooth and big grin. He invited us into his back room where we drank chai and he demonstrated his oils. He especially enjoyed telling us about musk - "black musk is for your future husband, sister, put behind the ears and under the tongue and he will turn into a tiger" (and at this point he roared like a tiger) and the woman rubs white musk onto her nipples and turns into a deer... apparently. He also said I may lose my hair unless I bought this hair oil. Well, I can't afford to go bald!! Considering Sarah Macdonald's 'Holy Cow', people out here are quite accurate in their predictions. We stayed in Mysore to see the palace light up, and got mobbed by a troupe of Indian army cadets who wanted to take our picture. It was Vicky's last weekend; she had a six o'clock flight this morning. New volunteers came this weekend, so there are about 25 of us, and I should be getting Julia as my new roomie tonight.