So Chennai was a really busy, smelly and manic city, totally not designed for tourism or westerners. Very unlike the other Asian cities we have visited so far, which seemed like they were being equipt with all the western aminities and luxuries necessary to lure in the holiday crowds....
The bus journey to Bangalore however, was very much like the other bus journies we have taken in Asia....
Buses stopping at the side of the road for 4 hours for no apparent reason
The staff deciding to stop for their dinners at random time of the night for an hour at a time.
Toilet stops in 'The Worlds Worst Toilets - Come get aids for free here!!'
Drivers who fancy themselves as F1 drivers spitting red juice out of the driverside doors, unbelievably loud locals answering the phones like a sketch out of Dom Jollys 'Trigger Happy TV.'
...."HELLO!!!! YEAH IM ON THE BUS!!!!! DONT WORRY, THERE IS ONLY ANOTHER 50 PEOPLE ON HERE, ILL SHOUT ALL I WANT... ITS ONLY 4AM AFTERALL. I'VE BEEN PLAYING THE SAME s*** SONG ON REPEAT FOR THE LAST 16 HOURS DIRECTLY OUT OF MY IPOD ANYWAY."
"....AND SNORTING FLEM FROM MY THROAT AND SPITTING ON THE FLOOR TOO. AS WE DO..."
Needless to say - we LOVED being back in Asia!
Moaning aside, the adventure and uncertainty is exactly why we came to India and the 4 hour drive which turned into a 12 hour journey was an eventful beggining!
My cousin lived in Bangalore last year for 6 months or so and stayed in a lovely block of flats downstairs from an awesome guy called Nikhil who offered to let us stay with him for the night!
So we took a rickshaw from the bus stop in the city to his place, trying to read his directions to the driver
It wasnt the easiest thing in the world considering that not only did he not understand any English, which is understandable, but he seemed to have absolutely no idea of where anything was in Bangalore, which for a taxi driver in Bangalore isnt the best characteristic.
Still, we soon found Nikhil and even sooner found our glasses full of red wine, rum and coke and vodka! (not the same glass).
We broke the ice, laughed and chatted for a while and then headed onto the late night streets of Bangalore to find a bite to eat.
At this point i would like to state that i feel in love with the food in Bangalore! Some of the best street food we have come accross! Flavours and spices that blow your mind, and burn your tastebuds off!
Nikhil had 3 guitars and a drum kit in his room, so the onenight stop over turned into 3 night drink and guitar infested party, meeting some of the nicest people we have ever met!
We soaked up the sights during the day and soaked up the drinks at night. It was an amazing expericence discovering the city with real locals, living real, all be it, very fortunate lifes and taking in what Bangalore had to offer.
The poverty in India is huge, the effect of seeing naked people lying on the streets, starving and homeless, living where they beg and sleeping where the s*** is quite a horrific thing. However, even more shocking i think, is how quickly you get used to it. You always notice it, but almost learn to accept it. You see people just step over lifeless naked bodies while sipping their Starbucks coffees and continuing their conversations.
I know we musn't compare to our home towns or pass judgement, but when you learn that Indians are taxed 40% of their total income, and still there is no social welfare system of any sort - it is hard to swallow.
When you see Mercedes Benz being driven by hired drivers, driving past a pile of sand where a mum is begging with her two young children so they can eat, while the dad works 150 miles away for 80 rupees (1 pound) a day - it is hard to accept.
When you know that the people on the streets are purely there because their government would rather fill their own pockets than give a few rupees to their homeless so they can eat everyday - you just want to shout out loud, "how can this be right??!"
The People of India just accept it, so it is allowed to continue.
Bangalore was a mixed expericence, it allowed us to experience the life of an Indian with money, and allowed us to see a moment in the life of the majority who dont.
India was meant to challenge us and help us create a wider awareness of life, and Bangalore certainly did that.
Next stop is the beaches of Goa. Away from the dust, mayhem and noise of city traffic, and onwards to sand, seafood and thee sound of crashing waves.
Peace and very very dirty flip flops
Nic and Katie xx