We caught a late morning train into Bangalore and the trip was pretty uneventful. We had our seats and air conditioning so all rather comfortable really. As we started hitting the outskirts of the city we caught our first real glimpse of congested living in India. Concrete jungle is an apt phrase as buildings almost seemed to be built on top of each other with the streets being more walkways no wider than 2 meters. Though sometimes seeing the pathways from the train was difficult as even these had been covered with corrugated iron. With an estimated 12,000 people per square kilometer in Bagalore we were expecting to see some pretty wild sights.
We had read a few articles on Bagalore with mixed reviews. On one hand it has emerged as India’s silicone valley where the major Tech companies all have a presence here. Therefore the workers all have more money, are of a young age and are wanting to spend it. So the shopping, bar and restaurant scene is one of the best in India. On the other hand the urban growth has been on a scale of such magnitude that the city hasn’t been able to cope. So the traffic is horrendous and the development has been to the detriment of the city’s green spaces.
So when we got off the train and headed out to our rickshaw we didn’t really know what to expect. But on the drive in the traffic although congested, wasn’t any worse than we had already seen in India and the number of people no more than a normal big city. We were dropped off at our hotel and after dropping off our bags we headed out. We were staying walking distance from the cricket stadium as the main reason for coming to Bangalore was to catch an IPL 20-20 game.
So first on our agenda was purchasing said IPL tickets so we stopped off at the grounds and soon found ourselves crowded around one of the gates trying to score tickets. We thought everyone else there was also trying to get tickets and maybe they were but the only ones left were quite expensive at $100 a ticket. $100 being about the average monthly salary in India. So the others just crowded around us while we purchased what felt like gold dust. Although they were $100 each they were going to be some of the best seats I have ever sat in to watch cricket. Tim was so excited. His smile was even bigger than normal.
There were not many big sites in Bengalore and we thought we would leave them for tomorrow so instead for today, a little bit of luxury and a visit to the UB mall to do a little bit of window shopping. Well we didn’t stay long as it was luxury shopping with high end brands like Louis Vitton etc. It would not have been out of place in any of the major cities. So we caught a rickshaw to the equivalent of Westfields and I had a great time looking in all the Indian shops. All the usual ones were there as well like Forever 21, Accessorize and Levi’s etc. What I found really interesting was that all those shops were selling the usual western clothes such as denim cut offs and sleeveless tops yet I think I have seen maybe 3 women in the whole of the city wearing short shorts. So if they are in the shops someone must be buying them. Maybe they wear them at home but not in public.
Our next stop to continue the western influence was a micro brewery. After not drinking much at all the last few months as bars have been few and far between, it was very strange to step into a bar that would do well in the likes of London or Brisbane and have our fill of locally brewed beers. We even ordered a wood fired pizza and sat on the couches and watched the cricket.
All in all our first day in Bengalore was a good one and although the city is not a pretty one we certainly enjoyed the little luxuries on offer. Looking forward to the cricket tomorrow night. S