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Monday, June 3, 2013


We just got back form our first excursion outside of Hyderabad to Bangalore, and it was lovely! This was a strictly touristy trip, no humanitarian work this time (though on some of our tourist excursions we will be delivering hygiene kits and stuff). It began with us waiting for a bus, and a tiny van pretending to be a bus pulling up. They told us to get on, so we did, and by the time we thought it would be a REALLY long bus ride, they dropped us off at our real bus - a big, travel bus with reclining seats and a TV and everything. It was quite amusing. We rode the bus all night long to get there, and they showed us a Bollywood movie! I'm not sure what the movie was called, and it wasn't my favorite, but it was definitely enjoyable. After the movie we were left to try and sleep in the seats, which was rather difficult but I managed 4 or 5 hours of sleep. And when I woke up I was in Bangalore!

Bangalore is about 30 degrees cooler and more green than Hyderabad. It's all jungle-like. Well, compared to anything I've ever seen. It's also a bigger city. People were wearing more Western-looking clothes. It had rained the night before so the air was clean and everything smelled good.

After breakfast we stopped by the Bangalore Mission Office - it was so great to be somewhere that my brother Danny had been when he served his mission. I think about that all the time in Hyderabad too. My brother was here! It's a very happy thought.

Then we went shopping! I bought a ring and earrings and a churidar top and some of those awesome baggy genie pants. I'm going to be broke when I get home... :/ but I love the stuff I bought.

And the hotel...was palatial! Well, actually, it was across the street from Leela Palace (view from our window - amazing!), so it was almost palatial. But it really was so nice. I took a shower. Oh my goodness. There were six faucets spraying all different parts of my body. I was almost laughing - it was the best shower ever. And we had wifi! So I talked to my loved ones back in the states and emailed and stuff. So nice. The beds were super fluffy and lovely. We decided to take a dip in the pool which was fun until we discovered first one then around 11 guys creepily watching us swim from the building across the street. Creepers. One of them even had binoculars. So we left.

Later in the evening we went to dinner at TGI Fridays for a taste of America. It started raining so we walked there underneath the freeway flyover. There are no pedestrian rules here. You just walk slowly enough so the cars and autos can drive you but fast enough that you don't get hit. It's always an adventure.

The real adventure, though, was the next day - Mysore Palace! We hired a cab driver to take us there. It took about 4.5 hours to get there because we got a flat. Our driver was great and changed it quite quickly, and then a nice lady brought him water to wash his hands in - there's a great sense of community here. Everyone helps everyone else out.

Mysore Palace was BEAUTIFUL. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the palace, so google it if you want to see it. It's so pretty. The tiles and the wood and the walls - it was like Indian Versailles.

And behind the palace I might have gone on an ELEPHANT RIDE!!! First we ran into the elephant while it was giving rides to other people and I got to touch it's trunk! It was hairy! And rough! Surprising but so so cool. And then we rode the elephant. Julia was kind enough to take pictures while we rode. Elephants may well be one of my new favorite animals. I want one. They let each of us sit in the driver's seat/spot. And it was amazing. We also went on a camel ride - I couldn't help but sing "Prince Ali" from Aladdin while I rode the camel. It just had to be that way. It was wonderful.

We had to hurry back to Bangalore to catch our bus, but apparently our driver didn't catch the memo because he stopped to get his flat tire repaired. And by the time we got back to Bangalore we had 30 minutes to get to our bus that was 45 minutes away. We called and told them to hold the bus for us, but they informed us that they cancelled our bus and we would just have to hurry to get a spot on another. Yikes. So our driver was awesome and sped to get us there (as safely as possible, of course). And he did! We made it! And then there was the bus ride - long, no Bollywood movie, and still rather uncomfortable. But in the morning we were back in Hyderabad - and it felt like home. I live in India. What a wonderful weekend!

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