Hollie, Hartmut, and I arrived in Bangalore late last night. The first thing we noticed was that traffic actually moved on the way into the city. We realized that none of our rides these past 9 days have driven more than 45 mph. The driver from the airport treated the highway like the Indy 500, going 70 mph while weaving in and out of traffic. Never thought I’d miss creeping along in Chennai traffic. I may owe everyone who has ever ridden with me a sincere apology if that is what riding with me feels like. Yikes.
The city itself is very modern. We are only an hour flight from Chennai, yet would swear we are in a different country. There are high rise buildings and Western shops / restaurants. There is a Chili’s right next to my hotel, a PinkBerry across the road, and a Body Shop diagonal. In Chennai, I didn’t see one chain that I recognized. There is also more of a blend culturally. There are more races and religions here than we have seen elsewhere in Chennai and Cochin. When we were in Cochin, people asked to see the palms of our hands and then marveled at how pink they are. That’s a new one on me: someone admiring the color of our palms. I’ve seen all sorts of churches and temples here. The other cities seemed to be Hindu, Muslim, or Catholic. It was cool to walk past the Methodist church today and think of home.
The Villgro team in Bangalore also dresses more Western. The women were in jeans and cotton tops. In Chennai and Cochin, the women predominately wear a sari or salwar kameez. It is beautiful to see but I suspect the women in Bangalore are more comfortable. I just look at all of those sari layers and wonder how the ladies don’t drop in the hot weather.
The best part is that Bangalore has very low humidity. We had a brief walk to and from the office, and it was quite pleasant. Never thought I’d say that about 98 degrees! Tomorrow is going to be 102, yet I dread it less than the 95 degrees and high humidity that we will have when we return to Chennai. It is like Arizona versus Florida for weather. Guess that means I am heading back to Florida tomorrow. 😉