April 1st, 2010
A Helping of Holi in Bangalore
We had taken a bit of anti-anxiety medication in order to aid our slumbers on the night bus from Karwar to Bangalore so we found ourselves, once again, the last to wake up and exit the bus, and doing so in a quite relaxed and unhurried manner. It was cold outside, maybe even as low as 60ºF. After all the boiling and sweating of the trip hereto, we savored the chill.
The Speed TRs had suffered no damage on the ride, thanks to Scott’s careful negotiation and generous tipping of the baggage handlers; they were waiting for us in a neat little pile by the bus. So relaxed were we, that the normal barrage of touts, cab drivers, auto rickshaw wallahs, goods sellers, and con artists failed to even slightly miff us. We joked and giggled with them, eventually parting like old friends and wandering across the street to buy some coffees from a stand.
We had booked accommodation at a local hostel by the name of Mass Residency, and they were kind enough to give us the number of a metered cab company that was more than happy to send a man to pick us up and take us to the hotel for only a fraction of what it had cost us last time we arrived in this city. The owners of the Mass Residency were two fantastic blokes, who were glad to serve us coffee, learn about AsiaWheeling, and show us to a very affordable, clean, and comfortable room on the 4th floor of their most comforting guest house.
We could smell the ink from the AsiaWheeling seal of approval already. The day was still quite young when we climbed on the cycles and headed in search of breakfast.
Shortly into the wheel, we realized it was Holi in Bangalore. Holi is the Hindu spring holiday, and a celebration of color. One of the main modes of celebration is the tossing of colored liquids and powders onto one another. So in our search for a restaurant, we stopped to ask some very colorful fellows for a recommended dosa house.
And by golly, did they deliver. They directed us to a local institution by the name of Maiya’s, and dear reader, if you are ever in Bangalore, you must visit this place and have one of their vegetable-stuffed dosas.
They were prepared much like a traditional South Indian dosa, but the potato filling was replaced with a rich blend of vegetables, and the accompanying coconut chutney was delicately spiced and bright green.
We also sampled their rice porridge and their vadas, which were delightful.
The coffee was strong and hit us with the caffeine blitz in a refreshingly manic way. Renewed and refreshed, we climbed back on the cycles and took a circuitous route back to the Mass Residency. Many of the shops in Bangalore were closed for the holiday, and the sight of fellows covered in spatters of neon color was quite commonplace. It must be noted, however, that Bangalore is one of the most tame places to experience Holi. In many cities in North India, we would not have been able to wheel without battling huge crowds in the streets, and getting soaked ourselves with color.
We got back to the Mass Residency with just enough time for a little furious working on correspondence before meeting with our dear Mr. Kulkarni for a quick bite to eat and to thank him for his most gracious services at the India Bureau. Nikhil came in the door bearing a very exciting cardboard package. It was our Maui Jim’s. Maui Jim, as you, dear reader, have no doubt already read on our partnership page, is our sunglasses partner. However, through a series of miscomunications, we had not been able to pick them up before leaving for the trip. Since then we had been hoping to receive them in various cities, but each time fate stepped in the way. Finally, we were able to arrange for a direct transfer between the Maui Jim India Bureau and AsiaWheeling’s similar entity.
With the solemn intensity of Indiana Jones recovering a long lost artifact, we tore into the packaging and removed two cases, which appeared to be made out of pressed bamboo, but had the weight of steel. We opened the cases with gentle creaking noise and there they were, gleaming with perfection, nestled in tropical patterns. Some serious AsiaWheeling spectacles.