Some of you asked about weather etc here.
Bangalore is a city with a population over 6.5 million people. It was about 1/5 th the current size when I was growing up here.
The weather here is usually mild summers (not more than 90 deg F ); it is 3000 ft aboe sea level. Winters are very mild as well usually does not go below 60 deg F. Rainy season is usually from July – Oct; we have had some rain since we arrived here.
Bangalore of course has become the IT hub of India and call center for many companies and governments in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France.
The difference I see since the last time I was here is
1. There are very few bicycles compared to the days when I was growing up.
2. There are many motor bikes, and fewer scooters.
3. Lots of auto rickshaws – three wheelers that can transport 2-3 people. They all run on Liquid Natural gas.
4. Many many many cars – Toyota, Honda, Hundai, local brands, Suzuki, occassional European models, but almost no US brands. All cabs are required to run on Liquid Natural gas.
5. The town has shopping malls that are very new. Some resemble Singapore malls.
6. Young women (15-30) are seen often in pants, designer jeans, and not saris. Older women wear saris, however younger women wear saris for important occassions such as festivals, weddings etc.
7. Every one from the street sweeper, a cooli, to housewife has a mobile. Apparently a few years ago, they gave incredible incentives to own Mobile phones and boy did people ever take advantage. In my sisters home there are 5 Mobile phones, in my brother’s house there are 4, etc. The phone numbers here have 8 digits just like in Australia, and the quality of phone connection is excellent. I took a call from my sister-in-law from California and it was as if she was next door.
Traffic – it is very very bad. Except in some areas where the police direct the traffic, it is a free for all. People have not developed courtesy in driving. Evryone for himself/herself. Sometimes, you can see 4 people on a motor bike. A man driving a with a kid in front, a woman in the back seat with a kid on her arms – a fairly common site. We have seen small 3 wheel trucks loaded up to the hilt and driving slowly on streets basically annoying everyone.
Some roads are very good, but many roads are very narrow and full of people going somewhere.
There are many internet cafe’s and they have broad band connection and charge $ 50 per hour. (just over a $ 1.00)
Because there are many languages spoken here, radio, TV and movies cater to the taste. Movies tend to be in Kannada (a local state language), Tamil (language of a neighboring state), Telugu (another language from a neighbouring state) (I speak them all), Hindi (national language), and English. Next week they are having a German film festival in this town. TV channels include stations in all these languages with Soaps, religous programs, exercises, sports, and news channels. In addition we get channels from UK (BBC), US(CNBC and CNN – International), Australian channels.
In sports, the country is mad for cricket. It does not matter where a major teams are playing in the world, they are on TV here. It is really a very big business. There was a championship series that just ended Sunday when Australia won. We had teams from Australia, SouthAfrica, new Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangadesh and Zembabwe. They also play badminton, soccer, volley ball and field hockey, tennis. The colleges have no sports teams like they do in the US. All teams tend to be private clubs.
The streets in Bangalore have many English names as it was a major center for the military. Thus we have a parade Road (now called Mahatma Gandhi Road), Cubbon park named for Col. Mark Cubbon, Fraser town, Austin town, Commercial street, Plain street, St Marks road etc. There is a very nice statue of Queen Victoria proudly standing at the beginning of Mahatma Gandhi Road.
There also a lot of muslim influence in town as it had muslim rulers here 200 years ago. There is a tie between US history and here. In 1790’s after the revolutionary war was over in the US, Cornwallis the defeated general was posted to help the East India company and he launched several attacks on the muslim rulers and eventually defeated them. In fact here he also drove the French away from the area. The French had been helping the muslim rulers with amunition, and military planning. This is where the was between the English and the French ended before the Napolean started it again a few years later.
Bangalore is often called a garden city because it has many parks; fresh flowers are always available, and often street vendors come to your door hawking their merchandise.
Early morning (6-6:30 am), you hear street vedors selling vegetables of the day from their farm. They are usually good, and you can even bargain with them.
There are over 45 engineering schools here (yes that is correct) India turns out 300,000 engineers every year compared to 70,000 in the US.
ATMs are everywhere.
People are busy and are everywhere. I did not see lazy people. yes there are beggers in certain areas. They are a lot less visible than they used to be.
Prices are modest compared to what we play. Some food items I buy at the Indian store in Corvallis (I pay $ 3.00), costs here $ 0.40. Clothes and materials are typically about 50-70% below what we pay. There are five star hotels that are expensive. Good meal can be had for $ 2.00 in a decent restaurant.
The planes are getting cheaper to travel. Smoking is no longer permitted in public buildings. If they catch you, you are required to pay a fine of Rs. 300 and the policeman collects on the spot and gives you a receipt. This is similar to what they do in Singapore.
The basic lay out of the city and road structure is very British. Every major town has an inner and outer ring road that completely cirmscribes the city. these roads tend to be broad and somewhat orderly.
People get to work arund 9 am and work until 7 or 8 pm. They work on saturdays as well. the wife of my nephew came home last night around 11:30 pm and she is off to work again this morning by 8:45 am. The middle class here really works hard and have been rewarded handsomely in the past 10 years or. However the lower middle class and the poor have a lot of difficulty.
We are attempting to go to the birthday celebrations of Baha’u’llah on the 11th. I will write about this afterwards.
That is about it for now. May be more after we travel on a train.