21 July, 2011

Inching Forward in Time

this is a monkey
OK, I'm back from Pollachi. As in I just now got back. Moments ago. To here. Here as in Bangalore. And just as in today. July 21, 2011. Either that or I'm writing about something that happened a while ago.

Either way, I took the train back after taking the bus there. I slept almost the whole way, my usual travel technique, though I woke up several times to the guy walking down the aisle offering "Chai, chai, coffee, chai". It got me thinkin "chai-a chai-a chai-a chai-a chaing". And then the biryani guy tried to feed me.

"Sir, Biryani?"

"No I'm ok, thanks."

"No? Not hungry?"

"No, I'm ok. Thanks though."

"Where are you going?"

"Bangalore."

"It is far, you should eat something."

"No thanks, I'm ok."

i'm on a train wheeeee
"ok."

Then, some amount of time later, which passed quickly because i was asleep, a box of biryani fell in my lap.

"Sir, biryani sir. Please, eat."

"Ok, thanks."

So I ate some pretty delicious biryani, probably the best I had in my time in India (er, so far), and passed back out. The next time I woke up it was the guy in the berth above me, a bed suspended over my sleeping bench.
chai, chai, coffee, chai

"You are going to Bangalore?"

"Yeah."

"I think we're here."

"Oh, thanks. This isn't my stop though, I'm going to Bangalore City. It should be soon, thanks."

Turns out my stop was about 2 minutes later. Awesome that he woke me up or I'd have missed it. My ticket was to a city beyond Bangalore, Krishnarajapura or something. It was booked through a travel agent by Sam's dad, who has selected the "print and deliver my ticket to the front door via two guys on a scooter" option on the online booking system, I assume. For some reason going beyond Bangalore was the only option available to book, even though the train was pretty empty. Which was nice since I was able to avoid what was technically my uncomfortable looking seat, an upper sleeping berth with no windows and little headroom.

So I got off, looked around Bangalore Central Station, aka "Magic Stick", aka "Majestic", saw the biryani guy out stretching his legs ("Hi boss!"), saw some monkeys, called Pras to let him know that I saw some monkeys, and that I could make our meeting later that day, and wandered off to find an auto.

A lazy american, always appreciative of convenience, I went with the first auto guy that asked me, who had approached from across the street when he saw my white self looking around, and who was literally two feet in front of the next auto guy wanting my business. Too slow though. So I ignored the signs I didn't quite understand that said 'Prepaid Auto Tickets Here' with the invisible subtitle 'So Auto Guys Don't Rip You Off'. I got in the auto and noticed the meter didn't read anything. It seemed old and broken or something, analog like the displays on gas pumps in India, and in the American boonies. I didn't think much of it until I got to my destination and the fare came to exactly 300 rupees. Oh man, six dollars and fifty cents, that's way more than it should have cost there's no way I'm paying that, I gotta argue with this guy, oh wait, no, that's fine, I'll just pay him, I thought.

Big mistake, apparently.

this is the guy
Word soon spread around Bangalore, and beyond (at least as far as Tumkur) that I'd been bamboozled by an auto driver, had paid 300 rupees for a 100 rupee ride. Hahahahaha, what a silly guy! Sheesh I felt like a fool. But I felt better when I realized that the features of that particular auto weren't quite standard: air conditioning, foot massages, complimentary caviar. And it got me home, which was my main goal at the time. Booooyaaaaaaaaa.

I wandered back through 4th block after calling Pras who came and found me and we got set for our impending meeting with Pratibha Auntie...

More coming soon, I swear, I've already written some of it.

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