The kids had a five day weekend due to Republic Day. I wish it were in a few weeks when Todd is here, but I didn’t want to miss the chance of taking them to see some sites. Bangalore is a great city for living, but not big on the tourist stuff.
I had hoped to be on the road by 8:30, but the driver was half hour late, then he needed to stop for gas, then we hit a massive traffic jam, then he got lost—twice. So, we didn’t get to Mysore until 1:30 (normally at 3 hour trip).[(Shout out to Stephanie S. for lending me her Salwar Kameez 🙂 ]
We went straight to the hotel, which was absolutely gorgeous. Thanks to my new ex-pat B’Lore friends for telling me to go to the Windflower! The cottages were set along a beautiful set of water with brass urns, geese, waterfalls. The kids LOVED playing chess on the life-size chessboard right along the water.
They also became very good friends with Rosy, the Australian Cockatoo who could talk and eat of your hand. They would have spent all day playing chess and hanging with Rosy.
We need to get better about trying to eat BEFORE we are hungry because service is much, much slower here. You can wait 15 minutes for menus. Drink orders will be taken and they might not arrive until after your food. We dined at the hotel restaurant—an outdoor place with thatched roofs, surrounded by water falls and streams. Gorgeous ambience. The silly thing is, they called it the Olive Garden and I swear the logo was the same! But the food was mainly Indian and Chinese. When we sat down I asked them to bring us two milkshakes and French fries as soon as possible because the kids were hungry. An hour later, after all the rest of the food was finally served, the milk shakes and French fries finally arrived. The kids had HAD it.
Then it was time to try to do some sightseeing in Mysore before it got dark. I wanted the kids to see three things in the town—a palace, a temple, and a market. We chose the palace first.To get to the palace, as with any touristy structure in India, you have to make your way through the stands of people trying to get you to buy everything from sunglasses to sandalwood fans to ivory elephants to pieces of watermelon. Looking like an American is an invitation to dive in with the hopes that we will foolishly pay five times the price for something silly. The kids hate the crush of hawkers that pester us in such situations.
Maharajah’s Palace is considered “the” palace in South India, designed at the turn of the 20th Century. It is massive and has lots of stained glass from Glasgow Scotland, marble floors, carved wood, and ivory.
We then headed toward the interior of the structure. In any special place in India, you must take off your shoes to enter. So at major attractions you have to check your shoes and proceed barefoot. The kids weren’t too happy about that. But it is easy to spot the kids’ Crocs when we have to find our shoes!
We made our way to the ticket booth—Rs. 20 for Indians and Rs. 200 for foreigners. We then walk about the palace grounds with roses and big broad pathways. Suddenly a man grabs both kids’ hands and pulls them toward his little child and starts snapping photos. He said, “Look! Friends! Friends!” Kaden looked so mad. Carson too It’s one thing to ask to take our picture and another to drag us in to the frame. But I figured I should snap a photo of the spectacle as well.
Upon entering, I realized that I missed the well hidden location to store your cameras. So I was confronted by a guard, a member of the military policy, who said that if I gave him 10 rupees, I could bring the cameras inside. Bribe #1 of the trip.
We then picked up English headsets for the tour. No one else in the whole place, and there was a CRUSH of people, picked up headsets even though they were free of charge. Kaden loved the headset, which was quite well done, telling stories about the Maharajah and of deities and design plans. She loved the design concepts and found it all interesting. Hurray! Carson got bored about half way through and then started getting punchy—literally. The crush of the crowds was really wearing on him and he was exhausted.
I noticed when we were in the palace that EVERYONE was taking photographs. So I figured I should take out my camera and take a few as well. When I was shooting the elephant tusk photo above, I was approached by another guard who tells me that taking photographs is a 1000 rupee fine. That’s $20! Which is totally nuts. And I didn’t even have that much with me, honestly. I said everyone was taking pictures and then he said they are all using mobile phone cameras which are fine. How in the world is that different? I had a strong feeling that he was trying to take advantage of the American, especially since his counterpart was the one who let me have my camera in the first place. So I grabbed the arms of both kids and walked away quickly and did not look back. Thankfully, he didn’t follow us.
Leaving the palace grounds, it was about 5:00. I wanted to do one more thing before going home and then hopefully find some dinner. But Carson threw a massive fit. He was done and he made that very clear. We were all tired, and as he said later, “I’m sorry but I just didn’t want to do anything else.” Good lesson to learn from my kiddo. When tired, rest. Trying to do more when you’re figuring out a foreign country is just not a wise thing. It will just make your miserable.
So, we returned to the hotel. Carson was fine after five minutes in the serene hotel grounds. Ready for some more chess and cockatoo time. For dinner that night we ordered room service because I couldn’t put them through that restaurant again! We found the flavor of these chips to be very spicy!
We also tried to rent a move from the hotel but all of their kids movies were dubbed into Hindi. Thankfully we found WWE wrestling on TV—Carson’s favorite. And then, because we had our first Wi-Fi since our first week at the Lemon Tree, the kids had a long Skype with Daddy. We even downloaded the same I-Book and Daddy read two chapters to the kids before bed.