After 2 days of travel I jumped in a taxi at the Bangalore airport and began the 5 hour overland adventure to my new home for the next 5 weeks.
I’ve learned from past experiences that when traveling to India, make the arrival as easy as possible. I’ve spent too many nights in dirtbag hotels to save a couple of bucks. The extra splurge of hiring a driver and a decent hotel may or may not buy you the comfort that you’re used to, but in my opinion it’s best to be gentle on yourself and make arriving as easy as possible.
My last trip to Bangalore consisted of me rocking up to a Lonely Planet recommended hotel at one o’clock in the morning, which I had a reservation at. It had been one hell of a taxi ride to get there as the driver who had assured me he knew where the hotel was did not. After 5 planes, a ferry and a bus tour in the dark, the sketchy Bangalore streets with a lying Taxi driver was NOT the stress free Yoga experience I was hoping for. Upon finally arriving at our destination (I THINK), I discovered that there wasn’t a bed reserved reserved for me and there were numerous men sleeping in the lobby. After much negotiation (AKA I was not going ANYWHERE) the Hotel manager offered me a small cot off the front desk where I lay fully clothed, head on my backpack eagerly awaiting the light of day. I took the train to Mysore the next day which was wonderful and found what seemed to be a step up, if only a slight one, from the night before in an affordable hotel. It wasn’t until after dark that a fire was lit beneath my window causing billows of black toxic smoke to stream into my room and men were banging on my door ALL NIGHT – I’m sure happy to assist me in finding alternative accommodation. Yet another sleepless night awaiting the light of day . So my top tip…. Just get to Mysore & stay wherever Hema from the Atma Vikasa school recommends.
That being said, my current adventure though not quite the sleepless adventure of my past trip… was a mission in itself. Once again the taxi driver who for sure, absolutely, knew exactly where he was going DID NOT. Our journey together included a side line off the highway into a sketchy deserted parking lot to collect “documents” which had me strongly demanding he return to the well lit roads around the highway. After 50+ pit stops to ask for directions, we finally made it. He then proceeded to demand a tip as I retrieved my maps which he had graciously horned all over when missing the window.
My New Home:
I decided to take the easy option here in Mysore and stay a 3 minute walk from Atma Vikasa Yoga School in a local family’s home which came highly recommend by Laura whom most of you will know since she has been a well loved (and stretched) fixture at my home and studio since she took her first yoga class in the first real (as in indoor and for money) class that I taught. Quite the location in the quiet suburbs of Mysore… And a major step up from the downtown intersection location of where the School was located last time I was here. I love it the area. It’s cleaner, quieter, full of parks and open fields… but I do miss the old hood. I knew the old hood and the people in it! So I have begun making new haunts, trying out different fruit vendors, restaurants and shops. Thankfully I have a sweet house mate (also a Yoga student) who has been here for 3 weeks and knows all the “hot spots”. Great tips like ” the young coconut man will be sure you get a good one and won’t try to rip you off”, best place for Masala Dosa and treats all within a 15 minute walk from our home… Ahhhhh, India. The home I am living in has 3 grown daughters with 3 children of their own, their father, a friendly jovial man who I don’t understand a word out of, and my sweet friendly yoga friend from Japan. My mantra since the moment I arrived has been ‘I think i can, I think I can’ and it’s 100% directed to learning all of their names. It’s the hardest practice of concentration and memory that I’ve faced in years!!!
School starts tomorrow. Only slightly terrified… He wants me to do my own practice while he watches!!!!