Before you take a peak.....

You need to be aware this is our old blog. Dave (the blogger) started blogging when, as a family, we went to India for 3.5 months from April - August 2008. This blog is the story of our time there. You'll find lots about our story by going to the 'archives' section of the blog to the left below.

If you want to see our current news go to our new website and blog here..

July 16, 2008

Those random days keep on coming....

This country is truly amazing you know!! let me give you another example of one of those 'random' days the kids go on about...!! Stick with this as I think you might enjoy the read and, if nothing else, it will give you a sense of a 'typical' day.....

Up at 6am as we were going to Mysore, the second largest city in the state of Karnataka. It's about a 3 hour drive but, again, with the traffic probably more like 4/5 hours. We were off in a friends people carrier that they had loaned us for the day! 10 of us squashed in. Sarah had been up in the night with the squits and trying to be sick (but didn't quite get there) so she decided not to come.

We travelled out of Bangalore on the Mysore road for about 2 hours and stopped at a Cafe Day (coffee shop) type place which was random enough!! On the edges of Bangalore with rural Indian villages all around and there is this massive (Starbucks type) coffee shop on the side of the road! Anyway we go in and grab a coffee and Raj and the driver go for an Indian breakfast (gives him a bit of space but also an Indian breakfast is a must for India out here - whilst we survive with toast and jam!).

Sitting in Cafe day, one of the kids shouts' look' and on the window of cafe day is a huge praying mantis. The kids peer through the glass and then we hear 'you wanna have a look at it?' from behind us. We turned to see an older India guy, light skinned (normally wealthy here) with an Indian, English, American accent. The kids said yes and the guy went outside and caught the mantis and brought it in (no health and safety regs here!!).

He gave it to one of the kids to hold and then introduced himself. Turns out he is a very wealthy businessman/entrepreneur out here having returned from 10 years in UK and US. Owns huge chunks of land in Karnataka (region Bangalore is in). His son is famous out here on the National Geographic channel) for catching Crocs and snakes (like that bloke from Australia that die recently). This was all a little bizarre. We sat with him and talked at length and he asked what we were doing here....

I explained that I was working with Raj and the Trust and he asked about what the trust did. I said one of the pillars of the trust is to establish outdoor adventure centres and he latched onto this. "This is what my son is into" he said " tell me more" so I did. After 20 mins or so he said " why can't I help. I own huge acres of land in and just outside the City. I stressed the fact that the Charity has little money so this couldn't be about business and he got that. He has established many micro businesses with poor rural families out here and told me about them.
I called Raj over (from his brekkie) and introduced him and we chatted. This guys huge thing was land - something he has pots of and at the moment the big thing Raj needs for the first adventure centre was guessed it....LAND!! We agreed to send him a business plan and meet again soon. A fascinating guy...
We said goodbye at his car (a gorgeous Merc!) and he said "you never know who you will meet out here". I finished by saying 'I hope you are one of the miracles this Trust needs" and he responded "yea, I kind of hope I am too" and off he went......

2 mins later we are back in the car and Libby (Rob and Tina's youngest) says she feels sick and soon after throws up all over the back seat of our friends car!!. We stop by the motorway whilst we clean up and an ox cart goes by. Raj shouts something to the guy, the guy stops and all the kids get lifted up onto the back of the (empty) ox cart and head off down the motorway on an ox cart.

Then we stopped off at a Hindu Bull temple. An amazing (working/functioning) I have been to before. As we arrived there were loads of posh cars there and some very muscly blokes!. We got a guide to interpret about the temple and the find out first off that there is a guy visiting the temple today who is very important. This guy (can't recall his name (!) is and Ex National MP (big thing out here) and is a direct descendant of Tippu Sultan the big Mogul guy who built the Mysore Palace (see pic) that we were on the way to see. He still lives at the back of the Palace!!

We went into the temple and saw him there surrounded by Brahman priests galore and body guards. Only 2 minutes ago we had just been clearing sick off the back seat of the car....??


We looked round the temple and then off to a lovely lake to just sit and chill for 5 minutes.

At the lake I sat and had a roll and an old beggar guy sat next to me. Quite normal out here. I split my role to share it with him and gave me a lovely smile and started to chat to me about 'the British' and how he knew this person and that person back when the British ruled. Amazing stories. "I miss English people he said" I said I was sorry for the bad things my Country had done to Indians when they were here. He said' not all bad' with a twinkle in his eye......


The we went onto the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. I wasn't looking forward to this as I hadn't been there before and am not really a 'bird watcher'.

When we got there it turned out to be an amazing place. It's got a hundred odd birds (see here) which you can see most of by going out on a boat on this huge lake. The views and the birds there were unreal. Huge birds I have never seen before (see how ignorant I am about birds!!?)
Best of all were the crocs!! Yep, 30-40 of them in the water with us in this flimsy little boat with this Indian guy rowing. Argggghh!
We saw real crocs, up close, feet away from our boat. The kids went wild (various responses).
At one point the rower went quietly right up to a croc on one of the banks and we got so close and the croc spotted us and shot straight into the water - the opposite way to us fortunately!!
Really amazing but thinking back to the other days incidents....
Bizzare, random
The off to Mysore Palace which is an amazing place. Quick tour round there and a camel ride for the kids and then, as the day came to an end we went to my favourite Brindavan Gardens which is a nice big park full of waterfalls that light up and dance at nights. I just have some good memories of this place as we have been there before at the end of full days and it's a great place just to chill at the end of a busy day.
The Gardens lie adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam which is built
across the river Kaveri. The work on laying out this garden was started in the year 1927 and completed in 1932.Visited by close to 2 million tourists per year!

We had a slow walk round the fountains, getting the little boat that goes across the large lake there, and sat and just reflected on ONE DAY in India.
Just think of the way this places stimulates our eyes, ears, noses, taste buds every single day. Times that by 11 weeks and you are getting a picture of how exciting and yet challenging it is to be out here.
We hadn't taken our maera this day and so Megan (eldest of Rob and Tina's) said she would take pics all day of all that we had seen. Took dozens of pics and then managed to leave her camera at the Gardens and didn't realise til we got home. So, sorry no real pics of us all this day - have had to nick some of these off the web!!
We are having a lovely time with the Husbands and have really enjoyed sharing our experiences with them.
Back home at 11.30pm in the cramped car but who cares when you have had a day like this and the kids are all asleep in the back....
p.s Sarah was fine when we got home. Caught up well on sleep....