Sunday, 26 May 2013

Just keep your mind open

"This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it." -The Beach (2000)
Mayukh recommended the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" since it takes place in Thailand so I'm watching that, listening to the rumble of thunder from tonight's passing storm, wishing I was in the US with a long weekend but still enjoying my last day off in Mysore.  The quote's not really related to this post but I liked it and wanted to share it anyway.
Friday night dinner was absolutely delicious even though I ended up getting an Indian spinach and mushroom dish with roti.    Sidd and Aseem told me about some of their recent treks around the country and it made me wish I had the time for a hike.  The latest involved a 15 km portion almost straight up and they camped above the clouds and observed a lightening storm from above.  Their pictures were unreal- it looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings.  Most Indian desserts I've tried are way too sweet for me but we shared a mashed carrot dessert gajar ka halwa that was perfect.
On saturday, the kids tested their catapults, which passed with flying colors.  The best one launched a mouse ball almost 12 meters!  After that, the instructional staff went to Hotel Roopa rooftop  in celebration of the academic counselor's birthday.  We tried to surprise her but feigning a need for a saturday night meeting about writing evaluations didn't trick her... but we got everyone there for a good time.  We feasted and couldn't even eat everything on on the table and no one had room for dessert but drinks, appetizers and main dishes at a fancy place averaged out to $8 USD per person.  I'm going to miss the exchange rate here!
Sunday, I left with some of my colleagues pretty early for a touristy day hitting the final major sites of Mysore.  We started at the Chamundeshwari temple, which I was excited to actually see, even though I enjoyed the view from Chamundi Hill multiple times before.  The temple was beautiful but it was absolutely packed.  We bought a ticket to get in the expedited line but when we got to the actual altars, they had female security guards man-handling people to keep them moving fast.  Mindy saw a guard practically fling the old lady in front of her out the door.  So not the most peaceful experience... but it doesn't stop people.  There's religious significance to circling the temple so some people get in a shorter line to complete their orbit and get pushed through the crowd again.  This temple is built to honor the goddess who slayed the beast that haunted Mysore so this place is close to the Mysorean people's hearts.

Chamundeshwari temple

Me, Tyler, Todd, Mindy and Asha behind the temple
 After descending down the hill and enjoying the aerial view of the city, we stopped at the famous Bull statue, the second largest in India.  Jimi performed his adoration and the rest of us enjoyed being treated like celebrities because everywhere we went, people wanted to take pictures with us "Just one snap!".  Two teenage girls were especially cute and exclaimed "this is the best day ever!" after their photoshoot.

For lunch, we had the best dosa (kind of like an Indian crepe with a dash of chili powder in the batter) in Mysore (according to Mindy's guidebook), made a pit stop at McDonalds for the less adventurous of the group, then proceeded to Mysore Palace.  I had been there for the Light and Sound show last weekend but going inside was even better than I expected (unfortunately, we couldn't take any pictures).  It's three-stories with a combination of Indian and European architecture.  There were mosaics on the floors, walls covered with paintings of the Indian army marching, a collection of sandalwood boxes, royal armory, golden thrones and exquisite stained glass inspired by peacocks.
After that, we were all pretty beat and headed home.  I was going to meet with Abhi because he has to move to Mangalore at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning (earlier than he expected too!) but I think I'll save that to look forward to tomorrow.  Speaking of tomorrow, wish us luck at the Foreign Registration Office!  We think they changed their minds about having to register just so they could charge us a late fee... grrr..... Adios!