Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bangalore...a quick trip...too quick!!

I made myself a promise....I was going to catch up on my blogging and get the last post done before I leave for my first official "home visit" to the U.S. in just three short days.  There were two other trips we took as 2010 was coming to a close and 2011 was beginning.  First was a business-related trip for Deloitte recruiting to Bangalore (now called "Bengaluru", but I don't know anybody that calls it that...).  It was a Sunday morning...we had a flight at around 8:30 A.M.  Amy Suzanne was coming down with the flu of some kind (terrible chest cold and fever) and really wanted to cancel or at least postpone the trip.  I talked her into flying and convinced her that getting into a nice big fluffed-up hotel bed for a full day of uninterrupted sleeping is just what the doctor would order...

She slept a little on the plane...she really felt crappy...but the show must go on...  we had booked on-line what looked like a great hotel that was really close to the Deloitte campus in Bangalore.  We didn't know how nice it was until we arrived.  Overall...it may be the nicest hotel we have stayed in ANYwhere.  It's in the same hotel family as the Kempinsky Falkenstein in Frankfurt where we stayed on our way over last May.  The Bangalore version is called the Leela Palace - and a palace it was.

The bed in our room could not have been more like my "doctor's prescription" if I had designed it myself.  Amy was in it before the staff brought our bags up to the room...and there she stayed for most of the next 12 hours.  It was a big poofy bed with all white sheets, pillow-cases and comforter.  They even had a "pillow menu" so you could choose your own goose-down firmness.  Laying there in that bed, it looked as if the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man had halfway eaten my wife!!

While she slept, I checked out the hotel...an excellent pub called "The Library" (and Bangalore is civilized...they had Jameson Irish Whiskey for Irish coffees!!) - a super buffet (the one that they have on Sunday is legendary - and this particular day, it was really crowded...but I did not partake...too much food!)  The whole place was huge...and even the lifts (elevators) were cool.  We had a nice room with a cool view of the front of the hotel.  It truly was at least one of the top five hotels I've ever stayed at!!

Suzanne finally felt like getting up and we had dinner and drinks...  Even sleeping all day, she still got into bed early for her big days of interviews....

We got up and I spent the day sightseeing...and she spent hers at the Deloitte office interviewing candidates.  My day included a wonderful visit to the beautiful temple called the Sri Radha Krishna-chandra Mandir (it's ISKCON's local masterpiece...if you don't know the acronym "ISKCON" - it's the Hare Krishnas...)  Overall, it was one of the most beautiful Krishna temple I have ever seen...it was HUGE!!  Much, much larger than the tiny one here in Hyderabad... or, the one I know best, the Los Angeles temple in Culver City on Watseka Avenue.  I bought a calendar and a few odds and ends...got a private puja (it came with my entry-ticket...and everybody was interested in the fact that I had actually seen their founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada one day back in the early 1970's at the L.A. temple.  Prabhupada had evidently personally help to install and dedicate the Radha and Krishna Deities (see photo, upper left) in the Bangalore temple...and they have another even bigger temple on their "drawing-board" and it will be even more magnificent!!

After spending a good three-hours at the temple, our driver took me over to the local golf and country club so I could see what that was all about.  It was in the city and surrounded by those really tall mesh fences that you see around mid-city driving-ranges in Southern California...I really wished that I had brought my clubs because the first hole was a really short par-4 that I really wanted to play.  Even though it was a private club, staying at the Leela Palace got your day-privileges with them...so I could have rented clubs, but it was almost mid-afternoon and time to pick up Amy at the office.

We had a great dinner and she was feeling much better!  My prescription for sleep really did the trick.  We made it to the airport the next morning on time and made our way home to Hyderabad in time for her to spend most of Tuesday at the office catching up.

Overall, Bangalore is one of the prettiest cities we have been to.  It looks very well laid-out, was full of big trees and lovely parks.  Many of the government buildings were built by the British (Bangalore is the capital of the India state of Karnataka and is a pretty busy place...) - as were the many parks.  It's a very green city with open spaces preserved for green ways and parks.  People always talk about the horrible traffic in Bangalore...but we didn't find it all that bad... not any worse than Hyderabad, and certainly nowhere close to being as congested as the streets of Mumbai or New Delhi!

I think I could live there...

Next up: Our second trip to Jaipur!

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