In Kammanahalli the dirty mud covered streets are lined but that’s just a guide line for the millions of rickshaw drivers and Uber drivers who frantically scurry about in their vehicles. There is not a Christmas tree in sight. This is late December in Bangalore, India. The millions of motorbikes invade the city like ants who can’t make up their minds what lane they really want to be in among the crazy metropolises traffic. Half a world away from here where we live in the mountain town of Big Bear Lake at over six thousand feet. It is Christmas time back in California and that means snow in the pine trees, a fire roaring away in the fire-place and plenty of hot hearty Indian meals cooking on the stove. But not this Christmas for us.
This Christmas we flew across the world to celebrate the holidays the Indian way. (Yes that means listening to Shaking Steven’s Merry Christmas Everyone about two thousand times just like it’s 1985 in the UK)
Christmas in India was full of butter chicken and roti’s and cows eating trash. Christmas in India meant the worst traffic you could possibly imagine and I live in a ski town so believe me I know what terrible traffic is! The worst obstacle we find on our winding mountain highways may be a Bambi around a blind curve or maybe a herd of donkeys grazing their way across town. Three weeks spent in Bangalore around the holidays and I had just about had it with city traffic. I’m tired of India’s traffic madness. I’ll take skiers who have the wrong chains on their front wheel drive cars any day.
Obviously in a city like Bangalore with such completely miserable traffic there are round-abouts every where and people just drive helter skelter through these things, wrong side of the road and everything. Every time we drive through a round-about, hell anytime we set foot in a motor vehicle I think how are there not more accidents here? Than we almost hit a cow and I thank God there are not more accidents here.
This is life in Kala-Manhatten as the locals in southern India call it. This neighborhood is the happening place to stay or live in Bangalore. There are so many great restaurants and pubs, some catering to the tastes of Anglo-Indians, it feels slightly more cosmopolitan to the outside visitor.
I mean if you consider mounds of trash every where and cattle wandering through traffic cosmopolitan. Today was our last day in Kammamahlli and I can’t say I’m sad to leave this place with it’s smog, horrendous traffic and crowds of people throwing trash on the streets.
After an unfortunate incident with our hotel in the city and having it up to here with problems ranging from black mold to bed bugs we checked out early and made our way to the country in the outskirts of Bangalore for our last twenty four hours in this city.
Waking up just outside the city meant we could go for a run for the first time this morning in a month.
After three weeks of inhaling almost nothing but butter chicken I felt like a water buffalo thundering through the jungle. It didn’t help matters that it was 91 degrees outside as we struggled through the dirt trails and past the quarry. For the first time in so many years I actually felt like one of those people who needed to “Get back into shape” After the holidays.
Thank you India, for making me feel like the fat American I have never been.
And thanks for the butter chicken.