Our Travel Blog
Bangalore is the 3rd largest city in India and capital of the south Indian state called Karnataka.  The native language spoken here is called Kannada.  Bangalore is now known as the "Silicon Valley of India" because of the tremendous growth of the information technology industry.  Along with this growth however, comes increases in traffic congestion, noise pollution, air pollution, etc. which is now very apparent in the city.  We have read that Bangalore is also known as the Garden City of India supposedly because of the greenery and many public parks located here.  It is hard to believe this statement after being here for several weeks.  Since we haven't hit the rainy season yet, most everything is brown from the dust, dirt and pollution.  
Upon arrival in early February, we first stayed in an area called Gandhi Nagar during our first week in Bangalore.  Our room was very cheap and therefore very loud.  Our sleep there was minimal because other people were up till the very early hours in the morning and the staff woke up a few hours thereafter.  We could hear everything that was happening in the hallway, the reception area and TVs from the other rooms.  Sleeping with earplugs became quite uncomfortable after several nights.  We were very grateful to have found an alternative place to stay in a neighborhood called Frazer Town which was much quieter.  The Bahá'í community of Karnataka owns a building that used to be the local Bahá'í Center that is to be sold soon and it is there that we have been allowed to stay for an affordable contribution. We spent the next three weeks there which was plenty of time to make friends with the cockroaches and salamanders.  
Karen signed up for a French class at the Alliance Française from February 8th to March 12th.  She had classes 5 days per week from 10h00 to 12h00 each day.  Walking or taking the bus on the streets of Bangalore was a daily reminder of the chaos, pollution and disorder so prevalent in the city, but upon reaching the Alliance Française, it was like walking into a mini oasis of peace and quiet.  
The public buses encourage the female passengers to sit in the front 1/3 of the bus in special labeled seats, while the male passengers can sit in the remaining seats.  If someone gets on the bus and there are no seats available to sit, they will often give their bag or baby to someone who is seated to hold.  The majority of young female passengers can be seen with a mobile phone in their hands.  The asking price of bus tickets can vary for the same routes by a few Rupees depending on the mood of the ticket seller and how much they feel they would like to charge foreigners on that particular day.
We were able to celebrate Ayyam-i-Há this year with the friends in Bangalore.  This is a period of 4-5 intercalary days preceeding the Bahá'í month of Alá, 2-20th of March, and it is designated for hospitality, gift-giving, charity, etc.  The days of Ayyam-i-Há terminate with the full month of Alá being a fasting month during which time the Bahá'ís fast in the form of abstaining from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.
On February 27th some friend invited us to stay at their house to be well prepared for the upcoming Bahá'í fast so we moved to an area called Kammonahali.  Our friends live in a somewhat enclosed, old military compound where life is much quieter.  It is the first time that we were able to use a hot and cold water, reliable shower since arriving in India, as opposed to the bucket baths which we had been taking until that day.  It was ideal to stay in a house during the fast because of access to a kitchen with cooking facilities early in the morning before sunrise and endless amounts of friendship.   The fast ended on March 20th after sunset with the Bahá'í New Year called "Naw Ruz".  It is usually celebrated on the vernal equinox.  We attended two Naw Ruz celebrations in the area.
During the fast we were invited by other friends twice to visit their newly acquired property in Srirangapatna near Mysore.  It was situated in a beautiful countryside location with a small river backing the property.  As it was previously a small tourist resort it had room to host many people. It was a  very pleasant and tranquil environment to be in, especially for Karen who misses nature so much theses days.  You can see our pictures here.
The Bahá'í Centre in Bangalore is located on a property called Tuba Palace.  The caretakers of the property are very kind and loving to animals - we have witnessed the daily morning feeding process (food consisting of chicken heads, feet and rice) of the crows, eagles, squirrels, dogs and cats. We have been working on a shelving project there, geared towards saving their books from the rats, snakes, insects, etc. before we move on from Bangalore.  Another thing to finish is our second attempt at Ruhi book 5 (first attempt was in Spanish in El Salvador) which we feel confident will find completion this time in English in the coming days.
Now, you know where we have been and you have a more precise idea of what we have been doing over these last six weeks ! We finally caught up to the present date !  Let's hope we will not be late anymore.  That will depend also on our schedule and internet reliability !  Thank you for your support !
Friday, April 6, 2007
Still in Bangalore

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