South Tour: Bangalore, Hassan, Belur, Halebid & Mysore – It’s not my eyes that are sore

22 Nov

The Maharaja’s Palace, in Mysore

MYSORE: I woke up today with my stomach in pain.

That statement certainly worried some people more than others. It was a routine stomachache, nothing more, although it didn’t help that I’d only gotten four hours of sleep the night before. Food poisoning had afflicted me about three times since coming to India, so I knew the symptoms well.

I asked my roommates how they were feeling. Jordan, too, was sick. From several conversations in the hallway, I gleamed that about a third of us were legitimately sick. Another third, like me, had some symptoms of food poisoning. We’d most certainly eaten something bad yesterday.

I normally eat a larger breakfast than any of the other students. Breakfast is the only meal included in the cost of the tour every day, so I normally take 2-3 plates of South Indian food. Today, however, I had one piece of toast and two glasses of juice. Throughout the day, I took nothing else more than a bowl of soup, a liter of water, and the largest prasad (food offering) I’d ever taken – enough to fill a plate – but the smallest dinner I’ve taken on the tour.

Being sick is by far the worst part of being an exchange student in India.

From our night halt in a Hassan hotel, we visited two impressive stone temples in Belur and Halebid, decorated so as to leave no part blank. As nice as they were, the architecture was similar for both. As we approached the second, some of us groaned, unwilling to depart the bus. Had we been healthy, none of us would have complained. As it was, we got out and spent some time with our hands on our knees, sitting, or leaning against pillars for support. A lot of us slept on today’s bus ride.

I woke up a few kilometers from our hotel in Mysore. Although it was raining, the city still looked beautiful. Like Hyderabad and Bangalore, Mysore is very modern; I saw no sidewalks used for walking, but the traffic moved smoothly and I could see an abundance of Western stores. Mysore somehow made me think of England, even though I’ve never seen the country.

I was rushed through the Maharaja’s Palace – given barely an hour this evening to see it before it closed. Worse, cameras weren’t allowed inside. My free audio tour headset was broken too.

Nonetheless, it was among the most beautiful manmade structures I’ve ever been in – just behind Wrigley Field, the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty. From outside, its majesty was apparent. The inside was full of rooms so detailed, decorated and colorful I could have stayed for hours…days…weeks… It would have been nice to live there.

Mysore also looks exquisite at night. Our view from the hills above the city was spectacular. Although about half the size of Nagpur, the city seemed much bigger when lit up in all directions.

I got a good vibe from Mysore. My stomach doesn’t seem to be bothering me as much anymore now.

The two previous days featured some nice attractions – an animal park in Bangalore where I snapped pictures of tigers and bears (but no lions), a flower garden wherein plants of varying sizes combined to form jaw-dropping views, and a Jain temple atop a hill not unlike Golkunda and Sinhagad that took over 600 steps to climb, the world’s largest monolithic statue – Gomateshwara – at the top.

However, the theme of the last three days was, and remains, the people. The past three nights have featured “parties” in hotel rooms lasting late into the night – the reason our sleep has been so limited and I’ve written nothing from Bangalore or Hassan. Almost every waking moment is spent with the other students, and over half of those are filled with interesting conversations, some on which I can’t elaborate. Suffice to say we’ve learned a lot about each other.

I’m going to miss everybody when this tour is over. Have we really just spent a week together?


Click to enlarge


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2 Responses to “South Tour: Bangalore, Hassan, Belur, Halebid & Mysore – It’s not my eyes that are sore”

  1. John Says:

    You probably are too busy typing the next round of journals, but a quick question: what do you do when eating to minimize the amount of food-related illness that may occur? Is it just common-sense and experience, or do you have some (lol) special procedure? 🙂

    • cyoder Says:

      When I’ve been sick, it’s always been because of outside food, not the food prepared at home. So normally I minimize the amount of outside food I eat. But we had to eat out a lot on the tour, so a lot of it was just common sense. Food from the hotels or chain restaurants are almost always ok, so we ate there a lot. And if the place where we want to eat has trash out front and flies buzzing by the food, we’ll probably pass. This strategy works about 98% of the time, and our stomachs have adjusted to a lot of things anyway.

      I brought some Pepto Bismol with me too, but I never needed it.

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