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Published: January 15th 2010
Ahhhhhhhh! I found INdia again! AFter 2 months in Goa and a few days in Hampi I was wondering...!!! But now I am finally in Mysore, a real INdian city and although I just arrived yesterday, I am in love with the place already! The birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga!
The trip to get here was uneventful, I said good bye to my friends who were going to Varanasi the same day I was leaving for Bangalore and then Mysore. Met a lot of tourists at the train station, even some from Montreal! And also ran into some yogis from Goa who were also going to Bangalore to then move on to another city.
It was a night train, I slept a little bit, and arrived in Bangalore early in the morning. From there I took a bus to Mysore, and arrived somewhat tired at the busy bus station. I got out of the bus, and right away of course some rickshaw driver came and asked me where I wanted to go. He told me in a friendly way that he was "the Lonely PLanet of Mysore"! I thanked him, I had in mind to check the Chamundi Hotel. On my way there another INdian walked with me, telling me that this place was "100% no good". He had much better places to recommend. He followed me to Chamundi, and I have to admit he was right: the place was not inspiring at all, and I REALLY wanted to find a place where I would feel good, after the somewhat nice but dirty place I had in HAmpi. He took me to 2 hotels that looked much better, telling me his life story on the way, but I didn't really like the vibe of these places. I thanked him, and walked to Dasaprakash Hotel, another one recommended by the Lonely PLanet... It is a huge hotel complex but sometimes these places are very functional and cleaner. It is the case with this one. I have a nice room, clean, with hot water (a trickle but with patience it works!), nice wooden furniture, clean sheets, clean towel, and all this for about $6-7. Can't beat it. And that's not all! I woke up with the newspaper under my door this morning, and they have the best cheapest restaurant I have ever seen in India! Oh, and an ice cream parlour!!! I am in heaven. It's a bit noisy, but to be expected in India, and of course I woke up at 5:15 with the muslim call for prayer. It was my call to get up and do yoga.
Well, enough about the room, let's talk about the city! I only explored a little bit so far, I was just too happy to relax in my room after the overnight train. But I tried to get a map of the city because it is really big. So I went to the tourist office: closed. I went to the transport office, and asked: "Do you have a map of the city?". "Today is a holiday". Hum, well I thought maybe he didn't understand what I said. I repeated my question, he repeated his answer. Then I understood that the places where I could get a map were closed today because of a festival! Ah, that explained why the cows were all painted yellow!!!
SO I just walked around a bit and went to the market, as I can't resist markets. People are very friendly here, the pace is somewhat slower than in other cities that I visited in INdia. I love it. One young guy showed me how they make incense sticks, and he showed me all the different oils he sells. He put many of them on my arms so I could smell them. Then I bought some bananas, spend an hour in a music shop listening to different CDs and finally bought 2, and eventually walked back to my room to read a bit. Woaw! I almost felt sick from the smell of all these oils on my arms! I washed and scrubbed but it is really hard to get rid of!!!
So today I will try to explore a bit more. The Mysore palace looks gorgeous, at night from my room I could see it all illuminated. Apparently they only illuminate it on Sundays and during festivals for one hour per night. Reason? With 96,000 light bulbs, it probably costs a lot of money!!!
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