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Published: August 10th 2013
‘’Its not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can be hit and keep moving forward – Rocky Balboa
So, after a fairly relaxing time in Kodai, we were off in search of even more downtime in the city of Mysore, home of Ashtanga Yoga.
We had booked ourselves into a great little hotel not too far from the centre for a great price and were looking forward to seeing what Mysore had to offer. We were willing to stay here for a few weeks or even a month if we liked the feel of the place and if we could get something good going on with one of the local Yoga places….but with no real plans, we were just going to play this by ear.
Our first venture out of the hotel by foot seemed to be a clear indication of what Mysore was going to be like for us, and in all honesty, we should have realised there and then, that this wasn’t going to be our favourite place. Without a map or a clear idea of where the main town or where the major focal point -
Maharaja’s palace was, we hit the streets of Mysore. Going the completely wrong direction to the aforementioned landmarks, we ended up wandering the clogged and crazy streets before finally seeing something we recognised. It was St Philomena’s Church and to be honest was hard to miss. Knowing this wasn’t really where we wanted to be, we were still glad to be in the vicinity of a large landmark that we had at least heard of. Walking towards the church however, brought us a hoard of unwanted guests. Tuk tuk drivers, taxis, unofficial guides and even carpet salesman attached themselves to us like flies round shit. Being at what would seem to be a fairly touristy sight, we assumed there would be other tourists getting some of the share of hassle, however being the only westerners close by, we may as well of had ‘Please…try ripping us off’ plastered across our foreheads, with an addition of ‘If we say No Thank-you, just try ten times harder and I’m sure we will change our minds’
It was relentless.
So, after a quick look around the place and posing for a few Indian tourists photos, we promptly made a bolt for
the exit. Perhaps not making ourselves clear the first ten times, the same undeterred faces were waiting for us for another go at selling us stuff we didn’t need nor want. Man, these guys were persistent.
After finally escaping from the church, dodging traffic as well as a few goats and cows, we finally found ourselves a hotel in which to have lunch and more importantly to get away from the chaos of the streets. This was essential as having little sleep from the train and no breakfast, we were just about ready to lose it.
Our next day was probably the best one we had in Mysore, where we visited the Maharaja’s Palace. This wonderful structure really was quite amazing inside and out, and along with all the visual charms and interesting history, it also served as a great way to escape from the craziness that was on the other side of those walls…..
Having had this fine day, and growing in confidence with walking around the streets, dodging stares, invites to tours and what not, we decided to head into the epicentre of chaos and to take a look around the Devaraja Market.
on earth were we thinking? Just when we thought we were getting better at batting off people and staying incognito, we decided to do this……
Upon reaching the outskirts of the market, we were mooching around and taking in the sights and the smells of this bustling area, and then we made our way into the market itself. Being the only tourists around, we were of course immediately jumped on by every market seller in the place.
It was uncomfortable to say the least for me, however with no women to be seen it was even worse for Donna. After about 3 minutes into being pulled this way and that to buy this or smell that etc, Donna then had her arse grabbed by some shady guy who disappeared off into the carnage. Despite wanting to see the market in full swing and take a few snaps, this was too much as far as we were concerned, and so we swiftly made our way to the exit, fuming at the guy who had ruined our visit, and really quite horrified at some of the people walking around here. I understand some people may take this with a pinch
of salt and say it’s to be expected, but for us, it’s just a massive invasion of space and no one should have to put up with this crap, anywhere.
For the rest of the day, we stewed on this incident, and really started to question why we were here. Why were we putting ourselves though this kind of stuff? The stares, the constant badgering, the trash everywhere and now this. It just all seemed to hit us at that moment, and we both just felt like throwing the towel in there and then…it was just one of those moments I guess.
Deciding perhaps booking some Yoga would brighten our time here, we were disappointed to learn that most people that come here for the Yoga was on a month training basis etc and there were generally specific dates that courses started on. The course that we wanted to get on wasn’t for another few weeks, so this just seemed to add to our already sombre moods.
Still, after time to cool off, a nice dinner and some beers, we shook off the bad vibe we had and decided to just get on with things. We knew
that India wasn’t going to be the easiest place to travel, and that there would be things to test us along the way, but that was almost one of the pulls of travelling this place for us, the challenge. We could easily have decided to quit and go somewhere easy and less frantic, but where’s the fun in that? Having dusted ourselves off, we agreed to head to the Railway museum. To be honest, this didn’t sound hugely appealing as neither of us own an anorak nor do we get our kicks from trains, however, this place was billed as a ‘’half a day of pure fun’’ in the guide, and so we thought sod it, why not. In all fairness it was actually much better than both of us anticipated, and rather than being a boring, stuffy indoor museum with a million facts to read, the place was outdoors and more of a railway graveyard than a museum. This was great as the inner kid came out in us both as we climbed on-board the old trains and played with the controls (I probably did this a little more than Donna if truth be told!) Not long after we
had begun jumping on the trains and taking photos it happened…….
….. I said something to Donna that I have never said to her in all the 15 years we have been together and which I’m hoping I won’t have to repeat anytime soon. I can’t go into too much detail as Donna insists this is in bad taste (I of course disagree), but you’ll get the idea from this one comment I made not long after excitedly jumping off train number 4 and feeling a grumble in my stomach that required some immediate attention ….
Mike: ‘’Man that was way too close, and it was proper grim in there. Gonna need to replace what’s left of those Calvins’’
Sooooo, moving on from that picture I have no doubt sadly ingrained in your head now, we decided to snap out of our moods and concentrate on our next destination, Hampi.
If the rumours were true of this place, it would be a far cry from city life and would be somewhere we wouldn’t regret coming to. This sounded promising.
Hampi, turn these frowns upside down please!
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