Encore Bangalore

…and just like that, our 99-day Asian adventure has come to its inevitable conclusion. A mere thirty hours of intercontinental travel (including a brief foray into Frankfurt) brought us home to Montreal last Tuesday night where we promptly began the process of re-adjusting to regular life. It’s been blissful, and I’ll elaborate on that sometime soon!

From Sri Lanka, we flew to Bangalore for our flight home and a quick farewell visit with Bevan and Eliza. From the airport, we headed straight for our planned meeting spot, a brewpub called Toit. Incidentally, we were told the name is supposed to rhyme with “squat”, so you can imagine the difficulty I had trying to explain to the taxi driver where we wanted to go without cracking up. We had a joyous reunion with B&E (joined by some of their delightful friends) and a few tasty pints before being unceremoniously herded out of the place at 11:30 pm sharp, the remainder of our beers poured into plastic cups we were allowed to take with us. Bangalore must be taking a page from Toronto’s nightlife playbook.

B&E arranged for us to stay with them at their friend Rachel’s, who’s a colleague of Eliza’s in the Fulbright program as well as a very cool girl. Back at Rachel’s, Bevan and Eliza marked the occasion of our engagement with a lovely gift (gorgeous pottery from Kodaikanal), a bottle of Sula (Indian-made bubbly), and a truly touching speech.

During the rest of our time in Bangalore, we downshifted from full-tilt tourist mode to a more leisurely transitional pace. The hours were delightfully spent, in the company of Bevan, Eliza, and usually Rachel, in a number of ways:

  • Enjoying delicious (non-Indian) breakfast concoctions whipped up by Bevan;
  • Sipping cocktails at slick rooftop bars in which the frenetic sounds of the city below are just about drowned out;
  • Trying out Bangalore’s new (and rather limited) metro system, with its strict but totally irrational rule about standing behind the yellow line enforced by a gentleman clutching a serious whistle;
  • Meandering down Commercial Street, on the prowl for silver, silk and sarees;
  • Testing the boundaries of vehicle capacity and good sense (four people plus the driver in a tuk-tuk; seven people in a small car; ten people in an SUV – you get the idea);
  • Getting our fill of Indian food after the two-month hiatus – from pani puri perfection on the street, to gobi Manchurian gluttony at a shiny new cafeteria-like spot, to a sumptuous feast at a slightly fancier joint on our last night;
  • Checking out Bevan’s exciting new art project, to be unveiled in the US this fall;
  • Squeezing in some culture at a riveting but bizarre musical performance combining Indian classical dance with Norwegian black metal (yes – Norwegian black metal);
  • Learning the hard way that playing cards in a public place, whether for money or not, is apparently illegal in Bangalore;
  • Arguing unsuccessfully with a bar manager who decided to enforce the above-mentioned rule after we’d been buying margaritas and playing cards in his establishment for almost two hours;
  • While waiting for our car to the airport, holding a symbolic but culturally inaccurate Indian wedding ceremony at Rachel’s apartment, complete with toe rings and walking seven times around a candle on the floor.

As you may be able to tell, the last days of our adventure were well enjoyed. However, home beckoned! A churlish taxi driver whisked us away from our impromptu wedding reception and deposited us unceremoniously into a sea of fellow travellers at Bengaluru International Airport.

Though we’re now safely at home, I’ll continue to post some musings on the trip on a fairly regular basis. I’ve no doubt you are dying to read them. Stay tuned!

Here’s some photographic accompaniment to the lines above:

Readying the toast

Cool and healthful refreshment is just a neat hack away

We couldn't figure out whether the first pictogram is warning against vomiting or reading books placed on the floor

A mad dash

Slow day at the office

Impassioned rhetoric urging women to join the army: "You have given the nation its sons and heroes. Now is it time to lead the heroes."

Another powerful army slogan graces Eliza's favourite sign in Bangalore

Leisurely lunch photographed by a charming fellow at the next table...

...who offered so that the favour could be returned

Cafe Coffee Day, with over 1200 stores across India, are endeavouring to convert a tea-drinking people into a nation of caffeine fiends with the help of clever marketing

The rooftop margarita-fuelled card game that met its abrupt end at the hands of an unsympathetic bar manager

A stop for pani puri to tide us over until dinner

All smiles and flanked by Rachel and Eliza, awaiting my all-time favourite dish of gobi Manchurian

What's the hold-up?

Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, a beautiful violin-shaped cultural centre built in honour of a local maestro

Digging the undisputable parallels between Indian classical dance and Norwegian black metal, in the context of the presently-unfolding Kali Yug (Age of the Demon)

The name of this popular brewpub is regrettably pronounced to rhyme with "squat".

Sitting down to one of Bevan's breakfast creations.

You can't tell, but we're crammed into the back of a tuk-tuk - eliciting bemused glances even from Bangaloreans

Brides-to-be being shown wedding sarees at a Commercial Street silk shop

Going abroad?

Chaat session

Consider yourselves warned!

Our spontaneous pseudo-wedding in the final hours of our journey

We enjoyed visiting this Lego Taj Mahal in the airport more than the actual Taj Mahal. Farewell India!

4 thoughts on “Encore Bangalore

  1. Thanks for visiting Toit when you were here. We’re glad you liked our beers. We have a policy of stalking everyone who comes here. 😉

    Toit is not pronounced like ‘squat’. Its basically ‘tight’ pronounced with a Scottish twang. “Toit like a Toiger” from Austin Powers Goldmember? That was the inspiration behind the name. Rachel is one of our regulars. She should’ve known!

    God save our ‘squats’


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s