Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cleaning Bangalore

Before you start saying "Oh, why doesn't she just clean her own room", I just want to say that I'm doing this for a good cause.

"A" signed me up for the "Let's Clean Bengaluru", an event created by a Facebook group that inspires Bangaloreans to "Reclaim Bengaluru... It's Yours! Keep it clean". The day to clean was August 15th, 2009 and anyone and everyone can participate. You can clean the smelly clogged drain that your neighbors seemed to have successfully ignored for the past 3 months or your driveway or your neighborhood park. "A" chose Cubbon Park.

It started out with the four of us but "A" managed to convince three other friends, a group of kids and a few random men in the park to join us.

With a whole liter of homemade "lemonade", we managed to (happily) clean-up a good portion of the park in 4 hours.

According to the Facebook group "Here are the results: 4700 participants, 6000 bags of garbage, 5800 bags collected by BBMP, 200 bags failed to be collected by BBMP."

Our personal result: Approximately 40 participants, 11 extra-large garbage bags, and bags collected by BBMP: unknown.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bangalore Home Services

I was having my cuppa chai and cut fruits in the terrace this morning at "A"'s parent's home and heard a melodious voice singing loudly a word I cannot comprehend. When I looked down, I saw this man pushing a cart, piled with fresh vegetables. He stopped in front of the gate, I guess waiting for "A"'s servants to come out from the house to buy some.

I remember vaguely when I was very young, at the age of 5 or so, there used to be a little truck that passes our house every morning with a specific honking pattern that every servant or homemaker would recognize. My grandmother used to hurry outside to select the freshest produce and then haggle for the best price.

I also remember before I left NYC, there was a service call Fresh Direct where you'd order your groceries on the internet and it will be delivered to you in a couple of days. Not as efficient as the Bangalore's vegetable cart or the Malaysia's honking truck but you can't beat fresh produce at your doorsteps.

Camel Ride

On a random day in Bangalore, I was having lunch with "A" and his family when I heard bells from outside the house. Low and behold was a skinny camel guided by a skinny man wandering in the neighborhood, looking for small children to ride on his camel. Before I could say no, skinny man grabbed my left butt cheek and pushed me on top of the camel's back. I was riding a camel.

The very slow 10-minute camel ride included a few camera-phone shot stops by random strangers on the street. Apparently, this camel came all the way from Rajasthan to Bangalore, about 2000 km on foot. I'm trying not to encourage these sort of unethical, animal-abusing behavior but I have to admit it was fun going around the block on a camel's back. Cost of ride: Rs50 (USD1).

Skinny camel, skinny man and I.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I've been wanting to visit Badami since the last 3 times I came to India but failed to do so because unlike Hampi, Badami is pretty challenging get to.

Badami is a very pretty place but the lack of signage makes walking is a bit annoying. You will just have to be a bit more adventurous and explore small paths that may lead you to amazing sights.






Badami lanes
Badami Lanes

How to get there:
We went there by train, departing from Yeswantpur train station (west of Bangalore) to Badami train station. The trip took close to 14 hours, but it's an overnight train (back and forth) so you safe time and hotel cost. Cost of one way ticket for a 3-tier air-conditioned sleeper is about Rs900.

Where to sleep:
There's really no luxurious hotels like the Taj here mainly because it is still very underdeveloped, which is nice in a way. Lonely planet and some other websites suggested Badami Court and listed the rate at Rs2500/night but when we called, they say that was the rate back in 2004. Today, it costs about Rs4000/night. But this is as good as it gets, even though I think the price is a little high for the lack of quality (and cleanliness) they provided.
Email: or Telephone: 08357-720230 - 33

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    Non-substance headache remedies

    Where the heck is Po? This week (and a week more or so), I'm back in Bangalore to see my boy "A" before I finally head back to NYC.

    For some reason, starting from last month, I was getting some really excruciating headaches around this time of the month. Last month, I was with my family in beautiful Redang Island so I thought this headache must've been caused by the heat and overexcitement of being around the pearly white sandy beach and crystal clear blue water. I found out this month, it's probably due to some hormonal changes.

    After taking 5-6 pills a day with little relief, I gave up on paracetamol and gave in to my dad's nag. My family has this traditional remedy call "pau sa" where you scrape the skin on your back with a porcelain spoon and salt water when you suspect your body have too much "heat". Excess "heat" in the body is believed to cause fever, headache, etc, so scrapping your skin till it becomes swollen and red will release the "heat".


    It doesn't look pretty and hurts like hell. This one here is done with fingers instead of a porcelain spoon. Using your index and middle finger, pinch a good amount of flesh and pull hard. Repeat for 50-100 times until your patient screams like her finger is being cut off. Or with a porcelain spoon, dip into salt water, then scrap the skin on the back over and over until the area turns reddish-black. This hickey-looking scar last for a week and a half. Result of "pau sa": no more headache after a couple of hours.

    So this month, not expecting the bad headache would return, I came to Bangalore without bringing a porcelain spoon. Again, after a full day and a half of very painful headache, "A" took me to a spa to get an Indian head massage. It was one of the most awesomest massages ever! Her touches were soft yet strong, gentle yet firm. I was in total bliss. She first parted my hair to apply some olive oil onto my scalp. Then she must've spent at least 45 minutes applying deep, long and careful strokes with her fingers and palms. Result of Indian head massage - instant relief!

    Uma, my Indian head masseuse