First day

Our first day was focused on key logistics; checking our apartment and doing some basic shopping.

After resting in the hotel for the night we had breakfast at the hotel.  The kids were faced with their first meal in India, a traditional breakfast with idlees and sambar and other treats.  Andy and John tasted everything but Mara mostly nibbled at the corn flakes.  I thought it was good, though I’ve had better. (Our hotel, the Woodlands, is 2-stars and leaves a lot to be desired.)

Everyone was buzzing with excitement because today India won its first-ever Gold medal in the Olympics, in the shooting competition.  It was headline news in all the papers.

We met up with our Fulbright-provided facilitator. Professor M.K. Sridhar at National College (Bangalore) is a former Fulbright Scholar himself. (He visited U. South Carolina in 2000, I think, to teach sanskrit.) He has been extremely helpful, explaining how things work and taking us around the city as needed.  On this day we visited our apartment at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). I am extremely grateful to the IISc-ECE staff who have been helping to coordinate our housing on campus, and working with the housing staff to clean, repaint, and improve our apartment.  

Street view of our apartment, at top.

Later, we went to M.G. Road, the busy upscale shopping strip.  Although touristy and somewhat expensive, one can find most things here.  We bought sheets and towels from a Bombay Dyeing outlet, nice quality at a reasonable price.

After my visit to the cellphone store I walked back to the hotel in a drizzle, after dark.  [Here in the tropics and in this part of the timezone it gets dark at about 6:30.]  The streets were busy with a meleé of honking “autos” (three-wheeled motorized rickshaws), cars, and pedestrians trying to weave through the traffic.  The sidewalks were packed with people, many who stop at little hole-in-the-wall (literally) shops that sell all manner of cooked food for a few rupees. It’s hard to describe the powerful blend of noises and smells that come from the traffic, people, and cooking.  Exciting, overwhelming, interesting, stimulating, all at once.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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