Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

18 Mar 2007, 12:59 p.m.

Quick Travelogue

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2007 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Caution: may be boring. This really serves as a skeleton for my future recollections, but it's better than the nothing that I invariably posted after past trips.

I took Thursday the 8th off from work even though we weren't flying till late that night. Excellent decision and reduced packing/errands stress. The flight to London was uneventful and we caught up with my sister in Heathrow and flew with her to Bangalore.

After a sunrise drive to Mysore, I think we spent most of the first day in India just staying awake and talking at home. An uncle accompanied Leonard and me to a bookstore so we could restock on Amar Chitra Katha comic books, and I got fitted for a blouse and skirt to wear to my dad's birthday party the next day. Leonard's few words of Kannada impressed everyone. We took melatonin tablets to go to sleep on time, and continued doing that throughout the trip - an excellent jet lag remedy.

The next day my dad had his big party and puja; Leonard, Nandini and I were accessories to this, appearing and smiling and bowing at the correct moments. We talked with relatives in the shade when we could. As in all family reunions, there were tens of distant relatives coming up to us and saying, "We haven't seen each other in fifteen years. Do you remember me?" and then identifying themselves by relation instead of name. Leonard and I may have been married again, sort of -- there certainly was a lot of rice-throwing, powder-daubing, and gift-giving.

My mom really wanted us to take a tour of the famous Mysore Palace, but instead we just saw it from the car, during the day and lit up at night.

Early the day we left, Leonard and I climbed the Chamundi Hill. It has monkeys. I am afraid of Indian monkeys. We were fine, though it is tiring both up and down. The last day increased my mom's velocity of gift attempts (the feeding attempts were constant throughout our visit).

Aside from multiple babies touching off each others' cries, our flight from Bangalore to London wasn't bad. Avedon had given us specific directions to her place, but Leonard thought he knew a better way; as it turns out, we were wrong. I did rent a cell phone at Heathrow and drop it off just before flying back to New York - well worth it for the fluid, unplanned, see-lots-of-friends trip we had.

The first night we just hung out with Avedon and Rob and saw her very Indian neighborhood. Then the next day we took a beautiful train ride to Cambridge to see Paul Wright for lunch at the tasty but slow Rainbow Cafe. We walked around the campus a bit, and looked at the used bookshops and the tent market. That evening we had a fine dinner ("Eat and 2 Veg") and a central-London walk with Priya.

The next day Leonard slept really late because he'd skipped his melatonin the night before; then we spent the afternoon eating and playing party games with Kevan Davis and Holly, Maria, and Brendan in Battersea. On the way to and from their place, I did get to use a double-decker bus, which I'd last thought about while watching Children of Men. Avedon and Rob invited us to their Thursday pub night, so all six of us tromped off to an out-of-the-way monarchically-named tavern in north-ish London. Bartenders got confused when I tried to tip them. I stayed up late that night just chatting with Avedon, who was quite sad that she could not show me her pictures of Durham.

We got to the airport on Friday to find out that our flight had been cancelled. I'd checked the airline site from Avedon's before leaving and had seen nothing about this! The people in front of us in the queue got the last seats for an earlier flight, so we waited for five hours instead of three to get on the plane to New York. Given the weather conditions on the East Coast, I'm just glad we were only delayed two hours! (Leonard grumble. He was a good sport.) We got home and had long showers (as Leonard called it, "The Mega-Snana"), email and RSS checking on our own computers, and slept in our own bed. Now: homework!

I assume pictures are coming soon but that's Leonard's detail.