eating sushi in India :: days 4 and 5 :: monkeys & touristing

January 10, 2019 - Okay, I’ve gotten a little behind on the blog, but my Instagram stories are more or less up to date.

Most days, I get up early for yoga but I get to sleep in on Fridays since my assigned practice time is 8:15am.

It turns out that 8am is prime time for catching these guys.

Up until today, I hadn’t seen a monkey.

Up until today, I hadn’t seen a monkey.

Hi.

Hi.

Today, I decided to get down to the business of what I call touristing - going places, seeing things, and generally just getting out and about beyond Gokulam, the neighborhood where I’m staying. It turns out this is pretty easy to do. I downloaded Ola (it’s like Uber or Lyft), and ordered up an auto rickshaw. I visited the rail museum and a local supermarket, mostly because they were close by and if the whole Ola app thing didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be stranded too far from familiar territory.

Proof of adventurous touristing below.

I won’t lie - the rail museum was hella boring (sorry, train fans) but for the entrance fee of about US $1, I suppose all there is to say is that you get what you pay for.

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On Saturday I made a few changes to my routine. First, I decided to get around by car instead of auto rickshaw. I told myself that I don’t have to be a martyr to the Lonely Planet or Globe Trekker travel style. It’s hot and dusty here, and a 15-minute drive in an open air rickshaw isn’t exactly comfortable. Rickshaws are less expensive than cars, yes, but for perspective, the car rides I took on Saturday cost about US $1.50 each.

Today’s touristing was better. I started out with a no-brainer, and visited St. Philomena’s Cathedral. This was a lot of church.

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I got to the cathedral just as school was ending for the day. (I guess school is 6 days a week, and Saturdays are a half-day.) I was sitting on some stairs, and apparently that was enough to be approached by quite a few students. Young ones asked me my name; older kids wanted to know my name and to take a selfie. I’m not entirely sure why, but whatever. I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those people who would photograph local kids and all that. (20-something me probably would have. 40-something me isn’t into it.)

After the cathedral, I tried the veggie pizza at The Old House and got serious about souvenir shopping at Fabindia. (Yes, it was fab.) I like that I’m getting a little more confident finding my way around the city. Small victories and all…

This was my first sort of bigger excursion to an unfamiliar part of Mysore. Super cute spot, right?

This was my first sort of bigger excursion to an unfamiliar part of Mysore. Super cute spot, right?

eating sushi in India :: day 2 :: getting settled and sorted

My assigned practice time is 6am, which means most days I’m here will start pretty early, before sunrise. The queue was pretty long when I arrived yesterday, and I waited over an hour before I could actually get in to practice. Today, the line was much shorter (it started on the bottom flight of stairs) and the wait, less. I won’t lie - the long wait is a drag. Also, it’s chilly. It was around 55 degrees Fahrenheit this morning.

It’s funny the things I’ll tolerate here that I wouldn’t at home.

The queue outside Saraswati’s shala. The wait to practice on New Year’s Day was more than an hour.

The queue outside Saraswati’s shala. The wait to practice on New Year’s Day was more than an hour.

Street puppies make the wait a lot more entertaining. Today, they were asleep in a heap when I got in line, and woke up a little before 6am.

Street puppies make the wait a lot more entertaining. Today, they were asleep in a heap when I got in line, and woke up a little before 6am.

After practice, breakfast and more importantly, coffee. (I feel like once I have my coffee and bottled water sources worked out and well known, I can get on with the business of exploring.)

I’m pretty sure the best part about being on vacation is eating out for breakfast everyday. Cafe Santosha, is where I landed today. It was full of foreign yoga students (I get the feeling I’ll end up enjoying those types of places most).

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I’m staying at the Anokhi Garden Cafe and Guesthouse, and the gardens are really lovely.

See, I told you my coffee situation was well sorted by this point.

See, I told you my coffee situation was well sorted by this point.

By the end of this trip, it’ll be interesting to see what I photograph most: cows, coffee, or flowers.

By the end of this trip, it’ll be interesting to see what I photograph most: cows, coffee, or flowers.

Speaking of cows…

Moooooo. This guy was outside the gate of the guesthouse where I’m staying.

Moooooo. This guy was outside the gate of the guesthouse where I’m staying.

The jet lag is real, yo. I’ve never traveled across so many time differences and wasn’t sure what to expect when I did. Yesterday and today I felt great until around 3pm. I thought a short nap would take the edge off, but both days I ended up sleeping hard until nearly 7pm. Nap champ!

eating sushi in India :: day 1 :: happy new year!

I’m spending the month of January in India. 2019 is starting with quite a few firsts: first time in Asia, first time doing some personal travel alone, and first day of the year in a completely unfamiliar place.

You might be thinking “You aren’t really eating sushi there, are you?” Nope. Over the holidays, we had a good laugh when Rich’s dad, who spent quite a bit of time working in India years ago, told him about about his colleague who did try the sushi… only to have a hearty helping of regret for dessert.

There are probably many wannabe Anthony Bourdains, adventurously eating my way around the world, but I’m not one of them. I’m not an aspiring travel writer, either, but I do want to record the everyday details - where I went, what I saw and what it feels like to do everyday things in a place completely foreign to me.

Today started early, around 5am. I’m practicing yoga while I’m here (at KPJAYI with Saraswati).

The yoga ID card that stays tucked under the upper right corner of my yoga mat while I practice.

The yoga ID card that stays tucked under the upper right corner of my yoga mat while I practice.

Quite a few people already in the queue to practice by 5:45am. Happy New Year!

Quite a few people already in the queue to practice by 5:45am. Happy New Year!

I was done by 8am or so, and walked back to the guesthouse where I’m staying. This looks a bit different than my walk to and from North End Yoga at home.

Later, the owner of the guesthouse invited me to join him on some errands at the main market. I experience traffic on the back of a scooter, see the fruit and flower market, and got a first hand look at what it takes to buy a toaster. Shopping here is a pretty social experience. You don’t browse alone. There’s always someone to help you find what you are looking for. A stop at a stationery store included chatting with the owner and his son over coffee.

flowers at the market

flowers at the market

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Later, I headed out alone for lunch at a place called Depth ‘n Green. Lonely Planet’s review nails it: “Wildly popular with local yogis, this buzzing healthy cafe offers a menu of satisfying Indian and Western dishes, including great salads, served up on tree trunk tables.” I’ll definitely be back, although if I’m being honest, I’ll probably avoid the groups of yoga students talked about which pose they struggled with or nailed that particular day.

the view from my corner tree trunk table

the view from my corner tree trunk table

this place is super cute

this place is super cute

I purchased some bug spray (first shopping experience of the trip) and then headed back to the guesthouse for a bit. I’m definitely not in sync with the time difference, and I gave into a pretty long nap this afternoon. (I’m a big fan of the 3:30 nap, I must say.)

So far, so good!