Thursday, March 31, 2011
Bangalore's Cubbon Park - Green Lung of the City
It's ironic when a tour that highlights a city gets cancelled. There were supposedly just two of us who booked for a Bangalore Tour. The reason why I booked when I could have done it on my own was simple. It's economical and saves me the hassle of dealing with auto drivers. Imagine if there were 10 sights to visit; multiply that with 150 to 250 rupees each for the transportation alone, that would cost an arm and a leg already - at 1,500 to 2,500 rupees. Then consider the entrance fees for each site for foreigners - once again in the vicinity of 200 to 700 per site! With that kind of money, I could already buy a plane ticket to Hong Kong's Disneyland - or feed a village in Mogadishu? LOL. India is cheap, the cost of living is inexpensive too, but NOT for tourists like me.
SENSELESS INFO GATHERING
Back to my City Tour. The KSTDC people didn't even have the sense to inform me of the tour cancellation. They have my hotel, they have my number. They even have my email address. What good is there of getting these details if not used when necessary? They could have texted me and that would have saved me the effort and unpalatable experience of constantly dealing with rickshaw drvers. Not to mention the fact that I had to wake up at 6:30 AM. Oh well, stuff happens.
It did give me the chance to roam that area around Badami House, which isn't pretty but informs tourists of how locals really live outside tourist-pretty sites. But I loved walking through narrow city streets. There was a rundown temple; cows by the roadside. But mostly, this was where they sell anything on computers, tech gadgets and IT stuff. It also gave me the chance to finally find an internet shop (after 3 days in the Silicon Valley of India) - which is rather ironic.
There were browsing centers near MG Road, but they are closed by 8PM. This is really odd, snce even those crumbling Rajasthani cities like Jaisalmer boasts of internet shops that open til late. Silicon Valley = few internet shops. Maybe I was at the wrong area of the city? But MG Road (as well as Brigade Road where I am staying) is the epicenter of activity. Bars and clubs are here; shops are everywhere. Party teens gather round Fusion Lounge to dance til 11:40PM. Rex Cinema finishes movies (I saw "Christian Brothers") at 1AM. Banks, KFC and McDonalds... everything is here.
By 4PM, I decided to troop to the nearby Cubbon Park which is vast! At over 300 acres - or 120 hectares, Cubbon Park (named after a former British Viceroy of India) is the "breathing space" of the city (aside from the lovely Lal Bagh Botanical Garden). There's a statue of Queen Victoria at the entrance. There's an area filled with huge rocks; a bamboo park, and the beautiful red buildings that house the City Library and the Hall of Justice. I love these solitary walks, away from tour guides. It allows me to famiiarize myself with the streets and to observe the locals in their relaxed laidback demeanor.
The best part about it is i didn't have to deal with auto drivers - the bane of a tourist's life - and sanity!
I would be taking the 9:30PM bus to Munnar later. It's almost a 12 hour bus ride to a hill station, awash with some of the most picturesque scenes in all of India. A bit anxious - but the people from my hotel (Hotel T.A.P. Silversquare) were accommodating. They have been very helpful. Something that I didn't expect from first impression. But this simple visit at the park has to be one of my favorites in Bangalore. It showed the city in a different light. I liked the sound of it as well - Cubbon! Very British? LOL
This is the Eye in the blimey Sky!