Anyway, my Volvo bus would be 2218. And I would be one of the only two foreigners (the other one was an American guy being accompanied by his Indian wife).
We passed by Channapatna, home of a military training school, and a site filled with undulating hills and picturesque slopes. The tourist guide was annotating in Indian thus I could only get words like "shooting" - a film? I can only guess. Sixty kilometers from Bangalore, our first activity of the day would be a 20-minute stopover at a toy factory called Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara (SLV) Toy Factory. Great! Did I really sign up for a "cultural tour"? There is nothing in the itinerary that included wooden toys and trinkets. Or is this going to be an orgasmic journey into silk shops and sandals and garments? I shuddered at the thought.
"I am in trouble," I told myself!
Much as I wanted to be hip, intercontinental and otherworldly, my tongue disagrees with Indian cuisine and spices. My Kashmiri friend is too aware of this, he used to force me to "Come on, eat some more!" But you see, it is my problem. Some people would gladly trade places with me for getting exposed to the exoticism of Indian cuisine. From the menu, I ordered vaguely familiar terms - few things I've encountered in Tamil Nadu. I had to tell myself - Whatever it is I'd order, I'd consume, regardless of them being spicy or not. I ordered onion rava dosa and ghee plain roast and found out later, both were a variety of roti. Like I originally planned, I consumed every bit and rushed back to my seat.
Brindavan Gardens illuminate festively at night. This photo only courtesy of Flickr's Velachery Balu.