When we were in Hyderabad, we asked what would be the best place to visit while in Bangalore. Most people responded that we needed to go see the Lalbagh Botanical Garden. Though it wasn’t originally on our schedule, the tour leadership found a way to take us there. Unfortunately, we missed a huge annual flower show by a week, but the gardens were still lovely. In the center of the garden, there is a replica of the Crystal Palace that was in London before it was destroyed by fire. Of course, there was also a plethora of plants and pathways through the area.
Kyle and I began by walking around the gardens and enjoying the scenery. They were lovely, except for the stray dogs that seemed to have found refuge there. Soon we met up with some others in our group and happened to walk by a bunch of parked of golf carts. It was only a couple dollars to get a tour on one so we all paid for a driver and tour, then jumped into the cart. As we were driven around we were taken through pathways that Kyle and I had missed before. We were driven to a beautiful 300 year old tree, past cucumbers that were gigantic, and a buttercup tree that produced stiff leaves that were just like spoon, as well as many other beautiful sights.
The garden also had an odd section dedicated to Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Through the tour, our guide had been giving us little tidbits of information. At this point he decided to tell us each of the dwarfs names. It went something like this, “There is Dopey, Sleepy, Doc, Sleezy…” All of us in the cart were trying so hard not to burst out laughing. A simple mistake but sadly turned innocent and allergenic Sneezy into a much more risque dwarf.
After the tour, we went to the meeting place only to find a man selling ice cream. He must have heard that there was going to be a group of sweet-toothed dancers there. Of course we couldn’t just leave the ice cream there to fend for itself, so we helped it out and had one. Happily satisfied with familiar food, we jumped on the bus and headed to our next location.
For the dancers, we were taken to a couple different locations to teach workshops. Everyone who was left had free time to explore the city. I enjoyed teaching at the Attakkalari Center for Movement Arts with a great group of students while Kyle and Aaron Eastley slipped away on a rickshaw to see The Dark Knight Rises at a nearby theater. Kyle said being at an Indian theater was a totally new experience. In the middle of the show they stopped the film for an intermission and snack break. Then, on the way home in the rickshaw, the driver was exceptionally crazy and the rain was coming down in sheets. He said it was like a continuation of the movie.
That night we got a big surprise that made our night. We were bussed to the Hard Rock Cafe Bangalore. A burger had never tasted as good as it did that night. I am pretty sure that every one of us felt the same way. Oh sweet American food, how we missed you. Many of the dancers left to do some shopping after dinner but because it was getting late Kyle and I headed back for our nightly ritual of laundry and cheering on USA in the Olympics.
* Workshop photos courtesy of Mark Philbrick, all others are from my camera or iPhone.