Eric Blom, PIAP logo

Bangalore India: 20 Hours on a Bus

Now that I've had a little sleep it it is time to go to work. I've never been to the Cypress Design Center in Bangalore (INDC), but, lucky for me several engineers from INDC have visited the office I work at in the USA, so, there were some familiar faces to greet me at INDC.

Lucky for me INDC had scheduled a company picnic for the weekend I arrived, but, I didn't realize until I arrived the extent of the picnic. The picnic was being held in a town called Ooty which is 200 miles south of Bangalore. While a 200 mile trip in the US might take 4 hours the roads are not quite as good in Bangalore. So, the picnic started at 11 PM on Friday night when we boarded 4 private busses for a 10 hour drive to Ooty.

We arrived at about 9 AM at our hotel, the Sullivan Court. There were about 150 of us checking into the hotel so it seemed like we had the place all to our selves. During weekend in Ooty we had great food at the hotel and did some sight seeing. The food was all Indian which worked out great for me because it was a perfect opportunity for me to try lots of new indian dishes. I think I like all of them too.

For me the most memorable part of the weekend was not the sights that we visited but the sites I saw while riding on the bus. Unfortunately that also means that it was virtually impossible to take any pictures due to the bus moving, so, words will have to do for now.

What strikes me most about India is how little personal space there is. Driving 200 miles in the USA you would see a lot of road signs and buildings, but, the 200 miles from Bangalore to Ooty were filled with people and animals that were either physically on the road or literally just a few feet from the edge of the road. There were a countless number of "shops" along the road. The shops were either very simple and very small buildings or just a table or cart with fruit or vegetables on it. These shops were always setup right on the road. In the USA the space that the shops were in would typically be taken up by the sidewalk along a road.

In addition to all of the goods that were for sale along the road there were lots of animals. You have probably heard of cows on the road in India, but, it might be hard to believe that the stories are not only true but they are not exaggerated. On the trip to Ooty and back I saw all of the following: cows, miniature goats, mules, horses, dogs, chickens, and monkeys. I saw cows walking along side the bus while we were stopped or weaving their way between cars and eating out of trash piles along the side of the road.

Imagine a space the size of half of a volley ball court and in that space is a bus, a couple of motorcycles, a small car, a cow, a dog, and 10 people on foot; that is what the roads of India are like.

Another very interesting thing I learned on the trip to Ooty is that there are towns in India that are trying to become plastic free. I saw several large signs when entering towns boasting about being plastic free. I don't have any information on this, but, I have to assume that given the amount of trash that seems to makes its way onto the ground the towns are trying to improve the environment by eliminating non-biodegradable plastic packaging.

India has been an incredibly interesting place to visit and there is one more impression that I want to share. Seeing how people live so close to each other, how vehicles share the road with horse drawn carts, bicycles, dogs, and people, makes me realize that the only way this can work is if people are looking out for each other and the animals around them.

(September 10th, 11th, and 12th, 2004)

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From left to right: Sunil, Bharath, Me, Manish. This picture was taken in the INDC offices. In Ooty we stayed at this 5 star hotel, named Sullivan Court, that happens to be operated by the Welcome Group, which is the same company that operates the hotel I'm staying at in Bangalore.
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The hotel sits a top a hill above the city. The city is to the left in this picture. I didn't realize until much later that I had caught a bird in flight in this picture. In this picture you might be able to make out the fence posts along the tree line. These posts mark the edge of the road which leads up the hill to the hotel. The view of the city from the front of the hotel. The grounds of the hotel were nicely landscaped with sitting areas like this one.
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An interesting plant. I think it might be retired from Little Shop of Horrors. The lobby of the hotel as seen from the top floor. Of course the kids on the trip had great fun going up and down in the elevator while their parents took pictures of them from the lobby. My room for the weekend.
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We had five meals at the hotel. All of them were served buffet style with an open seating area as shown in this picture. Everyone found it a little strange that there were no tables, but, it wasn't a problem. The food was all great. This is a picture taken from Dodabedda Peak, which is the highest peak in South India. I believe the peak is about 2,200 meters tall (7,200 feet). This peak is not like those I've hiked in Washington because you can drive to the top of this peak. Taken at Dodabedda Peak. Taken at Dodabedda Peak.
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Taken at Dodabedda Peak. Taken at Dodabedda Peak. Although I looked strange taking a picture of a cow, because they really are very common in India, I just had to take this picture to help communicate to my friends and family in the USA that there really are cows everywhere. These are the only tigers I've seen in India so far. These were spotted by these children along the path to a overlook at Dodabedda Peak.
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B.R. Guttal and his family. I first met Guttal when he visited Cypress MicroSystems in 2003. Taken at Dodabedda Peak. Taken at Dodabedda Peak. Taken at Dodabedda Peak.

Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the picture.

The pictures in this gallery were taken with a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera. Any use of these pictures without permission from the photographer is strictly prohibited. Email me to request permission to use any of these pictures or if you would like a higher resolution version.