This is the first time I’ve ever been away from home for so long and the first time I spent more than a day in a different country. We’ve only been in Bangalore for a week and a half and I’m already missing home so much.
Though almost everything here seems unfamiliar to me, I actually think that Bangalore and Manila are similar in some ways. For starters, they have metered auto-rickshaws (usually referred to here as “auto”) which reminds me of Philippine tricycles. Unfortunately, being a foreigner, I’ve never actually seen auto-rickshaw drivers use the meter even though we’ve ridden it a couple of times. Rickshaw drivers tend to take advantage of us and do not want to use the meter. Last week, an auto took us from our hotel to Bangalore Central for Rs.40 which was fine. On the way back though, the driver was asking us for Rs.100. We refused at first, saying that it’s too much but he told us that it was because it’s already late. I read from wikitravel that they usually charge more when it’s past 10PM but it was only 9:30PM at the time. Already tired (and a bit scared since it was getting late), we agreed to pay him Rs.90. Two days later, we went to the same place for dinner and on the way back, the driver asked us for Rs.40 only. We also learned to tell them to take us to Lido Mall (which is just right beside our hotel) instead of telling them to take us directly to our hotel so it wouldn’t seem like we have so much money. -_-
There are street-vendors and “sari-sari stores” as well. Street vendors are not as common here as in Manila but there are quite a number of them. I’m reminded of all the food I’m missing (like Banana Q and turon) everytime I see one. Sari-sari stores here are everywhere, with each one catering for your specific needs. They even have sari-sari stores that sell toys.
The traffic and pollution also reminds me of Manila (aside from the cows roaming around the streets sometimes). Though I think traffic is worse in Manila, I also think the way they drive here is worse. Motorcycles, trucks, buses, taxis, cars and auto-rickshaws are honking every five seconds or so. Tailgating is rampant. I don’t think they have a concept of personal space here… I also have never seen a pedestrian lane (atleast one that’s being used) and crossing streets is really scary for me.
Differences? Hmmmm… Lots! Just to name a few I’ve noticed so far:
– The left side of the road is the “right” side. The driver seat is also on the right side.
– You can’t just flag down a taxi anytime anywhere. You need to call them and ask them to pick you up. You can also use your credit card to pay for some taxis.
– Life here starts late. Shops open around 11AM. We get to the office at 10AM and there aren’t a lot of people working yet.
– When entering a mall, the “guard” won’t just use a stick to poke your bag to “inspect” it. They would REALLY check your bag.
– Crows are common here as “maya” birds are common in the Philippines.
– I’ve never seen a stray cat yet. Though stray dogs are quite common, they’re generally bigger in size as compared to our askals.
– I haven’t seen any delivery service here. Not even for McDonalds. (Update: Saw one for Domino’s Pizza)
– You can’t get sim card as easily as we could in Manila. Apparently, we need to go to a cellphone shop or something and we need to present our passport, give a passport ID picture and they need proof of residence. We tried giving them a hotel confirmation as proof of residence and they wouldn’t accept it. Even when we told them that we’ll only be here for two more weeks. -_-
– Some cars don’t have left side mirrors.
– Tourist spots have special (which means higher) rates for foreigners. 😦
Well, that’s it for now…