What We Did on Our Vacation

We went to Bangalore, where the weather is much cooler than it is here, and stayed at the Taj West End hotel. The hotel is beautiful, full of huge trees and plants and birds. I did some sketching and painting in my artless way, the first time I’ve tried it outdoors. Here are a few pictures and random notes:

The hotel has old and new buildings. I love the old, with their red tiled roofs and carpenter's gingerbread trim. This is the original main building of the old hotel

Dec. 24: Muzak in the dining room: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Since the only other foreigners were British and Australian, it appears that the sole target of this song was my wincing self.

On the verandah of the old building

Dec. 26: Spent much of the day looking at disaster news on TV, and anxiously phoning friends in Chennai.

A snatch of conversation at dinner, referring to a prominent local politician: “My friend, who’s a famous shikari (hunter), says that Dharam Singh is bison gone wrong.” (I love that! So Teddy Roosevelt! Now, how to use it in conversation… )

Another old building, containing offices

The view from our verandah (that green isn't right at all! It's more like parrot green. But that's okay, I'm telling myself, because the trees are full of parrots, whose throaty warble is an essential part of this place for me.)

The tree that is seen to the right of the picture above -- a tremendous gul mohur, whose canopy rises far above the part that I have drawn. That person is not intended to be me, but to indicate scale. Everything that I draw leans to the left.

Jan. 3: A friend asked me how I had first reacted, on arriving in India, to the sight of people relieving themselves in public. He was about to conduct some foreign businessmen to several Indian cities, and wondered how he could shield them from this. I said that one adjusts to things. He said, “I went to a fair once in America. You know how they have these portable toilets? I had to use one, but when I opened the door – oof, the stench was terrible! I couldn’t bear it! At least here you can go in the open.”

A bit of the living room of the suite where we stayed, and the window onto the front verandah

One of the lamps that light the pathways. Palms and elephant-ears (which look like that because I have trouble getting the colours to be dark, so I kept putting new washes on top of old, and it got messy... but I forgive myself).

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