The Mysore experience (with kids)

Mysore is amazing. So amazing, that I feel that our month here is slipping under my feet and there’s nothing I can do to stop it from happening.

The city’s the perfect destination for those without kids. There’s so much to do and so much to see, and all it takes is a mind free of the thought of the nearest toilet, and how clean it would be for your kids. Those without such burdens on their minds have so much to choose from – from ayurvedic massages and Indian hair threading, to cosy cafes with heavenly smoothies and long conversations on topics which do not invoke the word ‘kids’ after 5 minutes into a conversation.

Instead of wasting our time with such boring activities, we get our massages from our boys’ feet, and our excitement from places like the zoo, or a travelling amusement park. And there are things to learn in those places, too.

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Like, all zoos are jails. Sad jails for sad animals, like snakes who can’t spread their full body length or birds who’ll never learn what it feels like to soar above the earth. I’m also crazy about primates, and the sight of two chipmps on a small island surrounded by a deep ditch breaks my heart. The ultimate heartbreaker would have been this ‘lone’ creature. I don’t know if she’s still around but I’m glad we didn’t get to see her.

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So I look around and observe the people. There are mostly young people, and also some tourists from other parts of India. What I love about India (and what was very common in southern Africa, too) is the way male friends can be intimate in public without raising eyebrows, like they would do in our super progressive liberal states. And why should they? Friends are friends, and what a better way to show your affection to someone you care about, and enjoy being with.

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There was also a nice group from the Himalayas. Everything about them intrigued me, from the way they were dressed and decorated, to the way they walked and commented on the animals. I would love to visit those parts of the world one day!

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And again, the trees were truly amazing. So amazing, that I think they should turn the zoo into a botanical garden. It would make a much more beautiful and painless place.

DSC_5259DSC_5231DSC_5266It would also save the management the embarrassment of having those funny signs. It would have made much more sense if the guy had fallen from a tree, rather than defeated a tiger, right?

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Next, on our not-at-all-boring Mysore experience was a travelling amusement park – the Dasara exhibition. In my previous post I used the words ‘wicked’ and ‘rollercoaster’ to describe the traffic situation here. Well, I was actually quite close to describing the amusement park situation, too. The rides in this park were wicked, I promise. So wicked that everything was operating to the maximum of its capacities, and people on the usually slow and boring Ferris wheel were actually screaming!

Before we got to the rides, we passed through an exhibition of all sorts of businesses and departments. Like a health section with dead fetuses in jars showing different malformations – from encephalitis to Siamese twins. And a vivid section of what diseases one can catch here, like leprosy, some mosquito bourn pig and goat diseases, to the simple lice, which you pray to get before you have caught something else in the first place. There was also a bottle-shaped space showing the dangers of drinking,

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a robot astrologer,

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lots of (spicy, I’m sure) food,

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and all sorts of merchandize which everyone tried to sell to us 5 times its original price.

DSC_5311The crafts section was a bit too scanty,

DSC_5347with these tribal textile appliques from Orissa being probably the most interesting item here.

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By the end of the exhibition part, the boys were really bored and anxious to get on the rides. The speed of the screaming Ferris wheel put their enthusiasm down a bit, and we spent most of the evening on what would normally be baby rides, had they not been flying with the speed of light.

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The women selling tickets for the rides were all sitting in funny small cages, as if for their own protection from what might stray off its course and land on top of them.

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Weird or not, the boys liked it, and wanted to go baaaaaack, which is not exactly on our plans any time soon, but, then, who are we to say ‘no’ to those hopeful eyes.

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