This will probably be a few quick posts; dinner is served soon, and due to sporadic electricity, time at the internet cafe is precious. I'm also still not able to upload photos regularly. Be in Mumbai in 4-5 days, and hopefully things will be a little more reliable there.
So... two days ago we left the Sera Jey Monastery. We spent the day in Mysore, a few hours away. I wanted to get to the spice market, which is supposed to be fabulous, but 3 people had 3 sets of directions, so it didn't happen.
However, we did make it to the Maharaja's palace. It's a vast, rambling structure built in Indo-saracenic style - a fusion of Hindu, Islamic, and Victorian elements; the architecture of the British Raj. Bombastic, ostentatious, magnificent.
At this point, our group split up. Most headed back to Boston, Wendy and I headed off on our trek into India. We had an overnight train from Mysore to Hubli. It was a very cool experience. $25 bought us clean berths in an air-conditioned sleeper car. I don't sleep well while traveling. Fortunately, I struck up a conversation with a very friendly guy; we ended up talking for a good 4 hours.
At Hubli, I had my first real feeling that I was in India. It was not even dawn yeat, and the train station was a madhouse blend of sights, sounds, smells, and people. Robed monks, women in improbably vibrant saris, Muslim men in white, from head to toe. As we waited on the station steps for our contact, the Muezzin at the nearby mosque called out the first prayer of the day.