I tolerate the Vespa a bit more than a month ago. It’s a nifty tool to visit places that would otherwise be hard to reach. It is easy to tell the driver “Take us to the Bangalore Palace” but it’s more difficult to tell him “Take us to a little village around here that we don’t know about so we can look at people and experience something new”. Whenever we get out of the car with driver, people stare at us. Actually, people stare at us no matter what!
The fun part is not having a destination in mind, to just go wherever we can. The road itself dictates our route, since potholes, dogs, cows, crowds, heaps of garbage in the middle of the street or streets that are too narrow need to be avoided. I climbed on the back, and voom we went. My job is to wave at people and make them wave back, shake their head and smile. E.’s job is to not get into an accident. So far, none of us have failed.
We didn’t go far to find a new village, 4 kilometers exactly. We parked and walked around, until we reached a big street with a bus stop and a small market. That looked too busy for us so we turned around and E. got a much needed haircut in a little bitty gents “saloon” (no, it’s not a typo). It was, according to him, the best haircut ever. I waited patiently, watching a soap opera in Kannada where the villain killed about 4 people and kidnapped a baby. I had read that a haircut in India comes by default with a shave (with a straight blade) and a face massage. E. declined both but some older men were enjoying it quite a bit. We are not sure the young hairdresser understood the concept of a tip. He looked at the 10 rupees extra as if it were a trick. One of the customers, after having a haircut, a shave and massage, stood up lifted his shirt up to his chin to have his armpits shaved, with the same straight blade. We don’t see that back home!
We are becoming braver with street food. I had a “jaam” (it’s a fruit) with chili powder given to me in a store in Hyderabad a couple of days ago, and today we bought a slice of watermelon also with chili powder on it. It is quite good and refreshing. We had parked in front of a fruit stand, so we bought a few bananas from the lady owner for 10 rupees.
Back on the Vespa, we couldn’t exactly retrace our steps so we ended up on Whitefield Main and back to the compound. The security guards think we are hilarious, and more and more people are making fun comments when they see those two white people riding around.
As I write this, E. is working out. Although I suggested he ride his bicycle as a warm up, the one with the pedals you have to move with your leg muscles, he insists on taking the scooter, all the way to the gym, less than a quarter mile away. He says it’s to keep the engine in good condition. I don’t buy that!