Monday, December 17, 2012

The Unexpected Can be The Adventure

On the road to nowhere

Often as a traveler, you stumble onto interesting little mini-adventures when en route to somewhere else. And thus was the case when my friend Jacqueline (who is here in India for a visit) and I decided to go to the Bannerghatta National Park on my motorcycle. We planned on also stopping off at the Bannerghatta Zoo. No problem; I’d set the navigator with the destination and it would talk me there. Well, no....

The first 3/4 of the trip was a straight shot with one road running into the other; it went off without a hitch --  other than navigating the currents of the turbulent sea of motorcycles, scooters, Auto Rickshaws, cars, buses, trucks and the occasional push-cart and meandering cows, which in total they (the locals) look upon as normal traffic
(read more about Bangalore traffic here).
Then, driving along a rural two-lane road-- that served as a road-race track for most of the motorists to see who could pass whom the most, or first
in the congestion of the roadside towns --, the little voice in my ear said “in 100 meters turn left onto whah whah whah” -- I couldn’t understand the name.  

But no matter, because there weren’t many cross roads to choose from -- how many roads could there be in 100 meters?  None! Well, except for a dirt path.  We kept going until it provided another option; but that was into a private community. We pushed on.  The next option my little ear-genie spoke was “In 100 meters turn right onto whah whah whah.” The road looked like it might actually go somewhere, so we followed it.  With each kilometer we traveled the road narrowed until we were on a dirt and stone road (if you can call it that) that seemed almost impassable (see the video below).  


We stopped to consult the map: it showed that the navigator was taking us in a big circle leading us back to the main road we had just gotten off of; really? Couldn't it just say “you missed your turn, make a U-turn?” We turned around despite the navigator instructions.

Back on the main road I was getting insecure even though the genie seemed to know what it was talking about at this point as
we proceeded on the main road.  I pulled to the side and again stopped to reconsult the visual map. Suddenly an Oxen -- or something with horns, anyway -- took chase after a women walking.  Such drama!

When it was over, all the men on the roadside that were watching that unfold, suddenly redirected their attention on
Jacqueline, all standing there, in a row, staring, as if somehow be instructed by a singular consciousness. Weird-ed me out a little; she saw it as a photo op!

A mile farther we veered left off the main road into a village following the Genie’s directions; until we opted to ignore it and continue further into the village to capture photos of some very cool temples. 

Turns out we were only minutes from the National Park, which we found easily from there.  Read the review
of the Safari here. See more photo here.

I caught a cold while driving back --
which I did without the ear-genie, due to a drained battery --; perhaps that is the reason the ride back was absent any drama. I guess next trip we'll use the Navigator again and see where it takes us.

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