Forced for financial reasons to rest awhile, to gently explore and cheaply live, Mysore is a good place to be. Everywhere is within walking distance, though the crowds preclude a straight path anywhere: the Maharajah’s Palace, Cauvey Handicrafts Emporium, the very colourful market. This is familiar, possibly India’s counterpart to Brixton with its friendly exchanges, exotic fruits and matter of fact meat section. Plus the contrast between plate-glassed window displays and the many street vendors.
The proof that there is an affluence here is in the many opportunities to eat; meals at definite times, lunch and evening; the odd banana – two big ones a rupee, or an apple, orange, or those fruits that don’t export so well such as papaya, gauva and custard apple; tiffins or dosas and many snacks I haven’t yet deciphered the ingredients or name of; excellent coffee – sugar separate in a wide variety of places; evening stalls in the main perambulation selling mini puries stuffed with potato or steamed chick peas; and my favourites – the bakers with buns, biscuits, cream cakes, and fruit cake too, which I have yet to sample.
And I’m not forgetting the ice cream parlours, the expresso coffee in the Punjabi restaurant – “the only one in town”, and the sugar lump sweets variously coloured and flavoured that give the reason for the long queues outside the many dentists.
And finally to be recommended and revisited are the three cold drink open-to-the-street parlours opposite the central bus station which dispense cordials of lime, lemon, pineapple, ginger and, what a treat, sarsaparilla, with the refrigerated fruit salad and ice cream a special treat.