Friday, January 26, 2007

Jeff and Mike

We had a great week last week with our friends Jeff and Mike. They work with Tracy at Target and we were able to drag them away from the long hours and tedious work schedule to tour Bangalore and the surrounding county side for fun in the sun.

Jeff is Billy's Godfather and travelled to Korea with us when we met Jimmy. Jeff and his wife Karen met their son Hayden at the same time. Mike is a hunting friend of Tom and Jeff's.
These are the 1st friends we've had visit and I was so excited. While we are making friends here, there is something totally different about sitting down with a really good friend and talking about anything and everything.

I took them into town to show them a few sites and to let them buy some souvenirs and gifts for back home. We went to commercial street which has many unique to India items and we managed to acquire a few treasures.

Jeff and Mike both expressed interest to go the now infamous "Wet Pets" store to see where we bought our Thanksgiving turkey. We however never made it. This section of town is highly populated with Muslims and it turns out there was an altercation between some Foreigners and the local Muslims in regards to the recent death of Saddam and those who worked for him. The altercation caused such a stir that all the local businessmen were upset and closed their stores and threaten to revolt so we were told to leave the area!!

On a side note this riot turned into a full blown incident with the burning of buses people being killed and the city having to close schools and invoke a curfew for two days!!

That night we had a fabulous dinner from our cook and retired early for our outing the next day.

We left the kids home and headed off to a place called Shivaganga billed in the tourist book "as a flight of 350 steps leads the way to the top passing several mysterious cave temples and a natural spring. The climb although steep is not strenuous thanks to a handrail and frequent beverage stops and should take one hour". Never believe the guide books!! I also think we can honestly say that NO Targeteer has made this a tourist destination on their work travels to India. We were going where no Targeteer had gone before....

We began our ascent with a spring in our step and a helpful attitude. The first stop was at Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, which was closed for prayer, really. We continued on our decent to the next spot which was the Honnadevi which was very cool. At this point we seemed to be running out of water but how hard are 350 steps and by the way where are these steps?

We passed many people taking naps and resting along the way but we were on a tight schedule as we had a trip to the spa and dinner plans.
Higher we climbed and our rest stops became more frequent and the helpful attitude stared to wain, do we really need to go all the way to the top? It appears to be twice as far as we have already travelled? Higher we climbed and started to notice that there was no one else on the trail and we wondered why. Cold water sounded great but we had none,higher we climbed. Where did the path go? Saravanna asked those people where we are and how much further? 30 more minutes lets go around the next bend and then decide. Where are we which way do we go, where are we going and why, I will be pissed if I break an ankle!

Higher we climbed and then through a mess of low hanging plants and finally we were there, the 350 steps loomed in front of us like some cruel twisted form of humor.

We took inventory. No water, no food and no desire to climb on.The top of this mountain awaits for another time as we bid the mountain good day we began our decent. The entire journey took four hours and all of our helpful attitude.

We made the spa appointment and our dinner as well. We dined at The Blue Ginger which is a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant and then sadly we had to take Mike and Jeff to the airport for their trip home. It seems slightly unfair that after the climb they would have to set in an airplane for 19 hours, hopefully they did not cramp up!!

It was great fun to see them , the kids loved the presents and attention they received. Having them was nice however saying good bye was hard.

Every morning for the next few days the kids kept asking, where's Mike, where' Jeff? Home ... Home....