Friday, May 16, 2008

Greetings from Bangalore, Part II

So let us please return to our regular scheduled report on Bangalore, after our short break in which we announced our FREE DOWNLOAD, a short comic story that I created after a visit to Beckenham, Kent, England, titled, The Wolfman of Beckenham, Kent.

We left off with me singing the praises of the Dosa, a thin crispy crepe-like treat that originated in South India. I also mentioned that things are changing in Bangalore... upscale shops, higher prices, more traffic and pollution, and now I hear of high-rise luxury apartments. "Sheesh", you say, "you sure are selling the place!" Well, just hold on, please. First off, I do try to tell it like it is, because travel comes with enough surprises. Second, I DO recommend the place as a primo place to visit, and I will try to convince you of that.

One benefit to the recent boom in Bangalore is more flights, and more direct flights. Once upon a time it could take 24 hours to fly there from New Jersey, with multiple stops, including a layover in Bombay (Mumbai) which could go on for hours. A nightmare... trust me. You're first view of India shouldn't be meeting the mosquitos at 4 in the morning with 90 percent humidity and 85 degree temps, and being hassled by hucksters trying to convince you to rest at their nearby hotel until your plane arrives.

So now you can arrive in Bangalore after only 18 hours, and hopefully no stops. From there, I suggest if you are not travelling with friends, or a tour group, you hire a car. Hopefully you did this ahead of time, but still, a car and driver helps. And stay in a decent hotel. In my experience, even when the dollar went far in India, a 4 or 5 star hotel was still expensive. What you get for your money, however, is fab; Outstanding service, and a place of comfort to retreat to when jet lag or culture shock sets in. I've already covered this in my book, 3 Knights in India, so let's continue.

Kannada is the language of Bangalore, although you'll hear many a native complain that the languae is falling out of favor with the influx of so many others moving in. Hindi is still spoken by everyone, and many speak English, or try to at least. At the hotels and bigger shops you will not have a problem. At smaller shops and out if the way places you'll have to take it slow and be sure that you and the proprietor understand each other.

Now, I'm sure to get a lot of flack for the next photo, but most people laugh when they see it, and it does give one an idea of the language gap, and the importance of understanding what you are saying. And remember, mistakes go both ways. :0)

It seems I have a lot more to say, so let's continue with Part 3 at a later date.

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Beckenham, Kent, UK

We interrupt our current feature on Bangalore, India, to bring you the latest news from HappyGlyphs Comics: a new FREE comic called The Wolfman of Beckenham, Kent!

I've had the pleasure to stay a few times in Beckenham, and used to walk past a cute little bed and breakfast on Coper's Cope Road, up from the train station. Unfortunately, I belive the neat little place full of nooks and crannies, and plaster walls, and old paintings of English Hunting Scenes is to be gutted and turned into condominiums. This saddened me, so I wanted to pay tribute to the place. At first I wanted to do a painting, and so took some nice pictured of the place. However, since I'm a Cartoonist by nature, I began to create an occupant of the place... a strange occupant.

The Wolfman of Beckenham, Kent is his story, and the story is my tribute to the Goodwood Private Hotel, and all of the other lovely places like it that are losing their charm so that they can become part of the modern world.

Here is the cover of the story, and here is the link to the story. It's FREE, so please check it out. While you're there, check out our other fine offerings, including a fine poster print of the cover to The Wolfman of Beckenhem, Kent, complete with blue MINI cooper. :0)

Cheers, JOHN :0)