1.) Vegetarian restaurants: While I’m not of the vegetarian persuasion, my wife is. This can make finding a mutually acceptable restaurant a pain. However, it’s vastly easier to pick a restaurant in India. Except for the very rare American-style steak house, she can eat anywhere and the menu will be at least half vegetarian.
In Atlanta, I’d estimate that she could eat healthily and well in about one in five restaurants. American Southern cooking doesn’t offer one a side of green beans without a ham bone in it. I’d say we’ve cut our restaurant selection time to about a quarter of the time it took in the US.
2.) Cheap books: While English is secondary to Kannada as the spoken language here, it’s not second in the bookstores by any means. Bookstores are common and offer some new options. I’ve spent a lot of time in bookstores, so I usually don’t see a lot that’s new, but there are books printed by Indian publishers here that don’t usually appear on the shelves of Barnes & Noble.
And, unlike in Cambodia where books are cheap by means of photocopying, the books here aren’t cheap by virtue of stiffing the writer.
3.) Amazon: On a related note, I can still buy Kindle books just as easily as I did in the states. There are some websites that don’t work here, such as Hulu and Netflix, but Amazon operates just fine.
4.) Walk-centric life: Bangalore is not an easy city to walk in because the traffic is horrendous, there is no system for traffic lights, and sidewalks are about as dangerous as walking in the street. (If your eye isn’t constantly on the sidewalk, you might just plunge into a sewer.) However, being in the heart of the city, there’s nothing I need that I can’t get via a short walk.
5.) Servants: I haven’t mowed lawn, swept a walk, done laundry, or washed a dish since I left the US, and yet it’s always done. After a brief period of feeling awkward, it’s beginning to grow on me. The hardest part will be going home, once I’ve become accustomed to a certain level of service.
6.) Climate: There’s been a pleasant breeze coming through my window pretty much all day. I haven’t had to use the AC since we’ve been here. And it’s starting to not rain every night. Of course, this one is not so much about India as Bangalore specifically. On the whole, India’s climate is not so pretty.
7.) Loan words: I suspect it’s harder for the locals to talk about foreigners behind their backs here than most countries because there are so many English loan words. They’ll be a couple of locals talking in Kannada, and you’ll here: “Waa-wah-waa-wah-waa-wah-super convenient-waa-wah-waa.” So it’s like having a rudimentary grasp of a language, you can kind of get a feel for the general drift of what is being talked about-even if you don’t know any specifics. At least this makes bad-mouthing foreigners a mental exercise.