Saturday, May 31, 2008

My friend Cara (aka Satya Cacananda) has an awesome blog entitled No Sleep Til Mysore - which I am reminded of at this moment as I sit at my computer at 3am this Sunday morning feeling like there is "No Sleep in Mysore!" Not sure if it is because perhaps I'm still getting over jet lag (a good possibility), if it is because I slept away most of Friday, or I'm just stoked about feeling better...Whatever the reason I am WIDE AWAKE and I figured now would be a great time to fill ya in on some more of 'here's the scoop' ;)

So, HERE'S THE SCOOP: Ethan this goes out to you man - "So someone comes up to and they are like hey, you know about Lululemon? - This is what you say: OF COURSE I know about Lululemon, the most amazing yoga inspired athletic apparel company in the world, which is growing exponentially each and every year in America, Asia, and Canada!"
I really don't have to go into all the details of Lululemon here because it seems that EVERYONE knows all about Lululemon - it is represented here in Mysore more than any other clothing in the World! Yes ma'am, that is correct - one in 6 yogini's are practicing in this amazing, stylish, comfortable, functional, breathable, super rockin yoga wear!

As many of you know, and if you don't - well here's another scoop, Lululemon is opening a showroom right in Orlando, Florida (specifically in Winter Park right on Park Avenue baby - :) The grand opening will be Saturday, June 14 - for all the details check out Orlando Showroom's Web page ;)

My friend and fellow yogini Debra, rockin fitness trainer Shellene, and I have been honored to represent Lululemon as their first Ambassadors in Orlando! We did a photo shoot with the talented photographer Ms. Abbigail Petersen at Lake Eola about a week before I headed to Mysore. I've got a sneak peek for you all to enjoy - more amazing photos are on their way ;)

The Gorgeous Debra Corso

Debra Corso

The Orlando Lululemon Crew

Team Lulu - these ladies ROCK my World :)

That'd be me...

Me on zee pagoda (don't know why but I love that word - Pa..go..da..)

The lovely Lewis Rothlein

Ms. Shellene

If you are in Orlando you must stop by the Grand Opening "get it in" event - enjoy a day of pampering, eating, and shopping - all thanks to the amazing Katie Green and Jaime Roosa (these two ladies have been working EXTREMELY hard to get the Lululemon showroom ready, prepare for the opening, select ambassadors, manage the photo shoot, and SOOOOO much more) - thanks ladies!

Ok, so yesterday totally sucked!!!! I was stuck in my flat, in and out of consciousness, living between my bed and toilet for 22 hours. I felt so achy and yucky and crampy, and well you get the picture I'm sure. Some people, like Kwang, have stomachs of steel! I wish I was as lucky. No kidding though Kwang can eat from street vendors here in India and not get sick, but me, oh if I breath too deeply I have a parasite....I'm hoping that I'm building up an immunity to it so by the year 2020 I'll be invincible ;) "keep dreamin right!" Whatever, it could be worse as I feel a thousand times better today. Whatever is in me is still working its way through, but not so intrusively as yesterday.

And since I was feeling so much better, I kept my plans with Mona to get out and about in the city - which was a really good thing because being soooo couped up in my flat for the whole day yesterday really bummed me out - needed some sunshine and air. We went to Rashinkars and spent quite some time there. Both Mona and I are having a bedspread made (one of the parcels I sent home last year never made it to me - and that particular parcel had the bedspread I made that totally rocked my world :( sucks right). It was also really nice to sit and chat with Rakhee for a while.

Hungry and thirsty we headed back toward Gokulam to this little Chinese restaurant on Kalidasa road. I had not eaten all day for fear of it running right through me, but seeing as it was about 4:30pm I needed to put something in zee tummy so we shared a meal and I actually kept it down :) On our way home we stopped off at Tina's new restaurant - she still serves breakfast from her home Monday-Saturday, but now she also serves lunch and dinner from her spot right off the main road in Gokulam (I'll be taking pictures of it on Tuesday)...Needing a little pickmeup, we grabbed a coffee, stopped at the market, and then home. Was a nice productive and enjoyable day. Mona rocks - really glad I met her - but shes only here for a month ;( All good though b/c she lives in Hawaii so now I must put a return visit to Hawaii on my agenda in the near future (heck any excuse is good to get out there - but having a friend to visit rocks!)

As my dear friend Debra would say, "I need to take my ASANA to bed" - ha ha get it :) There is only one led class tomorrow morning so I have to be at the shala by 4:45am shala time (aka 4:30am real time). So tata for now!
Get ready to laugh out loud :) My friend Travis sent this to me and it was too good to keep to myself.

Here's The Scoop on
The Man Rules
Please note.. these are all numbered '1 ' ON PURPOSE!
1. Men are NOT mind readers.(FIRST & FOREMOST RULE)
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports - It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
1. You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials...
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really!
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as Football or Hockey.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lots of familiar faces here in Mysore this year ;) Three fellow yogi's from Paul's 2004 teacher training are here with me in Mysore, and it looks like we will all be here til the end of August! I'm so stoked ;) Some other yogi's I've known in Mysore the last three years are arriving as well - its really nice to come back each year and reconnect with friends from all over the world.

My friend Ethan does an awesome online news broadcast called Open Sermo. If you actually want to start enjoying your news, you should really check it out! One of his weekly editions is called "What Should You Know!" - for instance check out WSYK #15 about how to save money on gas. He rocks, he's funny, and well let's be honest, really entertaining. Keep rockin it Ethan!

I bring him up at this moment in time because I want to give him props for keeping me in the know - I would be oblivious to current events without him! I'm also bringing him up b/c I'm going to start a little "Here's the Scoop" section for the blog and Ethan's work was my inspiration - thus he deserves double props this Friday morning (thats rigth Ethan, go ahead with your bad self : )

So, Here's the Scoop:

- Practice was terrific today, extremely challenging, but terrific! Sharath was certainly enjoying leading the class, and he got a kick out of keeping us in Navasana, Sirsasana, and Uth Plutith FOREVER! I thought my shoulders were gonna fall right off my frame after headstand, and just didn't have enough in me to keep my lift in Uth Plutith for the 3 plus minutes he had us up.

- It seems that I've been blessed with Dehli Belly. I'm quite surprised by this fact because I have only been in India a few short days - and while that doesn't matter much I usually get sick later in my trip. For those of you back home going, "What the heck is Delhi Belly?" I'll spare you the explicit details, but lets just say I don't have to worry about constipation! Nough Said... Luckily it didn't hit me til after practice. Hope it passes quickly - sucks being in this state of affairs anywhere but especially here where clean toliets are few and far between. Thus I can't really go anywhere or do anything til this passes as, for obvious reasons, I need to stay close to a toliet (don't you just love my blog ;)

Thats the scoop for now!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today started out much the same as yesterday - WAY too early – I woke up at 2:30am and couldn’t, for the life of me, fall back asleep! My body seemed annoyed with me: “Why the heck are you trying to sleep in the middle of the afternoon, Krista?” Ugh….
a 9 ½ hour time difference really confuses zee poor body…I tried and tried to force myself to wonder back off to never never land, but that never ever happened.

Two interesting items I noticed this morning in the 3 ½ hours I had to spare before practice that are worth honorable mention:
1) Drying your laundry inside your flat underneath your ceiling fan happens to be the very best way to dry laundry here b/c when drying on clothes lines outside it always seems to rain, and if it doesn’t the wind will blow away your most favorite underwear!
2) When in India you have odd cravings for foods that you would turn down back home (at least I do!) I find myself CRAVING cashews when I’m here in India, but don’t even think about them back home – weird right? I do the same with curd – and yes I know we can’t get curd in America (at least not where I live) but it is very much like yogurt – and I don’t ever really eat yogurt back home - but here, OMG get me curd or I will cry!

This morning’s music selection on the way to the shala was my beloved John Mayer! Yes, I do love this man’s voice :) As I sat down to wait my turn for a spot in the shala I saw Sharath dropping someone back in backbends and had to smile – I am so blessed to be doing that which makes me happiest – studying at ARYI with my teachers. Speaking of teachers, “I wonder when Saraswati and Guruji will be returning from Florida,” I thought to myself. Not even thirty seconds later I heard, “One More!” and it wasn’t Sharath’s voice! [Sigh] I smiled from ear to ear when I heard Saraswati’s voice – I heart that woman! “Yippee, Saraswati and Guruji made it safely back to Mysore!”

I had an uber yummy practice today – always a wonderful way to start any day! Today’s practice was particularly awesome because 1) I’m in India studying with my teachers (as if that isn’t enough), 2) my sub par thin pvc mat was far more obliging in the non-slip department than it had been yesterday!, 3) my focus and breath were extraordinarily deep today 4) my body felt awesome and seemed to just glide into and out of each asana with such ease. Simply wonderful!

After practice I walked to Tina’s for breakfast with my new found friend from Hawaii. We share a common denominator; we both arrived to Bangalore without baggage! But her story I find even more bizarre than mine. She started her trip here from San Francisco and flew to LA before making way to London and then Bangalore. It was during her hour flight from San Fran to LA that her luggage was lost on Southwest Air. Apparently they miss tagged her bags (and get this, they don’t know how they have tagged them), and those bags are out there someplace in missing luggage land. I can’t help but feel for her because who knows how long, if ever, it will take to find her luggage. At least mine is tagged properly and will eventually get to me here in Mysore. And what is worse for her – she is only here a month, so it will be pretty pointless if her bags arrive in 21 days.

Mona and I arrived at Tina’s for some grub (and if you know me than you know I was STARVING!) When I arrived I gave Tina a giant hug – she smiled and told me Jake had told her I was coming soon. We chatted for a moment – she has recently opened her new restaurant on the main road in gokulam where she and her family serve lunch and dinner – they are open 1pm till 10pm. How exciting! We made plans to meet up tomorrow at 1:30pm so I can update her page on zee website to include this new restaurant, and newer information on her breakfast nook. Early next week I’ll get up to her new spot and get some pictures for the site too.

I had my usual fare at Tina’s this morning: half fruit salad, oatmeal, and four egg whites – yummy! It was a darn good thing I got a nice hearty breakfast today too because once Mona and I left Tina’s it was full speed ahead baby! Why? - So happy you asked me that very question :) during breakfast I got a most glorious text message from Ganesh letting me know that my luggage arrived in this morning’s flight from London to Bangalore and it was set to arrive in Mysore by evening. Am I the luckiest person in the world or what (I know some of you may be thinking, “No silly, if you were lucky you’d have gotten to Mysore with your luggage in tow, duh!” but I certainly feel really lucky today so get off it ;)

Mona and I made way to Anus so I could personally speak to Ganesh, and so we could both surf the web for a bit. Then I was off to my dentist appointment in KD road (same guy I see every year – he’s pretty cool for a dentist ;) He cleaned my teeth and splashed my face, and spoke to his attendant in a foreign language as I sat in that horrid dentist chair with my eyes closed and my mouth opened. Now, this is truly one of those priceless moments than many people would never in their lives wish you have – but you truly don’t know what you’re missing guys.

I happily skipped my way (ok not literally) to Girish’s rickshaw – he was waiting for me up the street so we could go back to my flat and wait for the internet techs to come give me cyber freedom in the privacy of my own flat!!!!! Oh yeah baby, and guess what else? I’m going wireless - that’s right, weather I’m at the table, on the bed, or on the toilet, I can email or Skype you people ;) Now as is ALWAYS the case, our initial appointment of 12:30pm turned out to be pushed back a bit….by oh about an hour. As I know this is the way of life here now it doesn’t phase me in the slightest these days. But it forced me to call Mona and push back our exploration of the city “aka SHOPPING” back a bit. Once the techs did arrive they spoke to Girish in Kannada so fast I couldn’t have gotten a word from that conversation even if I did know fluent Kannada! They were in and out pretty quickly, but my internet was not yet a go – it seems some Other tech people must come this afternoon to configure the system or something as these guys were only here to do wiring ?$%@^*#^@%!? Whatever!

Mona and I made way to the city so I could take her to Rashinkar’s to get some ready made clothes (that is exactly what they call clothing here – those that are, well, ‘ready made’ – oh the little things people, the little things bring me such joy!) We were there for nearly two hours, and I was so proud of myself I could cry! I didn’t touch more than one piece of material for my own selfish desires – instead I sat upstairs in the yucky ready made section of the shop right next to Mona as she tried on outfit after outfit. Now I will admit it was KILLING me to stand upstairs when I knew all that raw material was sitting downstairs waiting for me to come make something from it – but I did good, yes I did!

As 3:30pm quickly approached we headed back to Gokulam – I headed home to wait on the other set of internet techs to come make me cyber able. They were in and out pretty quickly – I am now officially wireless! FINALLY, a call from Ganesh letting me know my luggage had arrived at his house – so Girish and I went over to snag it! Thank goodness for Girish and his friend (dunno his name but appreciate him very much) – they lugged those two heavy bags from Ganesh’s to the rickshaw, and from the rickshaw up the stairs to my flat. I am pretty strong and like physical work but I did not, DID NOT, wish to carry those bags anyplace.

I thanked Girish and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening unpacking my bags. Happy to report that very little is missing from the bag – nothing important or valuable anyway – but the thing that really irked me was that one of my bags, and all its contents were soaked through and through – and Shiva only knows what the wetness is! This mystery liquid ruined my books (damnit!!!!), and everything else in the bag except for the clothes I’d packed in there because I had put them in an extra extra large plastic baggie (the ones that suck out all the air and compress the clothing to a really wee little size). I’m gonna wash all that I can from the bag in the hopes I can get some stuff clean, gonna replace the books, and hope for the best. I’m just happy to now be here in Mysore with my luggage – such a nice feeling knowing I don’t have to deal with the UNECCESSARY drama of fighting with British Airways daily for the next few weeks.

As you can see today has been a most wonderful day – one of those days that really makes me realize how special EACH and EVERY Day is. I for one am utterly exhausted and am now off to bed – sweet dreams my friends

Om Shanti

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Perhaps jet lag, perhaps being in a new flat, perhaps anticipation of my first practice back at the shala, perhaps fearing I would wake up late, or perhaps my grumbling tummy – whatever the cause I could not sleep through the night. I woke for the first time at 2:15am and felt so wide awake I could’ve run a marathon. I convinced myself it was a really good idea to TrY and go back to sleep. But it was virtually pointless. I was in and out of consciousness from 2:30am til about 4am when I had had enough! I threw the covers off of me and got out of bed. I turned on the geyser to heat the water for my shower, I did some dishes that had been stored for the last six months, drank some water, took a long long long (well for India long) shower. And then it was 4:45am. I had a really nice sit and tried to quiet my mind – but today was a bit of a challenge – I was really looking forward to my first practice back at the shala – I was looking forward to my practice in general – haven’t been on the mat since Sunday morning before getting on the first of several planes.

I thoroughly enjoyed my ten minute walk to the shala listening to my iPod. And I’ll even admit that “I’m A Dork!” Why? Because I was jamming to David Cook all the way there – Kwang gets a kick out of the fact that I am a huge fan – but who isn’t? And if you aren’t I really don’t wanna know! I thought I had downloaded all the songs but somehow my absolute favorite did not seem to be on my purchased list ;(

I arrived at the shala about 5:50am – I have the problem of always being early to everything, which I think is far better than the alternative. However, given that my entire family and my dear boyfriend are always very late to things, I am sometimes the creator of my own misery ;) And in India the same holds true for most things – as time is more or less irrelevant in this culture it seems. BUT, the shala is one of the few exceptions – here you arrive on time or Sharath will take notice that you are late. I love it – my kind of peps!

I didn’t have to wait long at all before getting a spot in the shala – in the far end of the room, where I most enjoyed practicing in 2006. To be honest, these days I don’t give a hoot where I practice, every spot is a perfect spot to me. I laid down my thin little orange pvc mat and put away my things in the ladies locker room. Then I came out onto my mat, said my opening prayer, and off I went into the land of sun salutations. My new sub par yoga mat was such a slippery little sucker I nearly ate it a few times during my standing postures. But aside from that wee little issue my practice was rockin. I got so deep into my breath, my bandhas, those moments as they were coming and as they were going – simply put, “it was magically delicious!”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It’s half past five am in India and I’ve just left the new Bangalore airport (which is amazingly beautiful by the way) heading to Mysore. I’d really like to capture the humor of this trip in its entirety so I suppose I’ll start from the beginning. However, before I do begin my 2008 travels in India blog, let me just say that I am so very happy to be in India right now! Ah, as the customs forms always proclaim, “Incredible India!” And incredible indeed – there is something magically simple, primitively beautiful, serenely loud about this place….words do no justice to the calm anxiety…the ordered chaos….does it sound as though I am contradicting myself? Right on – welcome to India :0

Let us start at the Orlando International Airport…Kwang drove me as he always does J and dropped me off to stand in line as he parked the car. Since I had two extremely heavy pieces of luggage and my backpack, I asked him to bring my other carry on in with him when he parked the car. He told me I should take it now as he’d probably forget, to which I replied that would be impossible – “just grab the damn bag babe!” Also reminded him to grab the plastic bag we brought with us, as I knew somewhere deep down in my bandhas that my bags would be a tad too heavy. You can call it instinct if you wish, but I call it seasoned experience ;) Never fails that my bags are overweight, but when packing for three months I find it quite difficult to pack light.

For the first time in my life, I only waited about 25 minutes in the international departure line for check in – seeing as we are home to Mickey Mouse, it nearly always takes an hour or more to find out my bags are too heavy. Kwang walked up with a precious smile on his face (oh how I’ll miss that smile) – and my jaw dropped – I was dumbfounded! “Kwang, my other bag!!!!!” His cute little smile turned to a “Oh Shit” face (you know that face), and he quickly turned back around and headed back to the car for my other carry on, oh the one with my computer and camera and brand new neck pillow ;) Once he returned for the second time, he had my bag (thank goodness) and he even remembered the plastic bag (which I was certain he’d forget). Was a good thing too b/c my bags were overweight, not by too much this time though (yeah me, one day I’ll have this down to an exact science). Kwang was happy to take the protein bars I had to discard to “make weight” – (like a fighter preparing for a fight in the UFC). I only had to shed about 6 pounds this year, not too shabby I must admit. But that wasn’t without a little rearranging of the two bags of course, as one was under weight and one quite a bit over. That done Kwang asked if he could have a security pass to go to the gate and wait with me – I gave her puppy dog eyes and he explained we’d be apart for the next three months – as if for the first time ever! She bought it ;) We’ve always had to say goodbye before security before, but Kwang recently took his grandfather to the airport and they let him through security with his grandfather b/c he didn’t speak English. Kwang didn’t know if we would be able to swing it today, for obvious reasons, but we did and that made me uber happy!

I’ll go ahead and tell you that this year’s flight resembles that of last year, but with even more fun twists and turns. I was supposed to fly Orlando to Miami, Miami to London, and London to Bangalore. As it neared 5:30pm, when the plane was to begin boarding, it became shockingly obvious that something was wrong. As it turned out there were mechanical problems with the plane that was to take us to Miami, so that flight was cancelled. People were rebooked and moved around like nothing I’d ever seen. Dealing with people by city, I was rudely told to sit down as they were dealing with South America connections first and would call me when they got to London! Around 6:15pm they called for London connections and re-routed me – I was now going to fly to Orlando to Chicago, Chicago to London, and London to Bangalore. Flight was to depart at 7:05pm. All is good, but what about my luggage? I asked the attendant how they were going to get my luggage from the Miami bound plane now headed to the pasture, to my new Chicago bound plane? Here I’d like to say a prayer for the airline attendant who dealt with the Miami flight issues. This woman must be a very unhappy soul, for she was nothing short of wretched! She informed me that I may or may not arrive at my final destination with my luggage (I think she cast a spell on me). Apparently her supervisor was attending to everyone’s luggage issues but there was no guarantee I would meet my luggage in India. Unhappy with that answer I went to the gate of my Chicago bound flight and spoke to a lovely gentleman about my concern. He made a phone call or two and said that, USUALLY, when a flight is canceled the luggage is taken to some special place and re-checked for the newly scheduled flight. BUT, given that my Chicago flight was boarding in minutes, someone on the other end of that phone told him that my luggage was being brought over. I smiled and thanked him!

All this time Kwang waited there with me – calm, cool, and collected. We spent our last 25 minutes together kissing and hugging and laughing like that disgusting new couple you see sometimes. Ah, I really savor these times when we can play the part of the disgusting new couple…it isn’t that often. As I waited in line to board the plane I kept looking back at Kwang standing there – I didn’t want him to leave – and he didn’t until after I had boarded. I don’t cry when we say goodbye anymore like I used to, but I do always get mushy.

Of course we were about thirty minutes late leaving the runway, but I didn’t mind as I was hoping it was due to them making sure everyone’s bags were on the plane. The 2 ½ hour flight was a piece of cake! I began cross stitching a pattern I picked up at Michaels on Saturday (plan to do some or a lot of cross stitching this year – haven’t picked up a needle in eons!) As we prepared to land I warned the sweet lady and her son next to me that I HATE landings!!! Done em a billion times now but it never gets easier for me….Weird right? Anyway, I thought it was so extremely AWESOME that she just started asking me a thousand questions to keep me occupied while we landed – and it worked!!!

Me and a few other transient Miami, now Chicago to London, passengers literally ran to Terminal K for our London connection. Only to….wait….Even there I asked the attendant if there was enough time to get my bags on this plane to London from the Chicago flight. He smiled real big and told me not to worry one bit as it only takes fifteen minutes to transfer baggage. [Insert sigh of relief here] Plane was supposed to depart at 9:50pm Chicago time, but we were a good hour later than that. About thirty minutes before takeoff the pilot came on the intercom to inform us that the delay was due to baggage troubles – he said they first realized the problem when the weight of the plane was so much less than it should be ?$#?@$!%?%%??? Apparently a luggage belt had broken somewhere and dumped a whole lot of luggage someplace, which disrupted the peaceful transfer of baggage from point A to point B…..Have no clue….I honestly thought nothing of it as the attendant at the gate told ME MY luggage would make it on the plane! And besides, one can’t possibly lose their luggage two years in a row going to the same location, can one? I was utterly impressed by my ability to fall asleep on my way to London – not that I slept the whole time or even well, but that I slept at all was amazing! I’d wake here and there and do a bit of stitching, perhaps some eating, a potty break, and then back to la la land….this trend continued the duration of my flight – which seems to be getting easier and easier each year ;)

We landed in London about 12pm – only thirty minutes behind schedule. I quickly moved from plane to bus, to building to bus, to security. During my bus ride to terminal four I met a gentleman from New York who travels to Asia about once per month. We had a lovely conversation all the way to the security entrance, when all of a sudden all sound ceased, and we were overtaken by a most horrendous odor!! Oh my god words don’t exit to describe the foul and pungent stench coming from terminal four security area. At first it went from worse to worst….then we moved to an area where it appeared people emptied their perfume and cologne bottles for the savoir of us all! Soon enough we came upon the cause of this nauseating smell – there were three puddles of brown liquid stuff on the floor – I know what it was but I could not understand how they got there?$@%@?? This is terminal four security area in the London Heathrow airport for crying out loud, not the streets of India!

Once I made it past security I actually had about twenty minutes to spare before boarding my flight to Bangalore! I was very thirsty so I stopped to grab some water. $3.00 for a tiny 12 oz bottle of water – man it sucks coming to London seeing your dollar so disrespected….

Now every single time I get on an International BA flight I always make a promise to myself to travel with them first class once in my lifetime! Why? Well I don’t know about all other airlines, but BA has teeny tiny economy class (which is me), world traveler business class (a wee step up from economy), first class (I’m sure of some other name like premier business world traveler deluxe), and then there is the mama of them all, which I’d like to refer to as Ultra Mack Daddy World Traveler supreme First class (for people with way too much money- come on and share the love fellas). The class below this one is uber nice with the lay back seats and tons of room – these people even get their own water bottles, really nice blankets and pillows, great food, the works. MAN, what do the Ultra Mack Daddy World Traveler Supreme First Class Passengers get? I know that their seats are even nicer than the first class – which I though was impossible. And you only get an ity bity little peak at their seats as you are deplaning the aircraft – and the flight attendants make sure to stand in the way of a decent view anyhow. For those of you who know me well, I am not a person of worldly possessions, not in the slightest sense….I’d take an experience over an object any day – nor do I care to be the richest person in the world or even close. BUT before I die I’d like to take a long ass flight to India as an Ultra Mack Daddy World Traveler Supreme First Class passenger! Nough Said!

Did I mention that the economy seats have shrunk? While they probably haven’t, I could have sworn they had as I sat in one of them during my flight from London to India – man was it cramped – and while I luckily had an aisle seat (that goodness for that option when booking online) – the man sitting next to me took up his seat and my whole armrest – poo on him! I have no shame though – I very quickly asked that he mind his elbow and not touch me with it! He didn’t like that so much – but he also made sure not to invade my 2 inch seat space any longer ;) Realizing this ten hour flight was gonna be rough, I pulled out my handy sleep aid (picked it up at Wally World – made by Tylenol it’s an over the counter sleep aid). I have never ever taken anything to help me sleep before, but I wanted one this year because I have the worst trouble sleeping on planes. THE WORST. So I took it and very quickly dozed off for about an hour. Woke up for close to two – long enough to get annoyed by my neighbor, do a bit of reading, cross stitching, and eating….then back to la la land for quite sometime – and I must admit it was some of the best ‘plane sleep’ I’ve ever had! Since I was able to sleep for about 4 of the ten hours, the flight really flew by - pardon the pun J and before I knew it I was in good ole India! YEAH BABY!

The new Bangalore Airport is GORGEOUS! An incredibly clean, organized, beautiful airport –I believe that one who has traveled through the old Bangalore Airport would appreciate this new airport far more than someone who has not. At any event, I quickly and efficiently made way to customs and down to baggage claim. Waited for a moment or two before I heard the announcement that many bags on the BA119 flight did not make it to Bangalore with us – a gentlemen pointed out the baggage claim desk and told me and several others we needn’t wait to see if our bags arrived, the attendants could tell us – as apparently this information was on a list. I begrudgingly made my way to this most unfortunate of places, only to wait in line with many, many unhappy and unseasoned “passengers with lost luggage.” I was patient while the first few people cut in line in front of me, but then I put my foot down and ever so gently nudged my way forward as yet another heavy set man tried to bully me – ha! It was quite apparent that the attendants behind the counter were already exhausted, and here it was only 4:30am in the morning! Once the lady – lets just call her Bharti – finished with the person ahead of me she asked for my baggage number. I was astonished that Bharti didn’t even bother looking at the list – instead she went straight for the pile of envelopes already prepared for us bagless folk from BA119. Either Bharti was psychic or perhaps she spoke to the wretched attendant in Orlando who had OBVIOUSLY cast a spell on me. Either way Bharti now confirmed that my bags were lost! I asked if even one of the two had arrived, and the answer was “NO!” “Darn,” I thought to myself. It seems that last year I really was lucky to have at least gotten one of the two bags (although I certainly didn’t feel lucky).

On the bright side of things I have done this before, so when she handed me the envelope of papers to fill out I knew exactly what to do. Plus, although annoyed, I was not upset at all like I was last year when this happened. How funny that everything in life happens for a reason right? Now, I certainly hope that this doesn’t happen every year I come to India, but it isn’t the end of the world. As I finished signing my papers I asked her where I filled out information about the contents of the bag? She took the papers and asked if I had anything valuable in the bag. Flabbergasted, I said, “everything in there is valuable!” She clarified by asking if I had a cell phone or electronic equipment. HA! “No,” I said. What I wanted to say was, “Hell no woman, I learned my lesson last year when you lost my luggage for 21 days and while my poor bag was lost out in luggage land and some horrendous human rummaged through my bag and stole my valuable electronic equipment! To which you didn’t reimburse me because it is apparently stated SOMEPLACE on some form perhaps online under clause 9999999991424525334 that you will not reimburse passengers for electronic equipment that MIGHT be stolen from their luggage. Somehow I’d missed that fine print someplace.” After I told her off [in my lovely fairy land] I asked her a few more basic questions, like: “where is my luggage? When will it arrive? Will someone from British Airways deliver my bags to me in Mysore (four hours from here)? What if items are missing from my bags when they do finally arrive? And most importantly, how in the world did this happen?” Her response went something like this: “Madame, I don’t know where you luggage is – since your bags were tagged from Orlando to Miami, Miami to London, and London to Bangalore – but you flew Orlando to Chicago, Chicago to London, and London to Bangalore – well I truly have no idea where those bags are right now. Nor do I know when they will arrive. All I can tell you is that we will contact you once they do! Someone will deliver the bags to you in Mysore once they arrive here in Bangalore. They will arrive on the same flight so it is likely you will get your bags early evening the day they arrive (whenever that may be). If items are stolen from your bags you will need to file a claim form with British Airways and we will reimburse you for the items stolen (let me insert this utterance….bullshit….bullshit….’cuse the French but BULLSHIT….only reimbursed me for about 1/5 of the value of items stolen from my bag last year and it took four months to boot). The majority of bags lost in this flight occurred due to ‘baggage problems’ at the London Heathrow Airport Madame, but I truly cannot say about your bag specifically as it may or may not have been lost before the mishap in London! Now here is 35 pounds for all your troubles. Thank you and have a nice life!” Something like that. I found out that many other airlines give customers $50.00 per day for lost luggage until it is found. I asked her to clarify if these 35 pounds was per day and she explained that it was a one time “I’m sorry” gift from British Airways. SWEET!

Needless to say, even if my bags ever made it from the plane headed to Miami to my Chicago plane, it could have gotten lost in Chicago due to the busted bag belt, and had it made it to London, it could have gotten lost due to the chaos of retched new terminal five.

On the bright side of things, I simply strolled right out of the airport with my carryon items in tow. Light as a feather indeed, didn’t have to wrestle with my two heavy bags at all! And once they do recover these missing bags they will deliver them right to my door. All will be quite well IF they find them quickly, deliver them even quicker, and no one has taken the liberty of helping themselves to my belongings. In a perfect world right…But, as I sit here in the car heading to Mysore – I just feel happy as can be. Missing bags can’t bring me down, can’t no body bring me down, oh no ;) I am so blessed and grateful to be here in India at this very moment – and nothing else really matters.

What a whirlwind of a first day in Mysore! I arrived to my new flat to find Ganesh and my new land lady waiting for me J My flat ROCKS! Now keep in mind this is a very simple place, but for housing standards here, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. It is a nice walk to the shala – ah about ten minutes, which is really nice in the mornings before practice (although sometimes a bit of a pain after). I am living above a doctor and his wife – they are extremely sweet people (another blessing for me – they are caring and happy and generous – but not in my face or my business). The flat itself is the CLEANIEST place I’ve had the pleasure to live in before in India. It is a two bedroom, two bathroom flat – but since it’s just me they have made the other bedroom a living room for me with a table and chairs. So, I have a bedroom, two bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. Not too much space but it feels like more and more than enough for me. Plus, there is a little room in front of my door that I can do yoga in or hang my clothes to dry if it’s raining outside. Don’t worry guys; you know I’ll have pictures up for ya soon!

After a brief chat with my landlady, and nice hot shower in my clean bathroom, and a quick bite to eat, I headed to Ganesh’s house so he could lend me some rupees till the bank opened and I could exchange some dollar bills yo. Speaking of dollars, how very sad our dollar has become. Just two years ago our dollar was so much stronger – and we are comparing it to rupees people….RUpEEs! In any event it is very sad indeed to have to get so much less for the very same dollar ;( And, prices are going up here in Mysore – not unusual but man! Give a girl a break will ya. For instance, the cost of a coconut in 2006 was 6 rupees, last year 8, and this year it is 10 rupees for one delicious sweet little coconut. Rent too is outrageous compared to before. I know I’m getting raped on the cost of my flat per month, but at least I can say I really like this place, which makes the whole experience a little more enjoyable!
My first stop on the day of errands was to Fab City – this awesome new store that opened about a month before I left last year. So what is Fab City you might ask – well it’s like a Wal-Mart or Super Target, but with so much more character. It’s not the unbearable size of Wal-Mart either, or with such a selection, but it is gigantic for lil ole Mysore. You can buy food, toiletries, towels, bowls, curtains, clothes, luggage, you name it! So I made my way there to get some much needed toiletries, food, and an outfit. I only got the things I absolutely needed for the next few days in terms of personal hygiene bc it KILLS me to have spent a lot of money on really good face wash and shampoo, etc for it to be sitting someplace crying out for me to use it. I can’t begin to tell you how flaming pissed it makes me to spend money on stuff today and get my luggage in a few days and have two of everything. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, all better now ;) So I spent a pretty penny at Fab City before heading to a local shop to buy a crappy thin, slimy PVC yoga mat….This one irks me more than anything else. Not the cost of the mat per se, but the fact that I don’t have my mat! My Manduka – mama misses you girl! I love my mat more than many things in this world, and I feel very naked without her. I know practice will not be the same without her and I want her NOW! I did leave all this information out of my conversation with the kind Indian man who helped direct me to the scanty selection of cheap, thin, smelly PVC mats. He saw the disdain in my eyes as I looked at these inferior yoga mats. He asked, “What color would you like Madame?” There wasn’t much of a selection, purple, cream, pink, and ORANGE! That put a smile on my face as I saw the only little Orange mat peak its head out and grab my attention. I grabbed the mat, paid the man, and made way back to the rickshaw to take me home for a much needed nap! But before that I called Girish – he was in Bangalore at the moment and said he’d be back by 2pm and would call me then. Sweet – why? Because I have stuff stored with him that will get me through the days without my luggage. So extremely grateful too – have clothes stored with him that helped me through last years 21 days without luggage, and that is preciously why I stored them again last year – they are my special britches so to speak – always keep me from being naked when in a jam in India.

I felt the jet lag kickin in with a vengeance. It was all I could do to get back to my flat and put away my newly purchased foodstuffs and bathroom items before I fell into my bed for a desperately needed nap. It was about 1pm and I figured I’d only sleep about an hour so off to la la land…when I came to I was in such a daze. Seemed like I only slept about an hour but to my surprise it was 4:15pm. “Crap! I have to get to the shala to register with Sharath!” I quickly pulled myself from the bed, washed my face and brushed my teeth, and every so gracefully stumbled out the door. When I arrived at the shala I found my good ole friend John sitting in the waiting area. We chatted for a minute before he finished up and Sharath called me into the office. It was so nice to see Sharath, and awesome to be back in the shala. We chatted for a moment – I told him my luggage was lost again. He laughed pretty hard, and said, “Again Krista!” I told him I think next year I will opt not to fly with British Airways. He concurred that might be a great idea. After I completed registration, he filled out my card and told me to be here at 6am tomorrow morning. I thanked him graciously and skipped out of the shala like a happy little school girl.

Soon afterwards I met up with Girish – he brought me my storage containers and told me he’d call me tomorrow morning to take me in town for some more errands. I spent the rest of my evening unpacking my storage containers and re-arranging my flat. Ah, what a wonderful first day in Mysore. Good night all!