Hello friends. Thanks for all the messages of support.
Two or so days in Bangalore was more than enough. The crush of the city was rough on us farm folks, but we did manage to purchase a train ticket (there is a separate counter for "Seniors, Handicapped, and Foreign Tourists") and try some street food with no problems. Overall, what we saw of B-lore was all very western - McD's, KFC, and a booming shopping district. Yesterday, Wednesday, after a few hours squatting at the train station we headed out for Mysore on a very nice A/C train.
Mysore is a lot more...India. Autorickshaws and yoked cattle share the street, fruit stands and markets are everywhere, it's dusty and overgrown, and the food is hotter than sh*t. We had a great time eating the hottest masala dosa of our lives yesterday, with tap water taunting us from tiny cups. Instead, when we just couldn't stand it anymore we ordered chai, which was so hot we couldn't hold the cups at first. Refreshing.
Anyway, the youth hostel is very simple, as you would expect. Very nice grounds - you can take a look here. Walked outside this morning and there was a cow and a tiny "street dog" peeking through the gate. We have the key to small place for tonight. We'll share it with two others and it's within spitting distance of the shala. Maybe we'll begin official practice on Monday as originally scheduled or maybe sooner, if they have room for us. We spot the occasional yogi (aka "white person") at the market, but it's not overrun w/ Ashtangis as we expected. With the arrival in Mysore and the securing of a place to crash, there's a feeling that we're almost "there," and can begin to settle a bit.
The fruit is spectacular. No durian yet, but something called jackfruit that's good enough to almost make whatever intestinal disruptions may come worth it (though nothing has come so far). Also some kind of juice this morning was excellent - mumbasi, or something like that.
We have yet to find an Internet cafe w/ a computer that has a USB port, but we'll post pictures if/when we can.