Monday, 28 May 2012

Shop 'til you drop!

View from Nipsi's parent's flat

After waking up from a refreshingly cool night's sleep, Nipsi and I got ready and headed back to her aunt's house to join them for lunch. We drove with them to the nearby UB City (a sort of mall) where we stuffed ourselves with Thai food at "Tasty Tangles". After a quick stop to check out the wares at the Apple store, we dropped her family members back at home and set out to do a little damage to our bank accounts.

Lunch restaurant

Inside UB City mall

Bangalore has loads more options for shopping than Chennai does, with shops ranging from tiny stalls in overcrowded shopping centers or on busy streets to huge modern malls with designer and foreign stores. Our first stop was Commercial Street where Nipsi found four cute dresses in the type of store that you have to know to even find. Although we were happy with her purchases, we were slightly annoyed that no one wanted to bargain with us. Unfortunately, I think my presence (as an obvious foreigner) might have hurt her chances of a discount. Despite that annoyance, we still managed to enjoy ourselves... until we tried to leave and found that the car had been clamped!

Cluttered clothing stalls
One of the many malls around Bangalore

The evil car clamp

Unfortunately, I was too dismayed to remember to take a photo so I had to take one of an unused clamp later on. This was an important lesson for us: Bangalore is much, much stricter than Chennai. It cost 100 rupees to remove the clamp, which was of course accompanied by a disapproving look from the police man.  We were also told that not wearing your seatbelt is a 100 rupee fine as well. So, lesson learned! We made sure to be extra careful during the rest of our stay.

Bangalore shopping caters to all needs

Next we headed to Dubai Plaza, another little shopping building that Nipsi knew from her days as a student in Bangalore. Here we were both successful with Nipsi snagging two pairs of shoes while I came away with a pair of gold sandals from a store nearby. I was really pleased to find them as they are the perfect thing to wear to slightly more dressy events (such as going to bars, hotels, or parties in the evening) around Chennai.

New shoes!

In addition to shopping, Bangalore is also home to a greater number of international food options compared to Chennai. We of course took as much advantage of this fact as we could! Although we had a slightly disappointing meal at the Hard Rock Cafe, our lunch the following day made up for it entirely.

Margaritas at the Hard Rock Cafe 

Margarita and Nipsi

Spiga Restaurant

Spiga is a small Mediterranean flavored restaurant, although it also has several Asian inspired dishes on the menu (such as prawns in black bean sauce). Beautifully open and light, the restaurant was pretty and the food even better. I opted for the "Greek Fish" which came with potatoes and zucchini, Nipsi enjoyed the "Florentine Fish", and her friend chose the afore mentioned prawns. We ended with an "oreo cheesecake" that could perhaps be better described as a deconstructed oreo. It was, of course, delicious.

Inside Spiga

Greek fish

Florentine fish

Oreo cheesecake

After our tasty lunch, Nipsi and I decided to splurge a bit in Pheonix Mall where we found Zara, The Body Shop, Mango, Accessorize, Claire's, La Senza and a host of other international brands. Standing outside a coffee shop, waiting for Nipsi (who was inside buying a coffee), I found myself smiling at the fact that, given the shopping bags I was clutching, I could have been literally anywhere in the world. Zara, The Body Shop and Claire's... those three stores are so international, it might be difficult to find somewhere in Europe or the US where you wouldn't be able to shop in at least two of the three. While I felt slightly uncomfortable at the thought of these international brands potentially pushing out smaller local businesses, I have to admit, it felt wonderful to walk into a store and instantly know the layout, products, sizing and style.

When we'd finished shopping and taken a few minutes to refresh ourselves, we headed out to meet Nipsi's friend DJ Vachan for a drink at the strangely named "Love Shack". Over mojitos and bar snacks, we chatted about upcoming plans for a trip to Kodiakanal, a hill station here in Tamil Nadu where my parents used to go twenty five years ago. I'm really hoping we can find a suitable week to go as the temperatures will again be cooler than Chennai and the scenery will be stunning. Crossing my fingers the trip materializes!

All in all, I think we had a lovely and satisfying trip to Bangalore. My goals were to escape the heat, find nice sandals, eat lots of tasty food, and possibly buy a few cute dresses and I accomplished all of those. However, we still had one final hurdle on our way home: the drive back...

1 comment:

  1. I used to go to Spiga! Glad you enjoyed Bangalore!