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  • Shelley Dark

21. Mysore

We're playing hookey this afternoon and skipping a temple so I can catch up a little. The internet here is still a problem, so I’m sitting in the lobby again. John is upstairs taking photos. Outside our second floor bedroom window there are two brahminy kites with a baby in the nest. Maybe more than one! One of the parents just came home with some food and the little poppet stuck his head out. So maybe when I’m upstairs again I’ll have a photo for you.

I’m sorry about the problem with the comments yesterday. I always look at them first thing and when I woke there were none. One appeared later and I did a war whoop. I had an email from the CEO of the plugin, saying they have fixed the issue so I hope it doesn’t happen again.

This morning the palace we are visiting doesn’t open until 10am. We are driven there early, a new guide on board, and on the way we suddenly see a giraffe’s head above a high wall. It looks quite absurd. It turns out it's in the zoological gardens. Our bus drops us at the palace and we walk to the markets. I am so glad to be striding out. I’m missing our usual long walks at home.

Mysore is reputedly one of the most beautiful cities in India. We take photographs as we go. Our guide tells us facts about the city. At the beginning I can’t understand a word. He has the rollicking Indian cadence and I feel as if I’m watching that tv show the Kumars of No 42. After I while I start to get the hang of his accent.

There seems to be such grace in these old buildings.

I don't know if it's the Singer we know.

It's strange to see clocks in the local script.

She's selling flowers and thinks it extraordinary that anyone should want to take a photo of her.

He's a happy cobbler.

His tools of trade.

The shop awnings are dusty. Vendors line the street.

This young man volunteers without my asking by pointing at himself. He comes and looks at the photo without hanging up.

I've taken a photo of this woman and her son. They ask to see it, and they're highly amused when I show it to them. I didn't know John was taking this photo.

Indians must be very close to Australians in the takeup of mobile phones.

This was part of a long sign above a shopfront. The paint peeling off. Don't you love the tiny tassels on the letters, the fringed border?

This is John's photo. I love it.

The markets are covered, busy and colourful. I am still practising my hello and thank you. I say hello to everyone and anyone. I’ve learned thank you too. It usually gets a happy laugh and a nice photo opportunity. I ask John what he is saying to the vendors he is photographing. ‘I just say Ricky Ponting’, he says. It gets a bigger laugh than my hello.

It's just mandatory isn't it? You have to have one shot of powdered paints.

John says 'Aren't they getting sick of seeing flowers?' You aren't, are you?

What about the texture of the bitter gourds?

John wants one of these brooms at home. Not for him. For me.

I like it that someone in the market thought this was good enough to hang.

This is the man who sharpens knives, scissors, shears.

A vendor sits quietly, stroking his kitten.

You've seen displays like the c