Journal -- Day 14

January 1st

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After several long days, we have a quiet day without a long drive, happily seeing the sights of Mysore. The vegetable market is colorful and interesting, at least to me. Steve declares himself done with markets, as apparently there's only so much he can get out of stacks of oranges and okra. From there, we go on to the maharaja's palace, a relatively new structure from the 1910s. The outside is lovely, far more the typical Indo-Sarenic melding one expects, with domes and arches and elaborate plasterwork. After leaving behind our boots (for the nth time) we enter the yet more ornate interior. Most wonderful to me are the carved wooden doors throughout, though the stained-glass dome in the wedding hall, all hand-painted, is a close second. Some of the painted ceilings and gilded pillars and mirrors go too far, and it all blends together into a melding that defines opulence. Still, the elephant gate leading outside to the main palace gate stands out.

In the afternoon, we take a quick visit up the Chamundi hill to a small shrine to the 5th largest Nandi in India. We previously saw the 3rd largest Nandi (Thanjavur), but he was part of a larger complex. This one is sitting alone alongside a stepped path leading to a Shiva shrine at the top of the hill. More steps?? But no, we drive up and stop at Nandi. It's a nice visit, calmer and without tourists. We do attract a bit of attention here, but not too much. Steve's rash is still bothering him, but he's able to join us for most of the day. Since tomorrow is another travel day, he's planning to rest and recuperate.

So I proceed alone to shop at a wonderful silk emporium. Mysore is a center of silk weaving and produces marvelously unique products. I overindulge and wind up with a large bag of wonderful things. Steve even talks me into wearing one of my new salwars to dinner. I'd feel entirely elegant if only the power had stayed on long enough for me to dry my hair and dress with something other than a flashlight. Ah well, at least the bee corpses are gone. No firework tonight that I heard, but I've become an unreliable witness.

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