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Shopping on Commercial Street in the Bangalore Rain Was Fun, Fun, Fun

Enjoying my dinner at Elements Heritage in Frazer Town… what an amazing restaurant.

People-watching is fun, fun, fun.  My favorite places to people-watch are either at Heathrow (terminal 4) airport or back home in Spain (in Sitges) on Calle del Picado at the only cocktail bar in town called Pay Pay (pronounced more or less like Pie Pie in English).  For years, my mate Ivan and I, either on our own to catch up or along with a big group of our friends, would happily camp out there in summer to people-watch the amazing parade of locals and holiday goers.  And drink lots and lots of delicious mojitos.  You see, Spain doesn’t have a cocktail culture so you can imagine how happy a girl who grew up on cocktails in southern California is to be able to drink cosmos and margaritas anywhere I go again.  Thank you, India!  Well, what I mean to say is anywhere I go aside from “dry” restaurants like the one I am sat at now, haha.  Why no wine?? I still don’t get it but okay.  So ever since I moved into my flat I have wanted to try Elements Heritage, which is literally just down the street from me in Frazer Town.  The exterior of this place is so perfectly designed that everyone who passes by it would genuinely want to come in for dinner and explore the venue.  They have tiki torches and oil lamps hanging from palm trees.  Plus, you must pass through the most original wooden gate, alongside a wooden deck and cool sidewalk. It’s really nice.

It is 17:30 and I still haven’t eaten breakfast today.  It’s Saturday and our company held the monthly management alignment meeting this morning, which I was running 2 minutes late for and basically since then I have been jammin’ like a salmon all day.

Have you seen a more tranquil and beautiful setting? Elements is just missing wine 🙂

So I have come to Elements restaurant ridiculously early for dinner but luckily they were just opening so I have scored a cool loungey table outside (as the only guest at this hour obviously selection was good).  They are playing a funky mix of chillout music and I am enjoying myself here acting like a real voyeur, watching families, couples, friends and even neighborhood dogs pass by on Mosque Road.  And anyone who lives here or has visited India knows that there are people, people, people everywhere all the time!  So tonight I am in heaven.

I’ve just finished Paneer Lajawab (grilled “set” cottage cheese), which they said wasn’t spicy but my runny nose begs to differ! haha  It was super tasty, actually…and the main course is absolutely delicious.  I can’t remember the name of what I ordered but it is a lamb curry with ocra, which earlier this week I learned is called ladies fingers here.  I explained to my work mates that lady fingers in the Europe and the U.S. are little cakes that are used to make tiramisu 🙂  Everything is wonderful…and the naan is the best I have had in Bangalore so far I think.  YUM!

Oh crap, haha, I just accidentally bit into a green chile pepper that I thought was ocra and started to cry, haha.  What a baby!!

One of the side streets off of Commercial Street … that area has such a cool energy about it. I have never seen so many sari shops, one right next to the other, EVER!! haha Love it!

Today for the first time I went and walked around the famous Commercial Street for a bit of fun.  The only thing I honestly needed to buy was stockings, which oddly enough is SUPER difficult to find in Bangalore.  They have one brand of “one size fits all” nude and black stockings that run super easy and cost a dollar but so far that’s all I’ve seen.  Makes a ton of sense though if you think about.  Of course it’s tough to find stockings in a country where women don’t show their legs in public.  Well, that’s not 100% true actually…but outside of trendy bars and clubs, for the most part anyway this is true. Guessing an Internet order is in my future.  (Note: in Europe and the U.S. there are entire shops just dedicated to stockings and socks.  In Spain, the largest chain is called Calcedonia and it had dozens and dozens of stockings — traditional, thigh high to wear with garter belt, above the knee, etc — in all colors and textures and sizes.  We love our stockings!  I find it interesting to see that there is really zero market for a Calcedonia here.  Guess it’s the same as Spain having no demand for Sanskruti Silks.)

Anyhoooo, Commercial Street was loads of fun to check out, although I didn’t do any clothes or accessories shopping.  And because I look like a total tourist I had every pashmina, sari and souvenir shop worker trying to lure me in which isn’t very fun as you can imagine.  I walked the street and enjoyed the people watching.  There are even loads of sportswear brands with shops on Commercial Street (although I shop for better sports bra deals online at shops like RunnerClick.com).  Towards the end of Commercial Street I decided that I wanted to check out the smaller side streets and that turned out to be even more fun!!!  The smaller streets don’t have brand name shops but instead they have tons of teeny, tiny shops setup by entrepreneurs that sell a little bit of anything you could need.  There is one street that has some amazing ribbon, fabric and bead shops so I stopped into a tiny little shop that was literally 2 meters wide and built into a wall, half above and half underground.  The nice owner of this shop invited me down to take a closer look (a few other ladies were there but they all stayed street level) so I jumped down.  From inside we were about as tall as the people’s knees walking by, was funky but I’m guessing that space is maxed out there around Commercial Street so this was the best solution to allow new businesses to open.  He had a ton of selection and basically proceeded to help me sort out part of my Mom’s birthday gift for this year 🙂

Mommy, get excited!! You scored some gifts from this little shop!! Not sure you can tell but I couldn’t stand up straight in the shop, hehe

Monsoon season is starting very soon and the past couple of days I can already sense a shift.  While I was inside the little ribbon shop the skies literally opened up and started to pour down rain for a good 10 minutes.  Unfortunately for yours truly I was only protected inside my guy’s shop for about 7 of it, haha.  Because I am overly prissy about being rained on, I always carry a tiny umbrella around with me in my handbag, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  But holy cow me and my dress were more or less SOAKED after about 30 seconds, haha.  And my high heels are certainly worse for the wear…but I swear I had so much fun.  Since so many people were just running around still getting wet, I went with the “when in Rome” ideology and just kept on strolling.  Well, I am exaggerating a bit. Some people continued to run around but many ducked into storefronts for protection.  For some reason which I don’t fully grasp yet in a city that is affected by monsoons, umbrellas are not the most popular things in the world here.  A few of my work mates say “rain is natural” and that you just live with the fact that you will get wet, including your shoes!!  haha, forget that!!  Prada and Jimmy Choo didn’t make shoes for them to be dunked into puddles, haha.   Ohhhh except for the super cute wellies that they both have on the market now!  I want to order some wellies online this weekend and sort myself out for monsoon season (Tess, that was a GREAT idea by the way!).  That should again help me to blend right in, hahaha.

Last night was a fun night out at SKYYE.  My mates were really late in joining me so I very happily split my time between chatting with my friend DJ TT and getting to know Alexa, the cool new, stunning (WHITE) female bartender who just started last Wednesday at SKYYE (more to follow on this topic because the recent history of legislation and policy surrounding female bartenders is amazing).

Now to decide… stay in like a good girl on Saturday night or hit the town?

XOXO from Bangalore

© Angela Carson and Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011

I started Angela’s Bangalore from my hotel room on the very first day I moved to India in 2011, while struck with jet lag! It was my very first blog, the country’s very 1st luxury travel blog. Now I’m rocking YouTube as @ExpatAngela, hope you’ll subscribe.

This article has 9 comments

  1. Bharath

    After living in Dubai for the last 4 years, I have almost forgotten what rain is like, its nice to know how you are enjoying the little things in life, rather than “eewwwing” about the road condition or anything else of Bangalore.

    Thank you once again.

    Bharath

  2. Bharath

    That’s the least which I can do. Secondly, its genuine appreciation. Bcoz, ppl dont have time, pretending they are too busy with life all the time. I am really amused that you give importance of sharing your views, feelings about people, place and everything.

    I’d love anything n anyone who loves my city…………hahaha (being a lil selfish ther)

    • angela_carson

      Thanks so much! I am really working hard to try and land a writing job with a major newspaper or magazine here in India so this is amazing practice for me. I’m also trying to write a summary for a book at the moment. I certainly have the time at the moment as I am interviewing with companies now for a new VP marketing role with a tech company 🙂 Hey, and tomorrow I start writing a dating, relationship and sex blog for http://www.celebmirror.com so you’ll have to visit it!!

  3. Shiva Rajavelu

    That’s an amazing blog!! An apt description of the amazing commercial street!!!
    Thanks!

  4. abihim

    I love bangalore. My ancester lived & died in my beloved bangalore. i was born & partially raised in bangalore. Now I live in canada, have not visited bangalore for almost 5 years. your blog brought tears to my eyes & flooded my heart with tons of sweet memories. Commercial street holds are very fond spot in my heart. When you were discribing the side streets with tiny shops. I felt like i was there. Thank you. Glad u r enjoying ur stay

    • AngelaCarson

      Ahhhhhh thanks so much.  Sorry for my delay in responding … I’m so happy that my blog has made you feel closer to Bangalore 🙂  Hope you’ll keep reading! –angela

  5. prestige

    You should definitely visit Prestige The Man Store on commercial street. It has top of the class services and rage for men’s fashion.

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