We awoke, grabbed some breakfast, and were picked up by a driver who then went to pick up Rajah and Deepa. Apparently he was our driver for the day. We ended up covering his gas and paying him $40, which is extremely cheap in my mind, but I guess that is the going rate for a day's work. He headed towards Mysore. On the way, we passed farms of sugar cane, which meant that there were trucks overloaded with cut sugar cane all over the road. Other than that, the drive was generally nice, but uneventful until we passed Mysore Palace. We didn't have time to go inside though, as we had a full day planned.
The first place we did stop was at the Mysore silk factory. Unfortunately, they didn't allow cameras inside. However, they did allow us pretty free reign to go wherever we wanted whenever. The first thing I noticed when we walked into the loom room was that there were no particulates in the air, which was quite a contrast to the last third-world factory I had been in. I'd guessing that is because they have to keep it relatively clean for the fabric to turn out properly. However, there was a strong odor of oil in the air, and at one point, we got to visit bleach vats. This just held up my theory. There were two different kinds of looms that the workers were using. One type had a rolling pattern, similar to the way a music box has a repeating pattern. The lifted pins caused the loom to lift different threads and create different repeating designs. The other type of loom had a long strand of metal punch cards.that caused the loom to create the pattern. Even the technology they used to determine where an error is located is simple, yet effective- they simply use silk that is dyed two different colors, one for each direction. Beyond the looms, we saw areas where they were respooling the silk, as well as the gold threads. The gold threads are actually silk threads that are coated in silver and then real gold. Next, we went into the dyeing areas where they did 1 or 2-color dyeing, as well as bleaching if needed. We got to walk around these large vats of ammonia, or something else probably bad to breathe in, and nobody even thought twice about it. At the end, we saw them iron the finished cloth. On the way out, we stopped at the gift shop. The shop was filled with gorgeous silk items, some of whieh cost thousands of dollars (not Rupees, dollars). We passed on that.
By this time, we were hungry, so we stopped for lunch at some hotel, and then continued on our way until a cop pulled us over. According to him, we "jumped a light." Only problem was, there wasn't even a light at that intersection for us to jump. I guess he was just trying to get us the experience of Indian corruption.
When we got to the bird sanctuary, we experienced another bending of the rules, this time in our favor. They charge one rate per Indian, one rate per foreign tourist, and one rate per camera. The guy at the gate decided not to charge us for everything. Nice! At the sanctuary, we walked through the gorgeous trees and down to the water. We got a "special' boat ride. (No, it didn't involve fruitcake fruits.) It meant that we got a boat and paddler to ourselves and didn't have to share with another group. For quite some time, the paddler steered our boat around so that we saw crocodiles close up, got good views of birds, and just generally got to relax. He knew the names of all of the birds and pointed out the various herons, kingfishers, and spoonbills. I really don't know birds, so I was really just enjoying the relaxation part. However, for bird watchers, I'm sure this was a paradise.
After the calm ride, we headed over to the Sri Ranga Patna fort. At this fort, a Muslim Sultan tortured the Brits who were trying to take over India back in his day. We went inside the fort, and saw what we could see, but a lot of the tourist part was already closed. We did get a reasonable view of a temple right next to a mosque. On the way out, a couple of touts came up to us to try to sell us stuff. We said no. Then, we said no for another 30 feet. Then, another. All in all, I think they may have followed us for a quarter mile, despite the constant stream of "no" coming from our mouths.
We got back in our car and headed back to Bangalore. For dinner, we had Bhal Puri at Gandhi market. (It was delicious as usual.) Finally, the driver took us back to our hotel. It was a full day and we had definitely made good use of his services. I was happy we had done so much, but at the same time, wasn't quite ready to leave.