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« The Free Society at the Conservative conference | Main | Welcome to Bangalore »

Welcome to Bangalore

So, here I am at the Royal Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore, India, drinking a cool glass of Kingfisher in the very bar you see above. It's 15:45, local time, which is four and a half hours ahead of the UK.

Yesterday I boarded BA flight 0119 at 14:00, having driven to Heathrow from Birmingham via Cambridgeshire following the Forest party at the Conservative conference. (Photos to follow shortly.)

BA obviously decided to go straight to Bangalore time because we were barely in the air when we were served dinner. I didn't get much sleep - which at least allowed me to watch the Gervaise/Merchant film Cemetary Junction - and suddenly we were being given breakfast at 23:00 UK time.

The nine-hour flight took us in the general direction of Vienna, Istanbul and some other places I can't remember (although they all sounded like war zones!) and finally Karachi and Mumbai before we landed in Bangalore at 04:10.

From the airport we took a taxi into the city but it was still dark so not much to see. Arrived at the Royal Gardenia Hotel at 06:00. Welcomed by staff who placed turbans on our heads, wrapped silk scarves around our necks and offered us a welcome drink (orange juice, since you ask).

As we were shown to our rooms (none of that "Can't check in until 3.00pm" nonsense) rose petals fluttered down on to our heads from a balcony above. I looked up. Yes, the hotel employed a man for that very purpose.

Slept most of the morning before registering for the conference which begins tomorrow. I'm speaking in three sessions, one tomorrow, two on Friday. But first there is a formal dinner tonight in the more traditional Windsor Hotel a few minutes' walk away. (Needless to say transport has been arranged to save us the bother!)

I'll keep you posted.

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