Hampi part 2 in which Beth melts and sees monkeys

​Carrie and I woke up early to catch the sunrise at a temple near our guest house. After a bit of bushwhacking (we missed a turn which had nice but slippery stone stairs) we made it to the top of the rocky hill just in time to see the orange ball peek up over the horizon. There were no safety rails. Certain death if you took a wrong step taking a selfie. But that’s what the Darwin Awards are for right…. I heard a stat that more people died from selfies last year than shark attacks. A Yogi jesus appeared from nowhere (perhaps he camps at the temple up there?) And began to do fancy yoga moves. Carrie had names for all the poses… I had no idea what he was doing. The tourists were taking photos with him. He seemed to be enjoying himself. We knew there was a temple elephant Lakshmi so we went looking for her. There was a line up for blessings.. lots of school kids waiting their turn.  Since we came in the side entrance we didn’t remove our shoes and got told off. So we high tailed it out of there and went down to river to await Lasksmi’s bath. She came lumbering down the stairs but her handler was a meanie. He had a long stick he was hitting her with to make her lie down to bathe her. Carrie cried and I couldn’t watch any more so we left. We had the most amazing dosa at a little hole in the wall our guide Vijay told us about where we made a...

Week two in which Beth sees naughty carvings

​We got up at an obscenely early hour I thought was the stuff of myth but here I was at 4:30 catching a taxi to the train station to Hampi. It was our first experience with the trains and it’s a very confusing complicated process. Made more confusing because we were early and the platform signs weren’t lit up yet. When the train arrived the mad scrambling rush of workers trying to push in front of each other and jump onboard was quite terrifying. So this was the infamous “sleeper class” everyone warned me about. I had booked 2nd class which was practically empty. We could stretch out on the bed/seat very confortably. Carrie and I prematurely high fived each other… Until the ticket guy told me my ticket didn’t match the seating assignment. My heart rate went up. Did I screw up the booking?!  Turns out I had bought two by mistake… so all was good. We mostly had the section to ourselves until grandpa and wife and their grandchild showed up with a pile of stuff. Carrie wisely ignored grandpa’s questions about where were from where we’ve been etc etc but he was nice and seemed harmless. He helped get us off the train at the proper stop then asked for my phone number and gave me a secret handshake… rubbing my palm with his finger. Wtf was that? ! I waved goodbye. Bye bye pervy grandpa! We got picked up at the Hospet train station by a rickshaw driver Pampa. This place is cleaner then Palolem. But still we were dodging cows and goats on the road...

India week I in which delicious food was eaten on the beach

​After the initial piña colada and amazing dinner in palolem, I had a great sleep (of course after my heart rate went down due to previously mentioned centipede incident) My cankles needed some attention so Carrie and I caved to some high pressure sales tactics and got a “massage” for swollen ankles. We were taken to a sketchy back room in a hut covered in a blue tarp. The nice lady disappeared and left me and Carrie at the mercy of her brothers one of whom decided to massage my legs the wrong way and push the fluid down more; I think resulting in further aggravation. My feet are finally back to normal today. I’m so old and embarrased about that. But not too embarrassed to tell everyone. Then for some reason I let them talk me into a head massage which was actually just an oily head scratch. Trip advisor told us to visit a spice farm a 40 minute cab ride away. Tanshikar is a 40 year old family run farm growing a host of spices including vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, birds eye peppers, betel nut (more on this later), cashews and others I can’t remember. The man who runs it and who gave us the tour is a real sweetie. Half way through the tour we were joined by an overly sincere English couple and their precious little boy Nathaniel in a baby carriage. On a path in the jungle.  “Should we leave the pram here?” Ya think? The toddler started having a hissy fit and tearing up some of the precious spice plants and Dad...

India week I in which Beth stops fretting and captures centipedes

The flight on air France was good and uneventful. I had champagne because I could. Aperatif ma’am?  Why yes mademoiselle  would love some. Anyone who knows me would chuckle to hear that I was seated beside two seven year old girls with a two year old sister next door and two hyper cousins in the vicinity. But they were quite sweet.  Taxiing down the runway one girl kept asking if we were in the air yet. Nope not yet sweetie! Then I fell asleep and the kids were all watching movies and playing on ipads and kicking me. I woke up being poked and prodded… opening my eyes I look down and there’s Cindy Loo Hoo no older than two smiling and looking up at me. Hard to be annoyed. The second leg from Paris to mumbai was pretty uneventful. I did notice that European ideas of special meals did not equal indian ideas of special meals.  Plus they kept swapping seats. There was a lot of discussion with the stewards about the veg/Hindu veg/indian veg meals and whose belonged to whom. When I arrived at the mumbai airport I went on an immediate search for cash at the atms. Exchanged US money at the currency exchange. Couldn’t withdraw money at the ATM. The driver was there to pick me up which was great.  He’d been waiting for two hours! Customs took a full hour. The next morning I went on a search for more cash. My two visas and my bank card were all generating sad errors. I tried many many ATMS.  Absolutely nothing. Exchanged more US cash....

India part one. In which Beth stresses out.

​Well I promised to write my first blog post ages ago.  Here i am on day four having some spare time to myself at last!  I first wanted to write about my high anxiety coming into this trip. India to me has always been sort of the epitome of travel. .. a master’s degree if you will. If you can successfully navigate india you can get around pretty much anywhere. .. save for places like Syria or Liberia.  On my round the world trip in 2010, I was headed to india but decided not to go because I’d  spoken to a few people who said they were happy they went but even more happy to leave.  Why would I want to go to a place like that? ! And yet I still wanted to go. I can’t really even explain why exactly.  I’m not into yoga or retreats or finding myself on a spiritual journey. I have a pretty good idea who I am and am not seeking enlightenment.  I believe enlightenment comes from experiencing different cultures and learning from them.  Travel is my guru. An opportunity arose that I couldn’t turn down… my friend Carrie decided to go for a four and a half month tour to india, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I decided to join her for two weeks in the south. Then my friend Jes said “I wanna come too!” so we booked a two week tour in rajasthan together, starting right after my time with Carrie comes to an end.  For seventeen years my back has been a traitor. The pain and episodes come and go…...