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 but at a more leisurely pace.
Hampi has a super cool landscape with boulders left by a volcanic eruption. We stayed at the Gopi guesthouse which is owned by a friend of a friend of a friend Keeran who invited us for lunch then dinner at his outdoor tour bus restaurant. . . Which we did the next day. Gopi has a rooftop restaurant where you can watch monkeys and see the temple elephant Lakshmi on her way to the daily bath.
Today we went on a tour with Vijay and Pampa the driver. It was very hot. Saw lots of hindu temples. Did you know there are 33 million Hindu gods?! Apparently all we need to know is that rama is the creator shiva is the destroyer and vishnu some other fucking thing. This is the second largest complex outside of Angkor. This place is pretty awesome but frankly can’t hold a candle to Angkor.
Tried this local chewing thing called paan masala. It’s a betel leaf rolled up with spices and betel nut. You’re supposed to stick the whole giant wad of stuff in your cheek and chew it. It was kind of fun but I needed to spit it out after it was only half done.
Carrie and I are rock stars. We are constantly swarmed by children wanting to take their photo with us. They are on school trips from non touristy areas and many have not met any white people before. Also there were some childish young creepy men taking my photo with their phones over their shoulders then gathering round to look and chatter. I’m old and fat … wtf are they looking at. A midget also was following me really close in a dark temple and copped a feel of my butt. We made them go ahead of us and they giggled like schoolboys.
Our guide explained the four types of women according to the kamasutra. Carrie and I were trying to figure out our type. But we will never tell. There were a few erotic carvings in amongst all the ganeshas and vishnus which of course all the tourists want to see.
This place is surprisingly little known even to experienced travelers. It’s mostly known as a hippie hangout since the 60s but is now being visited by middle class Indians too… a trend which started I guess about six years ago.
One more evening then most of the day tomorrow left here… then off to Fort kochi! We are meeting a friends friend ashok on bangalore on Christmas morning which I’m looking forward to.
Hampi part II coming soon!