Anjuna, Arambol, Hampi.

Hampi Travel Blog

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Thank you is an empty phrase; show me your gratitude. Cows are sacred, yet few are cared for. Taking a taxi ride I saw a sign that read: "Trash Dumping Strictly Prohibited Beyond This Point". And all around that sign? You guessed it: an enourmous pile of garbage. I imagined people on some sacred trek across the far-reaching land to deliver their refuse, only to come across this sign, the great dragon of despair, and say solemnly, "Alas, we can venture no further.". Though even my imagination could not fathom to where they actually thought they were taking the garbage. It's all around everywhere anyhow. Later, trance dance club open air looks like Bedrock disco sans dinosaurs but with plenty of other unknown, perhaps multi-purposeful creatures, named Club 9 but closes at ten. Tried to tip the bartender and he was quite offended. Ironic in a place where everyone is trying to scam you for your money. Return journey only 2 km, whatever, maybe 3 miles on back of motor bike (If you were in America you'd be home by now.) piloted by Israeli guy Johnny and we run out of gas. Someone stops, "Petrol?" "Yes, petrol!" "Okay, 5 minutes you wait." But beautiful stars, Little Dipper you can see from peripherals but look directly at it and it's gone, nearly. Ah, metaphores. Anyway, out of gas but then along come the Canadians from our party who disturb some slumbering but neighborly house for a syphon. Johnny gets gas all in his mouth and swallows some despite my serious warning. I give him gum, suave American, and say I'll give it a try. No problem, got it flowin easily. Ian says "Well, I guess Americans are good for something!" "Yeah." says me, "Stealing gas." Good laugh then. Ah, anectdotes.

Next day to Arambol with Clem and Cam . On the beach playing cards at 3 AM, bottle of wine each, best night ever. Dreadfully happy that night, nobody else out it seems, then up stroll 3 mean-spirited policemen like I'd heard about, as if past experiences in my own country weren't enough to make me wary of the police. "Oh, you are gambling! You will come with us to police station! 2 nights in jail!" (We weren't gambling.) Girls yelling at them, later pleading, "No! We're not coming with you!" It became obvious to me rather quickly that they had little or no intention of taking us anywhere, and just wanted a payoff. Even more obvious it was when one of them knelt beside me and whispered, "Just give him something, eh, then we go." In the end payed them a "Baksheesh" of 2,000 Rupees, which equates roughly to 40 bucks. Once we hit that 2,000 mark it was all smiles from them and they insisted we take our cards back. They didn't care about our bottles of wine and just threw them in the sand and left. I refused to let them ruin my night and figured it was for the best, as the 3 of us had been in way too good a mood up to that point.

Following evening to this lake and up into the mountain jungle to find the Banyan tree we'd been hearing of. On the way people bathing in mud and some over-the-top spiritual ceremonies. So 20 minutes hike and finding the tree with 10 or so people hanging out playing music and the seemingly venerable "Baba", old man with a beard who lives there at the site of this tree. He is very welcoming. Peaceful is he and insistant that all animals in his jungle are friendly. He sleeps with the snakes and has been doing so since 1973 without incident. Bugs do not bite him. My curious friend who does not speak perfect english is trying to ask him by what criterion one is named a "Baba". He asks me to explain the story of Siddartha to her, which I do, adding that he must still be in the middle of his story, as we all are anyway, caus he certainly doesn't mind indulging in this Samsara, though I suppose to an enlightened man eating and smoking are not hinderences at all but just part of the matrix so who am I to judge and who am I and who wants to know? Tired of this thinking and don't care and am really quite content. So a few days of beach and beer and plenty of good food and then off to Hampi.

12 hour bus ride no fun no sir not at all so tired had to sleep but woke up several thousand times myself completly airborne. First few hours had nobody next to me so attendant tried to make me pay for both sides of my top sleeper caus I had extra room. A stern no will generally get people like him off your back. Started to wish I'd done it caus later many more came and had to sleep next to some guy, no breathing room, no breathing, and nearly falling off the edge and hearing noises such that the antipodes of my mind had not yet conjured, engine about to blow and at every stop animals I have no idea what kind or whether kind or not. Finally to our destination of Hampi, felt like a rock star stage-diving off of the bus into a sea of children trying to sell their stickers and men their rickshaws. Great scenery with lots of monkeys and cows and dogs and an elephant here and there. First two days in Hampi great time: hiking, some bouldering and beautiful temples and ruins, rain which was welcome, hanging out at our guesthouse watching Pixar movies, of which Indian people seem to be quite fond. Very relaxed place for India. Then got my first bout of food poisoning from eating Thali at the highly recommended (Lonely Planet) Mango Tree restaurant. The food was apparently prepared in river water which I learned later that some guy had just drowned in. Surely it was the water that made me sick, but the thought of the dead guy didn't help to ease my stomach much. Violently ill for first 24 hours; could only get up to make it to the bathroom, then collapse again. Pink Floyd blasting from the guesthouse next door right through my wall about all day and evening, in combination with the movies and music in constant play and shouting from my guesthouse, in combination with my fever and nausia, and I was just about out of my mind. So I saw what would be considered God for a bit, and after a friendly visit came back to my senses enough to read The Hobbit. Just today feeling much better and able to eat and walk around. Now very glad just for these simple things. Here a few more days then up into the mountains south of Bangalore for Vatta Canal, or something like that which I heard was good. That's all for now. Hope you all are well!

Africancrab says:
Great blog, thanks for sharing.
Posted on: Mar 16, 2010
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