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Published: October 24th 2011
View from guest house restaurant
On to Hampi 16th to 22nd October
Spent a pleasant evening back at Mamallapuram on Saturday after a long 7 hour drive up the highway from Madurai. Nearly a disaster though, as the police were out in force, (due yet again to the 'elections' ) and were raiding all the cafes without licenses and confiscating their beer..Oh No!!!
. Ann, never one to miss a trick, had noted that the good old Buddha Cafe had beer on the menu, and so must be licensed!! Sorted!! Otherwise their might have been 2 very thirsty, not to say cross OAP's in town !!!
Muthu picked us up at 3pm for the final trip to Chennai airport and the short hop to Bangaluru.The airport is a hefty 40kms from the city and the traffic was appalling
. Exacerbated by the fact that they are building an overhead metro line, it also seemed to be wedding weekend and hundreds of cars were queuing to get into the conference centre where several very lavish, not to mention very
expensive, wedding receptions were being held. Banners and archways and brightly lit entrances announced that the families of Pretee and Sanjay etc. welcomed you!! ......Well not us!
we saw of Bangalore looked modern and clean, if very crowded and congested. Actual streets, with houses and pavements as opposed to dirt and shacks which seems the norm in most other cities. We managed to find our way from the bus station to the nearby railway station, with the help of a friendly local who took us to the underpass. Train in, seats/beds sorted, though I did have to throw a man off my bed and then woke again at 6am to find a different man sitting on my feet??? Excuse me!!! The sleeper from Bangalore to Hospet was uneventful otherwise and we arrived at 7.45am. Got an auto rickshaw the 14Kms to Hampi and were a bit fed up to find that the room we thought we had booked was not available so we had to take a bit of a hovel in the old Gopi Guest House with the promise of a better room the next night in the new extension. NOT The Best Start!
Actually Hampi is brilliant and we quickly got to enjoy life here. It is the site of many very old, now ruined, temples all set in a valley surrounded by hills and
Is that how you spell it?
bordered by a river which can only be crossed by boat. It used to be by coracle and there are still a few for the tourists to hire (with a boatman). There is a huge gopuram to the temple in the centre of the old bazaar but other than that there's not much there.
We really like the fact that we can walk to nearly all the ruined temples.Though I nearly clouted a driver who shouted,"Hey old people. You should take an auto-rickshaw, it is too hot"
Well true, but less of the 'old' please. To be fair the place is full of 20 something backpackers wearing the obligatory uniform of Tibetan baggy trousers and Indian tops that no Indian would ever wear. Cool maybe but not 'Cool',... if you know what I mean.
Took a day trip to Badami on Thursday, where there are some interesting temple complexes restored by the ASI (Architectural Survey of India). To get there we travelled 3 hours on the road to hell!! Must be the worst traffic and road conditions ever. To be fair they are in the process of building a new highway from Hospet to Mumbai, so you keep hopping from
one side of the carriageway to the other. The last hour was much better on country lanes with 3ft potholes every 100m.....take your pick! Should have come next year when it is finished!!. Our driver was quite careful but we met up with another taxi from Hampi containing a very nice French couple. We had already met their driver, Vickram, 2 days before so we sort of went in convey and sort of went in competition. ie at every opportunity the drivers overtook each other, either at the same time as overtaking several other lorries or passing on the nearside at speed bumps/mountains. Got back to Hampi in the pitch dark......A day to remember!!!
Took the ferry across the river to Hampi island on Friday. Wish we had gone before because it is lovely over there with loads of guest houses and places to eat set in countryside and rice paddies. NICE!!!! Great country for hiring a motorbike. Wish now we had taken a few lessons from Paul.
We have seen a lot of single girls, lots of Isrealis and met 2 old birds from Melbourne who fell for the trick of the young boys wanting to have their photo's
taken with the women (arms around you and accidently brushing your breasts at the same time). I tried to point out to the one that it was not the best thing to do but she thought they were harmless and she had never had any trouble with lads anywhere. Well not really the point, it is just a sexual game, while taking the p...out of the female tourists. But hey!! I tried to tell her. Met a nice Scots couple from Glasgow (older guy with young wife) and a really nice couple of kids on a 6 month honeymoon . Ben's dad has an apartment in Denia and a house in Orba.....small world!!
Talking to Viru, the guesthouse manager tonight he told us that the roads are much better than they used to be since they closed down the i coal mines and jailed the owner. He also told us that Hampi Bazaar is to be demolished and rebuilt with only 75 low rise dwelling and guest houses. They should be told on 17th November when the people have to leave (with no compensation or aid). He also said that the people on Hampi Island were told today that they
have to go now!!. Shame really and a disgrace there is no help or new homes for people to go to.
Found out tonight at the last minute, that we have got confirmed seats on the train leaving at 6.30 am tomorrow HOORAY!!!!!!! So on to Goa we goa!!
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