How does one sum up over 4 weeks of adventures? Where do I begin and how much will I forget? There have been so many memorable experiences. Both ends of the spectrum. Times I've never doubted my decision to be here absolutely loving everything, and other days I've hated every second…
It begins with the age old question of "where am I going?"
"Is this bus to Hampi? yes? and this bus? Yes? So they both go to Hampi? Oh, you're not sure? Ok… So neither bus goes to Hampi?"
Blindly boarding a 6am bus is one thing, let alone with a cracked windscreen and no writing on it for my western eyes to indicate a trip to go 10 hours inland… I think to myself, there's every chance this bus goes to Hampi, and there's high chances I could end up in Mumbai just as easily.
Staying up until midnight smoking charas and eating dessert probably wasn't the best idea. In my sleep deprived, boarding bus phase, it was definitely a mistake.
But then, isn't anything that happens to me in India a mistake? When you have no real direction apart from forward, you could call it a calculated mistake?
Regardless, I'm on the road to somewhere.
In the end, I'm happy where ever I end up. (More happy if it's climbing times in Hampi).
As it turns out, I was on the correct bus (310Ruppes / 9 hour trip on the timetable) but as all things in India go. There's nothing like a good detour to derail your trip.
7 hours down and the bus engine blows up.
Another bus was on its way in 30mins (2 hours later…)
Looks like it's one of those mega bus trips I here so much about (x
… in total it turned into a 16 hour day from door to door. But… I got to Hampi (:
Arrived in Hampi at night fall, so it wasn't until the next morning that I could appreciate it in all of its glory.
As sunrise lifted over the main temple, the morning prayer music, mixed with sounds of frogs and crickets chirping in the nearby rice fields only added to the amazing ambience of this magnificently massive place.
The glow of the sunrise over the temples demands a huge amount of respect for how these incredible parts of history have stood the test of time.
I Climbed (and grated my way down) some of the most amazing boulders I have ever seen. Climbing was endless and was fueled by many poached eggs, hash browns, chai tea, doobs and some of the coolest folk I've met.
Like Gokarna, the vibe and people here are amazing.
Think burning man. A bunch of hippies, scattered from all over and gathered together in the middle of a desert, where you're all up at sunrise to climb early morning, and then when the rocks heat up too much, you're back down chilling and starting to map out the late afternoon climbs you'll get up to.
Watching the sunset from hilltop, and spending all night dancing on top of giant boulders, drinking beers and listening to nothingness while laying back, watching the stars do there thang.
Hampi also the has the amazing feeling of being a child all over again.
It's just one massive playground. Everyday, no matter where you look, there's endless opportunities to climb on rocks, jump off nearby waterfalls, run through the endless amount of shrubs, play cricket in the street with the locals, have massive jam sessions in local restaurants, swim in the river, and the whole time being both confused and super inspired by the endlessness of the land. Just getting yourself lost on a motorbike for the day has its magical moments.
The people I met there are what made my experience so memorable. Endless laughter and so much talk of rocks, climbing, and more climbing on other rocks.
Shamula (lady who runs the guesthouse) even joked with me one morning saying "you bloody climbers, you're all in bed by 10pm. You never party and all you ever talk about is climbing; look at all these beautiful woman here, and all you talk about is climbing". A real joker with a huge personality. She runs the guesthouse with a smile always on her face. Just don't cross to her bad side.
I stayed on the roof of "the Goan Corner" (200ruppes/$4aud a night) an awesome guesthouse, with amazing food, and an incredible location.
Tucked in behind the small village, amongst a bunch of rice paddies and palm trees.
I rented bikes, visited temples and jumped into near by lakes and waterholes (apparently crocodile territory).
I even bought a royal Enfield and co-found our first motor cycle club (:
Days passed by in the blink of an eye. My original plan of staying no more than two weeks, stretched out into nearly 4 weeks. And it easily could have been a lot longer. Even leaving the surrounds of the island proved difficult.
Adventures to nearby towns, and temples had to be done early enough for the heat to not play a factor.
In the end, I tell myself I stayed so long because that's how long it took to get to see all the surrounding temples of Hampi.
The last few nights stayed in Hampi were by far my favorite. Firstly, the fever that had consumed my body and resulted in me being in hospital had passed.
I was able to fully eat and socialize for more than 4 minutes without having to run off to the bathroom.
This led me to enjoy the possibility of climbing and exploring the rocks at night, when the heat had disappeared but spirits were still high.
Feet and hands were raw by this stage, but that didn't dampen spirits.
Also, I had two of the most amazing meals of my trip to that point.
The first, was Amit's 13th birthday (The guesthouse owners (Shamula's son).
As the family were originally from Goa 20years before moving to Hampi.
They put on a massive banana leaf/ talli Goan style meal; where the guys who worked there kept coming around with all sorts of delicious curries, rices, lentil dishes, sweet rices and breads.
The second amazing meal came on my final night. (Shamula had been teasing for weeks that she would cook a Goan style curry the night after I left).
To my surprise, a succulent chicken vindaloo curry was made, and left one hell of an impression. Spicy but sweet (and vinegary?) all at the same time.
I'd wait until the next visit to India just to experience it again.
Finally, as I pack to leave this golden landscape, we got the chance for a sneaky sunset cruise on our bikes, where we rode to the river towards the setting sun, and play witness as nature does its thing.
Watching the sunset over Hampi is the ultimate experience, sitting there watching the birds return from their days journies.
-Definitely had to be the climbing. World class bouldering even for someone who digs more trad than bouldering.
-The 'cake man'. Although the cakes were rubbish, the whole idea of the cake man peddling sweets to climbers made me chuckle. (Not to be mistaken for the 'weed man', same concept, but you know…
So again, onward I march; sadly saying farewell to all of my new amigos, making loose plans to cross paths again.
I jump on Ilene (purple rain) and head further south. Stupidly, believing Indian times, and venture for Bangalore (supposedly 6.5 hours away- total ride time, closer to 11 hours).
Although memories of my granddads' motorbikes journeys mixed with one million icecreams kept spirits high.
Madness. Total mayhem.
First 'real' Indian city I've visited. With a population of over 10million, it's very easy to get flustered and overwhelmed.
On the surface it's crude.
The Silicon Valley equivalent of India, office workers and IT crowd scattered throughout. Rude and rambunctious taxi drivers and people everywhere. Big city vibes- that's just on the surface.
After a day or two, it starts to look a little differently. Finding a strange underground vibe, with a city rich in monuments and history.
Fancy tree lined neighborhoods tucked in amongst the madness.
I wouldn't like to live here, or stay for too long, with prices more like capital cities around the world.
Staying at "Mass Residency" was an absolute pleasure. With clean, cool rooms, and breakfast included (800 Ruppees a night). With friendly staff and an up stairs dinning area over looking the roofs of the surrounding neighborhood.
But as you discover the city, you start to discover it has some cheap eateries (20-100ruppess) and some charm to match.
Unlike the other food you'll find- franchise chains including McDonald's and subways (first ones I've seen in India). You actually get a proper home cooked meal (but fast food style).
-In a sea of neon lights and chaotic traffic, the age old temples and history of Bangalore was up the top.
In my downtime, I get the chance to ponder how life is going by elsewhere.
Mainly for family. What has changed since I've gone? what will change in a month? In a year?
I hate the feeling of returning home and seeing that everybody is the same. Same dramas, same jobs, same unhappy partnerships, but most of all the same journeys.
I love talking to strangers along the road, and hearing how much their lives have changed, and what they've learned.
How they've fallen in love, with a country or a kindred spirit.
And then I think of "home" and it makes me cringe.
Will I ever be happy to settle? Or will I be anxious for every second that I'm not moving.
Sometimes I feel like a ghost. A unanimous being. Just floating, and realizing how small we all truly are in this world. We are happiest when moving, floating, twirling, like grains of sand, we are all so insignificant.
Moving from Bangalore is enevitable, as I've never been a fan of the rush rush of the big smoke.
Time to take to the road for more shenanigans and meeting new faces.
Next stop, the much hyped Poducherri…
Much love for now homies…