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Hampi

March 13, 2011

You may have gathered that the India portion of our travels was more or less thrown together on the fly. We had a handful of places we were interested in seeing, but wanted to allow for the insight of other travelers along the way when developing our itinerary.

Our two-and-a-half day stop in Hampi ended up being the only time we acted on the recommendations of others, but we were glad we did. It was way back in Dingboche that two fellow trekkers made mention of this awesome ancient holy land with a bouldered landscape ideal for rock climbing. We were, of course, in über-outdoorsey-trekking/climbing mode at the time and the place certainly piqued our interest. Whenever we brought it up to people familiar with it, they expressed equal enthusiasm. It seemed like a logical next stop from Goa. We were in.

Logical is a word that should really be used very carefully in India… Though only 300 kilometers from Goa, I’ve already mentioned that the bus ride of death took 12 hours on account of the state of the roads. To put things in perspective, it only took 14 hours (only! Ha!) by bus to traverse the 800 kilometers from Hampi to Mumbai when the time came. But again, it was worth it.

We arrived at 5:30 am to a flank of rickshaw drivers eager to see us off to their affiliated guesthouses. Our drivers ended up taking us to a place whose exact rate I can’t recall, but I know it was under $5 per room per night. The beds may have been threadbare and the floors a bit dusty; the owners might have had a baby that cried in the room next door at unfortunate hours, but the price and location were right. We were in the heart of the little town, had quite the selection of rooftop restaurants, were a few minutes’ walk from the city-splitting river, and were near enough to the travel agents with whom we’d need to figure out our transit to Jaipur.

That is… Mumbai, and then Jaipur. It seems there’s no other way to get there, and it was potential complications like this that made sorting out our journey first on the agenda. This ended up segueing right into an historical tour of the town, as the travel agent was related to a tour guide (and I think they both might have been related to one of the rickshaw drivers who collected us at the bus stop. Naturally.)

What followed was a motorized gallivant around what struck me as a cross between Bedrock and Disney’s The Jungle Book, complete with monkeys (though sadly lacking bears comically masquerading as monkeys). And while we never took advantage of the bouldering opportunities, it was true that they were abundant.

we had a visitor during breakfast

trying to blend in, it would seem


schoolkids

favorite

oh yeah! and wayne got a shave. the last shot of ‘sasquatch,’ as laura liked to call him

both of them are really enjoying this lathering process…

ta daaaa! yes! yes! a thousand times yes

it’s never hard to tell who the important people in india are…

makeshift slide

me with some bollywood star we saw hanging around 😉

our cabbie

we got to feed these little guys!

at the royal baths

fun series with some kids who wanted their photo taken

long day of sightseeing…

right by our guesthouse… it’s someone else’s turn to act like a monkey

Witness some monkeys in action and Wayne’s daring commandeering of our town-touring rickshaw:

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