A Travellerspoint blog

Kerala - lazing around

Bonjour one and all,

Hampi seems to be a distant speck in the past now so I am afraid I have some things to fill you in with.. so prepared to be filled!

Firstly with one exception there have been no hippies and the one I do recall wasnt much of a hippie either more a spiritulist which i suppose isnt really a hippie at all but somehow out here they are..especialy when they come over all meditation like and hum.. still someone must maintain the healing crystal trade here and why not them! Anyway readers read on...

So Hampi was hot and full of boulders and temples whihc to some, including me, is charming.. however having looked at temples for three days a change was very much needed by jove off we went! Let me first explain how we have so far achieved locomotion in this wonderful land.. bus... some bad some not so bad, none however good. The bus from Hampi to Mysore (our next port of call on this voyage)definitely falls into the worst category, it was a semi luxury governement bus which is to say in the Queens english..shit. whats worse is that there is a lower class bus, i imagine this bus doesnt have seats, just a big hole in the floor so you can push from inside flintstones style! The bus appeared to have been made using drawing pins and subsequenly rattled over the tiniest of bumps which when you consider that the roads here are more like the surface of the moon than say roads..is not good espeacially when the seats have been designed for imps and one has to bring ones luggage on board too.. so ten hours sitting in a tin can designed for dwarfs and one very sore arse we arrived in Mysore!

Mysore describes itself as a city... its more like a town but it does have a palace so kudos. The town itself is fairly unhappening, so one has to be creative with your time.. However as we were there for about 36 hours we managed to survive ok! It turned out that the night we got there happens to be Indian new year or whatnot so they lit up the palace with about 4000 bulbs.. impressive if not rather wasteful when you consider the likelyhood of a constant powersupply in India is about as rare as an honest rickshaw driver. (for those unaware of the reference.. rickshaw drivers no matter how much they proclaim there honesty and innocence are by there nature thieves!! they see you coming and size you up for how much your worth.. if you're me its about double! and if you ask for the meter they'll look at you as though you asked them to derive Einsteins theory of relativity... in Welsh!) Anyway the lights were very lovely and there was a holy hill one can climb to see a temple and a huge bull made of stone (nice).. we of course being British took the bus up the hill and joined the merry pilgrims on the arduous walk down the hill.. thats working smart not working hard.. anyway besides that we had pretty much a whole day to waste before the privillidge of another government bus to Kerala, so initially we attempted to eat our selves through the day (took about 3 hours and felt abit sick!).. then we decided to sit in thwe local park (found a plastic bag containing what seemed to be a deceased animal, we decided to move on after about half an hour and yes felt a bit sick!) Amusingly enough all this time we had been 'wasting' time we had missed the jewel in Mysores crown, that being its Zoo!

The zoo trip was notable for two reasons.. the first being a wooden flute seller who sold me a lovely specimen for about 10 rs! Splendid.. a bargin if i say so myself and my snake charming is coming along nicely.. not too nicely though no sign of snakes yet! Anyway the zoo.. ah well Mysore is the most stocked zoo in India boasting tigers, lions, rhinos and gorrilas to name but a few and not least a tapir! marvellous! What really makes Mysore zoo so special is its complete lack of regard for safety.. wheras say a zoo in Britain would use cages or fences to seperate beast from his lunch! Heree the use of a shallow trench appears to surfice.. fortunatley we came at feeding time and the most carnivorous of the beastys were happily disposed of already. The snakes were also amusingly kept in cages.. pity the designer ahd forgotten the nature of the snake to be a slippery beast capable of moving through small gaps, and surprisngly we couldnt see many in the cages.. I didnt bother to check the trees too hard.. I may be british through and through but I'm not entirely sure my british bowels would have held should a viper have made an airbourne attack... Anyway enoguh Mysore.. tis boring me soemwhat!

Pleasingly the bus to Kerala was a siginificant improvement on the previous one and some sleep was possible inspite of the starnge timetable the driver was keeping too.. 3.30am stop in hypullygamhhuhdnkncojnoknsvior anyone?! Wierder still is that the indiginous population were very much out and about! However better was to come.. at approximately 4.30am I was woken from a light slumber by the sound of drums.. on waking up I realsied the bus had been surrounded by numerous savages dressed only in tea towels and carrying either fire or drums and more alarminly there were war elephants!! They might not have been war elephants but they were certainly mightly dressed up (probably a bit to Liberace for war, unless it was a trick to make the otherside piss themselves)... I can only convey slightly how exciting it is to wake up in Indiana Jones and the temple of doom! it was with soem sadness however that I realised I did not posses any of the 5 egg/rock/glowy in the dark jobbys and therefore it was unlikely they were after me.. mores the pity i think i'd look god with a wip..and I already have the hat.. hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway enough of such whimsy and on with my tale.. another long one i'm afraid.. Kerala! yes indeed, well after departing the bus at a town known as Alleppey we proceeded to book a houseboat for the following night (in fact last night would you believe it), house boat booked (more of that in abit) we then began to take in the sights and delights of Alleppey........... yes and then we got on our houseboat.. crap town made worse by the fact that we saw a sign for a place called camera world ( I have the notion to buy a nice digi cam owing to the rate at which i take pics and the price it'll cost to get 300 35mm rolls of film developed!). Camera world was advertised on a huge hoarding with many cameras littering its mighty spread, so we thought game on and went looking for it.. we hired an autorickshaw for the job, the driver of which assured us he knew of it and would whisk us there for 20 rs.. deal I shouted and we were off.. however the driver didnt know where it was and instead drove to a mate to ask him about 5 mins up the road.. he didnt know either but thought it might be in that direction.. again we stopped and asked and this time were accurately dropped off outsdie camera world... two problems now arrised.. camera world was situated only about a mins walk from our starting destination however 20 rs seemed a small price to pay for the 20 mins the driver had spent locating it! The second problem is that camera world couldnt really be called a superstore... or even a shop.. more a room with 3 cameras and an optimist inside who assured me he could get whatever camera i wanted within a couple of weeks... A let down may be but I was cheered by his manner and bid him fairwell despie his tempting two week offer!

Ok people almost done now.. so the houseboat I mentioned earlier.. not like one of your english variety canal flavoured rosie and jim long boats driven by 60 year old swingers and often found parked in Godalming.. these babies were full on floating hotels.. pricey maybe but for the cash you get a slave/servant a cook and a driver and a fully furnished bedroom with ensuite and a sun deck and out door dining room.. its nice. And so we spent 24hrs cruising round Keralas back waters and living it up! One notable moment would be lunch on Sunday where we joined some locals who offered us rum ('yes thank you but only a little') and some grub.. they claimed to be actors and carpenters.. which sounds about right i suppose and proceeded to get hammered where upon one of them trid to climb a coconut tree (i'm still not sure why).. surprisingly enough he felloff.. twice! Good times i think.. anyway the only other notable occasion really was the appearance of a massive spider and i mean f***ing huge!!! He kept on doing leg dances which would normally be amusing but when its the size of your palm is more threatening than anything else! Thank god our hotel room was hermetically sealed! no bugs for us ah thankyou.. the cook didnt look that amused when I pointed out his potential bed fellow though.. still i lefta tip, that should have made up for it! Anyway tally ho and here we are today.. in fort cochin just up the road from the house boat and we're planning on staying here a little while.. this morning we bought tickets for the 4th one day cricket match here.. whioch should be good fun.. although we got the cheap seats so might actually not see much cricket! still.. all in the spirit of supporting the motherland!

Thats it for now.. if youre still reading congratulations, its that spirit that made Britian great, anyway toodle pip from me I'm off for some Chicken Tikka Masalla ... you take the brit our of Britain but you cant take the Britain out of the Brit... I salute you all.

God save the Queen

Posted by andyabroad 04:11 Comments (2)

Boulder watching

Hampi Hampi Hampi

Greetings Good People of Britain,

Well it has only been a couple of days since last time we spoke but as i still havent sent this link to anyone I suppose its more of a continuation of the last one... I have decided it is better to update the old travel weblog jobby than write in my little book (no offence Ali, tis a nice book) as I can not read my own writing and instead have decided to record interesting musings of the local population and occasionally a sketch or two when i come over all artistic!

So well last time I left you we were just leaving Goa, in hindsight Goa was rather pleasant Hippies aside but as I have come to realise Hippies seem to be a fact of life in India as much so as small children defecating on the roadside and waving as you pass by... not something you would embrace but more something you accept, abit like a third nipple.. So anyway I shall keep you abreast of any interesting Hippie spotting/bashing moments.

Onwards... we are presently stationed at a charming little village by the name of Hampi. It is a funny little place that exists amongst the ruins of what was once a huge empire apparently about 500 years ago, now it is a boulder strewn waste land with temples and palaces and ruins strewn around the place.. its quite fascinating as the locals still live in these ancient houses and stuff.. however as, if any of you care to look up on a map will see, we are now in deepest India and therefore its as hot as Satan's armpit. In fact its so hot i've become rather used to just stewing in my own sweat day in and day out.. quite a tasty prospect to wake up to, fortunately water appears to be in abundance around here although from where i'm not sure so its quite easy to dowse oneself at regular intervals. So we took the night bus from Goa whihc was a funny thing, it was made up of bunks (doubles on oneside and singles on the other), being with my lady love, we were able to arrange for a little double compartment to ourselves, sadly not for some others... I cant immagine much worse than being cooped up for 12 hrs with a hippy i've never met before who wishes only to regale you with how she was " stripsearched for drugs at the airport".. really f***ing cool! But then again thats probably about the most action a filthy hippy would get in the state she was in.. I say apologies alround i got rather worked up there.. she did then go on to confirm that she did regularly smuggle drugs in condoms secreted in various orifices.. you need hear no more surfice to say that my usual opinion of the hippies in India who require nothing more than a good spanking from Daddy and a cancellation of their allowance for a couple of months altered slightly and I suggest a 2 year stretch in a charming Indian prison! Right enough with the hippies i hear you say!

We arrived in Hampi at about half 8 in the morning feeling more than happy to have left the cramped environs of our mobile coffin! However the fun was only just begining.. as soon as you step oiff the bus about 50 touts jump out in front of you and start wailing about the best guest house in town and how they take you for 10 rupees in their rickshaw.. what this really means is that they'll take you 50m down the road to the nearest shithole where they'll try and book you in at 50 rupees over the normal price to pay for their commision.. what amazes me is the number of people who do actually jump aboard particularly as the furthest guesthouse from the bus stand is about 3 minutes walk.. sounds to me as much an excuse to actually put your backpack on your back and'backpack' otherwise you may as well bring a wheely bag (someone did so kudos to them!). Anyway we wandered around viewed a few places, basic being the operative word.. however for about 2 quid for the pair of us you cant argue to much and we settled on a place with attached bathroom but no sink interesting combo that.. what it did have was an abundance of taps! 5 in total i think one of which I'm still not sure as to its purpose! anyway... we settled in and went temple wandering where we were both marked by a red bindi spot.. whilst i consider this 'hippy fashion' i felt as the man was a temple priest fellow it wasnt right to call him out for doing his job.. suffice to say i looked like a chump for a few hours.. still worse things have happened at war!

We wondered to and fro amongst the town admiring different bits and pieces untill one epic Indiana Jones momentwhen after cresting a deserted hill we came upon a lost temple! Amazing we were the only ones there and except for a few monkeys were left to 'discover' the complex on our own.. consequently I claimed it for the queen and shall be informing the British High Commision in Calcutta of our new conquest! Well after that excitement we registered at the local police station and went off for an early night.. interestingly whilst registering at the police station it soon becomes apparent that muggings are fairly rife around here and the police have compiled a photo montage of the local offenders! Nice art boys.. how about arresting them instead! There was also a little reminder of the hazards of taking possessing and even thinking about drugs in this country with a picture of two guys currently in their 5th year at the state prison for possesion of ganga.. oops i'd thats defintely one to the police and zero the hippys.. anyway subsequently on strict instruction to be careful after dark we headed back to the room only to come under seige by cock roaches.. ok only two of them but both times i screamed like a girl and even Jennie had to tell me to calm down.. i'll have you all know I am a man of steel and rarely scream when facing death.. however when faced with beings capable of surviving a nuclear blast (immortals i tell you and ugly with it) terror took old but fear not I got both of the disease laden bug devils!

Ahh i must stop i have been here a while now.. anyway we took a guided tour today around the temples we had not yet seen.. mostly very interesting and also very hot but our guide had an interesting habit of switching between the incrediblky informative to incredibly rubbish at one point gesturing to two grand palacial buildings and saying only.. 'you look.. i wait here'.. err thanks old chap any chance you might let us know what they are! Anyway bygones i tell you.. we're off to have lunch..

tally ho

Posted by andyabroad 23:24 Comments (3)

Hola from Goa

sunny 32 °C

Hello People,

Let me take some of your time and tell you all about my holiday!! hohoho... as you may well have deduced i am in goa which is rather nice if a little full of pink bodied brits of which i suppose I am one.. ho hum! Anyway we're leaving here in about 4 hours for a place called Hampi, so it'll be bye bye to all those wannabe Hippies fresh out of public school! Dear lord how I hate hippies! Anyway so much to tell so if your seated comfortably then i'll begin...

Twas with a heavy heart that my lady love (referred to herein as her/she or maybe Jen if I'm feeling nice) and I departed a magnificently overcast Britain (herein refered to as the Motherland or Gros Brittania).. there were many tears and much fluttering of hankerchiefs as we stepped into the immigration queue where we proceeded to remain as good as stationary for about 15mins whilst our families tried to look sad to see us go and concerned for our safety which after 10 mins or so was starting to look more like concern for the price of the carpark if things were to continue in the same way, fortunately clearly the securtiy personnel changed shifts and we were ushered though by glorified Alton Towers attendants.. still I digress, onwards with my intrepid tale..

WE flew out on a Virgin aeroplane.. bad films but there you go.. arrival in Mumbai was splendid, they have some work to do to their airport and the one construction person we saw at work looked like he may have a job for life (possibly engineered by himself as he replaced marble tiles in the arrivals lounge with more marble tiles one might suggest cleaning them instead but no need to be a spoil sport on the first day!). We managed to enter the country fairly succesfully and achieved our first goal of obtaining a taxi to take us to Colaba.. a 20km drive but more than 2 hours by toy taxi. Let me just explain what I mean by toy taxi, it is now apparent that the designers of noddy's car got a fairly comfy job supplying the Bombay taxi drivers (about 3/4 of the population by the looks of things... so about 12 million then.. hmmm that seems about right) with rediculous vehicles about the size of a ford ka but shaped like a traditional car, they are i am informed fiats from the 50's and they are crrrrap! Anyway about the taxi.. driven by a mute and possibly blind lunatic (probably saved us 15mins then), he didnt say a word all trip and when i gave him a tip at the end, he looked at the 20 rupees i proffered as if i had just deffecated on my hand and asked if he'd like a taste! Unsurprisingly he eventually took it and then spat some red stuff on the pavement.. i think its an indiginous symbol of thanks (except when he does it on your shoes maybe).

So we arrived at the overpriced hotel I had booked from home, it was nice enough i suppose and was in a quiet road which actualy is probably the most valuable thing to have in Bombay, so after passing out for a few hours as one might expect one too after being cooked alive in 35 degree heat whilst simlutaneously experiencing near death at 60 mphs in a tin can time and time again.. we set off to explore bombay.

mental is one of few words that sums up the city.. people everywhere and al of them engaged in some form of activity be it begging or selling enormous ballons (and i mean enormous.. man sized ballons 6ft tall), very bizarre. what most fascinated us was the fact that it didnt matter if you were the most unlikely man in the whole of India to want a full set of plastic fighting spinny things, they would at least attempt some form of sales pitch.. however i am the sort of man who wants a full set of fighting spiny things and was within a hairs breadth of obtaining them for some ungodly sum of rupees when the other half stepped in, slapped me about abit and scared off the little urchin doing the selling.. clearly i was under some sort of jedi mind trickery these salesmen employ.. sadly i have to confirm i fell for those same mind tricks some days later but more of that later.. anyway we saw the sights that the lonely planet recommended, all of which were pretty amazing espeacially the gateway of India which conjured up in me my colonial heritage and almost had me singing rule brittania at the top of my voice!! again relaity being what is, I stopped my self and instead did what any stranger from a foreign land would do and took a picture instead! That evening we met with a guy named Bryce who i had been put in contact witth by a friend form Old Mutual.. Bryce was out there working for a partially owned OM (yes yes I know tis sad to abbreviate ones ex place of work but there you go, a company man I am) subsid... Bryce is an absolute legend who not only took us out for drinks that evening and for some of the best butter chicken I've ever had but also gave us the use of his driver Martin otherwise known as "Number 8" as in the 8th wonder of the world for his huuge knowledge (some of which maybe fictional) of all things Mumbai and beyond.. i smelled bullshit when he tried to convince us that Fujifilm was a german brand, apparantly when Martin starts a sentence with "well actually.." he may well be talking out of an orifice other than his mouth!! That said he was amazingly informative and without him and his skillfull driving we certainly would not have seen so much... highlights were seeing the Bollywood stars homes, just a tad different from Hollywood maybe!! Certainly it was a luxury to have the use of an a/c 4x4 to geta round in instead of the toy car taxis... It has to be said that Bryce went above and beyond for us, not only doing all of the above but also inviting us for dinner at his appartment byut also booking bus tickets to goa etc... So raise a glass to Bryce! Of the many other sights we saw Chor bazaar also deserves a mention.. also known as the thieves market anything you can think of that you would not expect to find in India can be found there.. tin toys form the 20's and ancient cameras among other antiques such as gramophones are everywhere and it was in one of these funny little curio shops that I bought what can only be described as a piece of crap... My weakness for tat let me down big time and Jen was powerless to stop it.. I was buzzing around the camera sellers as they all had these cool old cameras like the ones they used to take your achool picture with, the longer bendy concertina jobby with a big glass lenses on the end.. amazin! there were it should be said some very nice ones there bound to be worth a few quid in england but being the tight arse that i am, there was no way i was spending 25 squid in India on an old camera, so instead I managed to plump for a 1960's German compact camera with a foldy snout bit like i wanted, but that didnt work and and has the appeal in hind sight of congealed bird shit! still it only cost me 7 squid (it still hurts to say it) so let by gones be by gones, still it haunts me the look of glee in the sellers eye as he pocketed my 500 rupees.. ah well lets put it down to experience!

Enough aready I hear you say.. well ok then, we left Bombay that same day on a luxury sleeper bus which was surprisingly quite luxury.. National express could learn a thing or too.. however the inflight entertainment was a little trying, Bollywood anyone.. classic stunts though and lots of posing and a bit of song and dance so all good! anyway we made it about 14 hrs later to sme back water of Goa and transferred on to a bus to take us to this idyllic little beach called Palolem,, a jolly nice beach with charming little beach huts! however there is one problem it is stuff full of hippies and not free love ones, i'm talking about "i'll just call daddy on my mobile whilst you get some herbal tea and incense" type hippies, fresh out of Marlbrough and the like.. toads all of them!! still there you go thats Goa and you cant exect much else.. on the plus side its cheap.. about 30 p a beer and and about 60p for a big bottle so thats always good.. hmmm and thats about it I have been pursued by thou8sands of tiny little crabs on the beach and Jen has been harrased by locals so I'd say we've ticked most boxes for Goa, there are some other places i'd like to see here but time being what it is i fear we will not see them! Ok then peeps thats about it from me think i've written quite a lot i hope its not all nonsense..

ciao

ahh wait i havent told you about the plastic towel i bought.. wel thats about it.. it was a plastic towel and therefore about as useful as a chocolate teapot! A plastic towel! give me a break.. only in India.. take care untill next time!

Posted by andyabroad 02:48 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

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