Saturday 14th October 2017 (Day 17)
So we spent the night in Madgaon and ventured out. I think so far, this is the worst place we have been (and that’s including the slums we went to yesterday). People and animals in Madgaon are bony and starving and laid on the floor in exhaustion or drunk. I felt uncomfortable and anxious walking around here, and no, not because of my safety and ‘poor little white girl doesn’t want to see the poor people’, but because in this particular part of India, white people are seen as people with money and I didn’t want to be seen as walking around on a tour to see struggling people. I felt sad for them all and there were many deformed. We didn’t wander for long. It is a quiet city with NO tourists and I guess not much money being pumped in. We went back to the hotel and Nick persuaded me to go to a local café for food.
The next morning, we were on a train to Hampi. A long 6 hour train to Huballi, 2 hour wait and another 3 hour train to Hospet junction. We’ve felt very odd in the sense that we haven’t seen hardly any tourists since arriving in India. That’s also amazing and I love that we are in places that not many others have ventured. In Hubballi, we had people asking for photos with us. The train went through one of Indias national parks which was stunning. Waterfalls, monkeys, jungle, cliffs etc.
When we arrived at Hospet, our Rickshaw driver approached us – Korfi and his brother Prowin. They were both lovely and we had a 30 minute drive to the hotel in the dark. We couldn’t see any temples etc on the way into Hampi but in the morning, we realised we were surrounded by them.
We were a bit disappointed with the room. It was bright pink and badly decorated which is fine (we are on a budget) however, sheets had stains and pillows weren’t washed. There were little ant and spider colonies on the ceiling. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep here, however, this place had shutters and mozzy screens. Fingers crossed!
Again, Nick convinced me to go out for dinner in the dark. We literally waked arund to the parallel street where Nick proposed a restaurant he had found on Tripadvisor. We walked up to it and every table was filled with tourists. We had dinner and went back to the hotel to sleep. I didn’t sleep too bad. 2 hours awake hearing noises but then back to bed.
Next day, we were up and out by 8.30am and walked around a lot of temples. We went to the elephant stables and then got a boat over the river to ‘The monkey temple’. We hired a moped and then climbed 575 steps to the top of the mountain surrounded by monkeys. I’m not scared of heights but my legs turned to jelly when we climbed up onto the rocks at the top of the mountain and then walked across small cement bridges between the rocks that locals had built and were as wide as your foot…
Stray dogs climbed and jumped around the rocks like the monkeys that also lived up there. We walked back down and legs were ven more wobbly by the bottom. We hopped back on the moped and drove in the opposite direction to find a lake we had been told about. “People swim in it but there used to be crocodiles” we were told. It was a swimming reservoir. Huge. And a road separated it from a valley. It was pretty beautiful.
Next morning, we were preparing to leave but went down to the river at 9am to see the ‘holy elephant’ being bathed. Absolutely stunning, smart and peaceful animal but I felt sad for her. She was here on her own and wasn’t allowed to play. The man washing her was very stern and used one word commands and a tap of a bamboo stick to get her to roll over onto whoever side he was washing. It was routine and she looked sad.
We had breakfast and then Prowin and Korfi took us to Hospet Junction.
I also bought some anklets in Hampi – 300 Rupees for two! I’m slowly learning so much about the people and religions here in India and its fascinating.