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09/05/2009

Mercredi 1 Avril -16ème jour - Hampi

P1060439 [800x600].JPGI am going to write this note and some of the next ones in English (at least try to) as I am going to talk about Alex and Ellie, both of them speaking english, even if Alex can understand French. Be indulgent with my written english. (I would appreciate the English or American natives to correct within the commentaries the grammar or vocabulary mistakes).

Waking up in the train few minutes before arriving at Hospet Station. My first reflex is to go again in direction of the train’s doors to enjoy the fresh air and the landscape without any windows. It is so different from the north. There are some palm trees, the climate is hot and dry already. It is very pleasant to be able to see the horizon in the countryside without to many buildings.

The Hospet’s train station is very small. As we were going out of course some rickshaw were approaching us. I was going straight, and P1060443 [800x600].JPGwas wondering which rickshaw I was going to take, when a girl (Alex), asked me whether I was going to Hampi. This time I was quite organized (which is not usual during that trip for the details), I had noted all the indications that Shanti’s guest house were providing and know that a rickshaw to Hampi mustn’t cost more thant 100 rupees, then take after a little boat to cross the river which cost 10 rupees.

“ – Do you speak French ?”, I asked Alex in order to talk about the prices without the Rickshaw understanding.

“ – Oui, je peux comprendre un peu.

- Cool, je vais à Hampi au Shanti Guest House et vous ?

- Nous aussi !

- j’ai lu que ça ne devait pas coûter plus de 100 roupies, si vous voulez on y va à 3 »

After having negotiated with the Rickshaw for 90 rupees, and we all three going up on it ! As Ellie and Alex have huge luggage, I am going in front of the rickshaw close to the driver, hanging up to the richshaw, this is funny. It takes approximately a 40 minutes to reach Hampi, and the road is wonderful, I feel like being in vacations, which is quite funny as I am in fact in vacations. But you know, the palm trees, the great weather, the atmosphere, being far from cities.

P1060450 [800x600].JPGDiscussing with Alex and Elly. Alex is from Switzerland, it has been almost two months that P1060475 [800x600].JPGshe was in India, studying/working at .... (Alex I have forgotten the name where you were ?). She met Elly through, if my memory is good, her ex flatmate, or something like that. (Please correct me girls if this is wrong ;)). She will leave soon back home after her trip in Hampi and Goa. Elly is Irish and doing also a one-year round world trip, and traveling alone as well !

Hampi Village is only almost a main street, what they call Hampi Bazar. Compared to Delhi, this bazaar is for me a peaceful village ! Our rickshaw left us and we had to walk a little bit on the right (5 minutes) before arriving at the Shanti Guest House. I am quite surprise. It doesn’t look like the description, as I was supposed to take a boat. Elly asked the receptionist for the booking. He found their rooms but not mine. We have the explanation. I am at the other Shanti Guest House, across the river.

So we decide to meet for lunch later, they will call me when ready. I am going on my way to the river (5 more minutes walking). Easy to find, the “boat” is a little one, and there are some backpackers down here already. Hampi is very touristic as Stéphanie from Agra told me, but it doesn’t matter, because Hampi is such as a little paradise (as she told me also). It is not already 10 am, and it is already very very hot. It takes only 1 minute to cross the “river”, and then we have to go up a little bit. Once being upstairs, I have to turn right and walk approximately 10 minutes to reach my place. Naturally some Indians try to make me check in into their guesthouses. But it’s ok, I think that after Delhi, everything seems quiet and peace.

 

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I am appreciating this far from everything’s place. My guesthouse is a sort of tiny paradise. I have my own bungalow in front of the paddy fields, with a hammockk. He did not find me as well, but gave me this room. It’s expensive for India (800 ruppies), but it is the good price. My room is really clean, the bathroom as well. There is mosquito net, and … the place is so quiet. I will come back for sure in this place but with books, and for one month if I can. It is the perfect place for a retreat and being on your own. But come when it’s not the touristic season (so April) even if it is the hottest. In fact, in Hampi you see lot of sort of original people who seem to don’t belong to our century anymore. In my guesthouse, there were one guy who was in Hampi for months… If you stay there for such a period, coming back to reality must be quite a strange exercise, I think. I don’t know Goa or all the other wonderful places of course, but I loved the Hampi’s atmosphere.

 

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Arriving in my bungalow, I try to reach the girls but our mobiles don’t work well (which in a way contribute to the fact you feel out of P1060567 [800x600].JPGnowhere). SMS sent, I only have to wait now on my hamac (how hard it is ;) ) that they’re calling meP1060573 [800x600].JPG back, after having taken a good cold shower !!! Around 10/11 am I think, Alex sent me an sms to tell me they were at the Mango Tree Restaurant for the brunch/lunch. The only good restaurant of Hampi, where you can eat or stay all the afternoon just having coffee/tea, and enjoying the place… Of course it is a sort of westerns’ meeting point as it is in all guides, but it’s not a problem. The place is really relaxing.

I took my boat again to cross the river because to the restaurant is on the other side and while waiting I am discussing with a very nice Indian from Cashmere who is working in tourism. He has just finished the touristic season in Hampi, will go back for couple of month in his native region, before coming back to Hampi. He told me that now everything was closed or almost in Hampi and warned me to be aware of snakes while walking.

I found Alex and Elly already eating their meals (Alex loved what she took but I don’t remember the name of it). I ordered as well something quite good (but forgot the name of my dishes also). Lying on the floor, we discussing about lot of things : the reason of Elly’s travel, Alex’s future reconversion as a sex therapist, what they have done before.. I really like this side of my trip, meeting lot of international people, it is as interesting as living with the locals or the expatriates.

The big surprise of this brunch was the NUTELLA’s crêpe ! I didn’t believe it when reading on the menu… but it was a real, so f… good nutella’s French crêpe. So amazing to find this sort of food in the middle of nowhere in India. So good too !

 

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But Alex suddenly didn’t feel well. She was becoming red in some part of her body, and a real pain. At the beginning we thought it was nothing only a sort of insect’s bite. In fact it was a caterpillar’s bite that Elly found on her clothes (that’s it, girls ?). And the people told her she had the symptoms: fever, cold, not cold. She went rapidly back to her room. Elly and I were finishing our meals, then went back on our way as well. We had decided to have an afternoon free, just enjoying the place without visiting. We stopped in a little shop, where I was able to buy some local sarwal (in a light tissue) because mine from Delhi were really too hot down here. For 500 ruppies, 2 sarwals, 3 little tops. Quite a good deal.

 

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As we splat, we decided to meet again for dinner, or the day after. Told Elly that I would try to come to pick them around 9, otherwise would be too hot after to visit. Back in my little paradise, I was so happy to enjoy my afternoon with books on the hammoc It was though so hot, that I was every ten/fifteen minutes under my cold shower. But it was a perfect afternoon. I loved Hampi. Probably one of my best souvenir, even if it is quite hard to compare it to the cities given that it is not the same thing.

 

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At the end of the day, I tried to send an sms with my Indian mobile, but I didn’t have any more credits, and my French mobile for an unknow reason didn’t work neither. Suddenly I received an sms from Alex telling me if I wanted to join them at another restaurant. But I couldn’t not call her back. Moreover there was no boat anymore for me to cross the river. I would see them tomorrow.

 

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Close to my bungalow there was an English couple. They decided to come here, because their daughter had made a round world trip before and suggested them to come to this place. I stayed quite long on my hammoc until the night came. Sometimes there were electricity cuts, so I was lighted with candles. The silent was amazing. And being able to see all the wonderful stars, listening to the night’s noises was so…. Undescriptible well-being. Just the night, the silent, the soft wind, the insects and lot of unidentified animals, my candle, my pens, scratch book and books (this night I was finishing the Traité sur l’immensité du monde from Sylvain Tesson & Aden Paradis from Paul Nizan). Paradise and Serenity. I wish time could stop in Hampi.

I’m sure that I didn’t go to be late, there you fell asleep very late and I had to wake up early the day after…. World disconnection.


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