Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enough adventure for a day - Hampi Day1 Episode 2

We started screaming and scooting towards the parked ferry. The ferry driver acknowledged our pleas and did say something in return. But still we were not sure if what he said was "Ok I am waiting for you guys. Thank God K is blessed with long legs :) He was able to cover a lot of ground quickly and make it to the ferry first. He was followed by Sam. Wearing a pair of slippers which were breathing their last, I was the last one to be scurrying towards the shores. A little before the ferry was parked, was 3 metres of sludge and mud. K was totally in touch with the elements and gleefully waded through it. In fact seeing him from a distance, I never gauged, the mud was so slippery and well .. so muddy :) I was also fine, just concerned about my track pants which were getting dirty ( We had shoe string supply of clothes :) ) But the funniest sight was poor Sam whose precious Lee Coopers were getting a savage treatment.

Somehow we reached the ferry (the ordeal of those 3 metres seemed NEVER ending to me honestly) Once there, I blissfully remarked "Phew! Enough adventure for a day I think"

Once we reached the banks of the river, we got an auto and asked him to take us to any of the guest houses there. We had heard of Rahul guest house being a decent one and decided to check that out first. It ended up being fully occupied. We checked out a couple more and the good ones were taken (always happens be it guest houses or men :D ). Guest houses in Hampi have a strange way of working. Mostly they are houses with some of the rooms being converted to guest rooms. Most of the common space might even be shared with the original inmates of the house. All of these guest houses are located within a close circumference of the river banks. Since the guest houses were not so palatable for us, we asked the auto rickshaw driver to take us to some hotel. He said the hotel there was a government recognised hotel. We travelled nearly 8 kms to reach hote Mayura Bhubaneswari which looked more like a ruin in itself. The front desk person was a typical goverment memsaab. When asked if there were any rooms free, she first vehemently denied. When we urged her if there is ANYthing at all, any sort of room, she showed us a 4 seater. I felt pretty suffocated in there. There was absolutely no ventilation and since there was no electricity as well, it seemed more like a dungeon. We went up to the lady and said, the room was not good enough. Then she said, the presidential suite was there - 5600 bucks!! K was so worn out with the whole affair of searching for a hotel room, that he was game for taking it up. Seeing his enthusiasm, Sam and I were also inching towards taking it up. Then we asked, if we could be shown that room. And that room was a wow!! It was toooo plush. It was very very tempting. But 2 things hit us back - it was exhorbitantly priced - the acco charge was not even what we had spent entirely on the trip till now - and, there would be power cuts in that room also. Come on if we were paying that kind of money, the least we could expect was electricity. So we left the whole idea and went up to the auto driver and asked him to take us to some other hotel.

And wonder of wonders, he said that was the only hotel!! Sam was getting ballistic by this time and was very edgy. She insisted to the auto driver to take us to a nice guest house, which would be having electricity supply. The auto driver promised he would take us to a good place. Driving the entire 8 kms back, we came to the same guest house zone. There the auto driver took us through the most dingy by lanes and brought us to a guest house. The owner here seemed very very snobbish. We had a hell of a lot of heckling to do to get a room with one extra mattress. It was already 1900 by then. He was insistent that we check out at 0900 the next morning. ( This is a standard norm in Hampi. All the hotels and guest houses insist on checking out at 9 in the morning) Paying 1k for a stay of hardly a night was not something we were not willing to buy. But beggars cannot be choosers so reluctantly we agreed. As we were settling in the room, suddenly he came up with the form. The form kinda had a declaration of what all we were possessing and that we would take responsibility of whatever was with us. Till then it was fine, the next thing the hotel owner stated that we had to get the declaration signed at the nearest police station. Now that made us loose it. We were simply not ready to go to the police station of all the places. We started yelling at the hotel owner( God only knows what all we yelled in which language :) ) Then we stomped out of the place and threateningly requested the auto rickshaw driver to take us to a 'decent' place. I don't know why we were venting it all on him, poor thing, he did not have the divine responsibility to take care of us. But then the poor man brought us out from the dingy lanes where he had initially placed us. Once out in broader roads, we happened to see yet another guest house. We decided might as well check this out.

The owner of this guest house happened to be a very courteous man. He was also insistent on the check out at 0900hours timing and getting the declaration stuff signed at the police station, but he said that with a smile, with humility and with hospitality which was endearing. We agreed to his conditions (strangely I think he completely missed getting the declaration signed from us.) and ended up paying for 2 days stay. But we were happy with the place. It was a strange place to be honest. Pity I do not have any pictures of the place. It was located some 50 meters from the river banks and had a pleasant wind wafting through it. The room we took was the very first room of the guest house, it was just 4 steps away from the street. As an afterthought Sam and I felt, how accessible it was to an outsider if the good for nothing grill gates were not closed. But since it was so close to the street the room had the lion's share of the wind. The room was very cornily painted in a strawberry pink color and had some clumsy stuffed toys and a broken clay parrot for decoration :D There were shops selling funky wares around it and there were quite a few coffee joints and eateries around.

Once we had our luggage nicely parked, we went went ahead in search of dinner. We placed ourselves at the dinner lounge at 1930hours and trust me we came out at 2230hours. Yep, thats true, 3 solid hours. Thats the pace at which things proceed in Hampi. The problem what I felt was the cuisine is too exotic for any preparations to be made ahead of time. One may have absolutely no idea what the customer might order when the menu hosts things from pasta to pancakes to parathas to puddings to pizza and plethora of things. It ranges from continental to oriental to mexican and american. All of the items are available at all the times and the restaurants are grossly understaffed at times. Hence things are bound to take a verrrry slow pace. But while we had 3 hours, we chatted a lot. It was nice to see Sam and K bonding. They are both a number 7 (born on the 7th day of a month) and somehow I had felt, their innate similarity had repelled them from each other initially. Never had they been able to establish a rapport with each other. During this trip somehow, the time they had, gave them a chance to see beyond the initial judgmental attitude to delve into how alike they were from a point. Neither of them is a person who can make another comfortable in their company easily. So with time, they grew comfortable with each other. I was a mere listener to their conversations and thoroughly enjoyed their increasing friendship.

As soon as we reached our rooms, we retired, since we had opted for an early morning tour in the same auto rickshaw driver who had droven us around.



10 comments:

Jack said...

Amrita,

Thanks for the virtual trip to Hampi. I was scared that you might trip and have nice mud bath. Waiting to get up and move on for next day.

Take care

Antarman said...

Good virtual trip! thoroughly enjoyed it and now I will thinki twice before going to Hampi:)

Amrita said...

Antarman - Yea its a bit hyped place.. does deserve a thought before venturing forth to.. but you may immensely enjoy some of the thrills there... so if you get a good group, do not miss it

~PakKaramu~ said...

Visiting your blog

Abhishek Khanna said...

i like the walking in muddy water part :D

btw why so much police verification thing? :O

Amrita said...

@Abhishek - might be cos of the hippie junta there

(¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

Its good knowing about the place. enjoy your cool adventures! :-)

Nitin said...

hahahah .... it seems u had a blast over there....

So u heard the music from musical pillar @ Vithal Temple ?
Hampi is a gud place to visit.. but accommodation and food is always problem there. Its better to stay at Bellary or Hospet. And hire a cab....(so that u can also have some adventure of humpy ride :))

Reflections said...

I enjoyed reading this.....almost felt like some of the trips we've undertaken;-D

p.s: tht autodriver was really sweet huh;-o

Satish Nagasubramaniam said...

Phew ... I felt physically tired after reading this post, what a lovely description. No wonder you are my fav blogger :)

I always set out of my place IF and ONLY IF I have proper hotels booked and reserved for me :)

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