HAMPI IS PRETTY SPECTACULAR SO FAR - Tuesday Afternoon.
It seems to be an Asian version of Tikal in Guatemala, but I have a feeling the ruins are much newer. I will find out more. The used guidebook I have purchased has had the page on Hampi torn out.
TRIP BETWEEN GADAG AND HAMPI
There was large acreage of very organized farming between Hampi and Gadag. This is NOT a subsistence are of farming, the farmer here seem to have all the modern equipment, although they do grow heavy manual labor crops like peppers, watermelons, and vegetables. I see people working the smaller hand type crops. There was no rice in this area, but lots of Sunflowers and corn. This was very beautiful and I hope that some of my photos came out, although I had trouble depicting the actual way it looks. Each field is around 40 acres large, and has separate crops. They are not separated by fence, but more different levels. The closer I got to Hampi and the crops turned to Bananas and Rice. But the ground is very hilly and large river rocks are everywhere. There is lots of water and rice I believe can be harvested 3 times a year. Bananas can grow in rough terrain.
It would be very hard for me to say India is poor. There are so many modern government features. The water, the sewer systems, the roads, and small features are examples. For instance in every bus stop there is a toilet. This seems petty, but this is a big deal for poor countries. This is systematic, and obviously done by the government. The building design is often exactly the same.
Two other features that are signs of government are price tags on products in stores, and receipts given on the bus. This was unheard of in countries like Mexico where they always have the opportunity to gouge. The first time I realized about the price tags was in Bogotá Colombia where I learned that by law they must have price tags on things for sale. This is not universal in India, but for sure in the bigger stores. Oh yea, on the back of product here is a price also. So the owner of store will show you the price on the back of some packaged products. Negotiating for everything stops competition and leads to price gouging. Plus then the consumer will try to negotiate too hard, and every business is in a state of failure, better to have the price tags.
HAMPI - Tuesday afternoon.
I arrived in Hampi this morning after about two hours of bus travel. I was trying to determine if it was best to say in Hospet or Hampi, but I am for sure positive now that Hampi is better. The rooms are about 80 Rupees, although I am paying 150 because I was too lazy to walk around and first Hotel I was shown is extremely nice, I was tired. I may be paying the fee for a double room and the room I saw at the other Hotel was for a single. Right now though I am not looking for price as much as a place where I can meet and talk with people. I have noticed that there appears to be a lot less Brits here and the world seem culturally balanced. Although I do not think there probably is any Americans. But that is normal also. I guess anything under 150 is good, and it is extremely easy to find room here in India for 100-125 Rupees. That is between 2 and 3 U.S. Dollars. I am getting the impression though I am going to have to watch the Hotel owners a little closer. I will talk with other people and see if I need to negotiate for rooms all the time. I do not negotiate much; because I figure the harder I negotiate the less happy the owner is, and the less happy the owner is, the more likely I am to be robbed by the owner. I would bet a lot of money the first time I get robbed of everything it will be an owner of a hotel. Of course there is a huge chance of getting robbed by a Taxi driver.
HOT WATER SPONGE BATH - Tuesday Morning - Gadag, India
I made a real Hotel blunder and am in a Hotel for 1 Dollar a night. I think the drop from 2 Dollars to 1 Dollar was dramatic. I had the help of this local boy, and it was a pressure cooker social condition where if I told the boy it was a crappy place, I would be telling him he lived in crap because it was also his home or hotel. He is a guy that came to the city to sell products to the local venders. I am in Gadag and he is from the city I just left called Hubli. It is probably about twice to three times the size of Gadag.
I have learned a couple of ways to check out hotels that has not been normally needed though in most countries. I normally am looking for security or safety from theft. But here I am going to have to look for one step higher on the pig level. These places can be very dirty. But there are also hotels like or similar to the Iraq ones. They have like male boarding house, or all male places. This leads to pig behavior in any country. Just think of a Fraternity at a University.
1. Places that only have men.
2. I need to check out the toilet.
3. I need to check out noise levels.
I am while I am typing this, trying to heat a 2.5 gallon bucket for hot water. The place is dirty enough that the only way I will feel comfortable with the water is if it also hot. I need a daily shower and this is my personal problem. I should be able to go 2 days, but just cannot. So I am going to heat a bucket of water and take a sponge type bath and see if it is enough water to clean my hair.
But I can tell you I am in a lowlife place I believe. It is low life even for India. It is like the India version of a New York City flophouse. There is a constant drone of men clearing their throats and spitting. I think of all the behaviors that I could live without; this would be the first on my list. That is why I need to check the noise in hotels. I want to know if I can get to the back or away from the bodily noised of the other guest. This is not just this hotel. It is all hotels in the whole world. In this hotel it is at an overly obnoxious level, but it is in any hotel anywhere. I can never understand anyone wanting to live in a dorm room in a Hostel. This is just taking the bodily function noise level to outstanding heights. Fortunately in those places I can just tell them to leave the room or shut up. A little violent induced or persuasion - coercion that normally works. A good ability to threaten is needed to travel everywhere in the world.
The hot water heater worked. I am going to go wash my hair. The water is good here; it is the toilet that makes me feel bad. But hot water is free of algae and fungus. I am paranoid now about fungus, but realize that hot water is needed in the world for good hygiene.
I purchased 2 coil type 220 one-cup heaters. It worked perfect and did a whole bucket of water almost too hot. The energy draw is perfect for the hotels with weak electrical or inadequate systems for my heavy-duty water heater. The only way to know the level though it to test it. If it does not work, I blow the fuses or breakers and have no lights, being that is still dark outside, this is a not a good test to perform. Only in the daylight, But the true solution is for me to only use low wattage heaters.
Oops, the water at the top of bucket was hot the bottom was cold. I need the type on my help Andy page.
It is very difficult to study a countries water and sewer system, but I have to say the fresh drinking water system in India is one of the best I have encountered in these developing countries of the world I have visited. So far… I have only been in 2 of the 28 states.
What I see or how it work here… I think? It is very difficult.
There are water lines strategically ran to areas. These are very good pipe systems and the quality of the line is way beyond normal for most underdeveloped countries.
Most countries have water or try to run water to every house. This is not always adequate so the locals supplement the water with well water, or they store lot of water in tanks either above ground or below ground. A tank on the building roof is good. Below ground is bad because the sewer water seeps into the water. Above ground in the tank is also bad because they do not clean the tanks. But here in India there appears to be an obvious separation between systems. They do not try to run water to every house. Just the richer house, but they then give free water to the locals at the pump station or the water tap station. They have strategically placed water taps around the neighborhoods for people to brink the plastic version of the old fashion well pots and fill up with drinking water. This makes showering difficult, and more toward the sponge bath method, but this make the drinking water cleaner. So if I can keep checking the water taps I can see where the water comes from and how they get it?
The sell bottled water here in India, but I never see a local drinking bottle water. I know they do, because it is sold, but this is probably just the wealthier. It is like people in the USA that drink bottled water. Who know why, but they do, and they must think it taste better.
The better the water in a country, the better the health of the country. India seems pretty healthy. A few too many bums, and beggars. But if you tripled the number of people of the USA you would see a lot more bums and beggars also. There are lot of bums and beggars in Europe also, so this is just a dirtier looking bum…. Hehehe
I am laughing to myself. The reason bums in tropical areas are dirty is because they live in tropical areas. People tend to be lazier and not work in tropical areas. If there is not a good freeze to make them get a job, the normal person just likes to sit around. Give them free water.. Which they have in India, and they have their water. I can eat here for about 50 cents USA per day. So for 20 Rupees a day you can live on the streets and not work.
I am thinking about the economics of being a bum in India. It is easy here, but not that many bums really for how easy it is to be a bum. They do seem to congregate around the areas of the cities where there is the most traffic. They need to get a handout. I have given a lot in this country because of the old age and the people with no legs or arms or whatnot.
What is bad about the beggar of India in comparison to the beggar of say Europe or South America and such is that they are persistent. I think they have about the same percentages in the end, but the ones here are on the obnoxious level. I have told a few to get lost and shoo them away. I have had little children follow me for a block. I sometime stop and buy them food. But the simple and easy thing to do is to give them a Rupee. A paid bribe to get rid of them. The guidebook keeps saying to carry around candies. This seems stupid and just gives them too much sugar. This will help rot the teeth and make their lives even more ugly. I buy them some form of bread product. I suppose I could give them a toothbrush.. Hehehe.
They are an obnoxious bunch though here in this country and I am sure this really puts the western world in a tizzy when they travel in India. This would be a tour operator’s nightmare. The local need to behave and stay away from the tourist or the tour company would be considered bad. To say the least, taking people on tours of India would be like saying to a person,
“Hello, come along with me to India, where you can have dirty and ugly looking people touch you.”
Does the Pope shake hands with bums?
I can see in the end, I am not prejudice against poor or dirty people. They are poor and dirty, not good competition in the world for them. They are not doing well. What is more disgusting to me is the wealthy that take advantage of their position and abuse or steal. I have a lot of middle class people steal from in the world. Cheat or nab free or easy money to nick from me, and this is disgusting. A poor person asking for money is pretty up front and honest. Obnoxious just the same, but easier to respect them, than the person in the hotel that cheats me on my bill.
MISSED THE BUS TO HAMPI
I could have taken a fancy air-conditioned bus to Hampi today, but it left at 5:30 am. That is early for me, and I am a very early riser. I was trying to make up my mind on whether to stop in Gadag or go straight for Hampi, which is about 3-4 hours away. The AC bus would be a little higher classed people, cleaner and probably a little faster. So more comfortable, but 5:30 is a complicated time. Probably for speed they want to be on the road when there are no cars. The trains and fancy buses here are so inconvenient so far. There is probably a bus every 15 minutes for Gadag by the local’s method of travel, but with the fancy bus I have to leave at 5:30. The guidebook just totally skips or I think it skips the local transportation and goes for the first class stuff. India is like Central and South America, just get on the bus and go. In countries where the language is different like Thailand or maybe China and communication is 20 times more difficult then the fancy buses are better. But I can find people anywhere here that speaks some level of English so life is really easy.
The bottom line is whether you want to associate with the local that is poorer or the locals that are a little richer. I see both of them spit, piss, or clear their throats and other disgusting behavior, but the richer do have better clothes. Their basic behavior is still India culture. In Thailand the people and especially the girls could take 2-4 showers a day in some places. This made me feel good. Everything in India is a little on the dirty side. Nothing is real real clean.
I could compare it to living on a farm. You walk out the door to the tramp shed and it has a problem. It is dusty, full of cow manure and just never real clean. You have to shower and have rooms separated in the house to be clean. A good farmer separates the room and how they work from the way they live. But really in about 60 percent of the USA farmer’s homes there is not a good separation. So the people of India sort of live in the mess more.
LEAVE FOR GADAG, INDIA
In between Goa and Hampi are a few cities. I have just hopped from one to the next. I will go to Gadag today and stay, and then I will go to Hospet where most people must stay for their visit to Hampi. I am still trying to figure out why I am going to Hampi? But everyone tells me to go and that is normally a good sign, but then again the guidebook said last night there are a lot of foreigners doing drugs there. I try to separate the good party from the good places. Lots of travelers search for the good party or havens of other foreigners.
The only clear reason to go to Hampi I can see it that there is a river that runs along or maybe a large lake. It is at a higher altitude and normally mountains with rivers make for a beautiful surrounding. Plus it makes it very difficult to farm so there are normally lots of trees. Most of the national or state parks are located in areas where it is difficult to farm. So it may be heaven to visit, but impossible to live there. The guide said that 80 percent of the citizens of the state of Karnataka make a living by farming. This is not subsistence farming here, but more of large-scale tractor farming, so this statistic is probably a little on the high side. I am sure that in one way or another it is related to farming. Cotton seems to be the big cash maker for the area.
THESE COCKROACHES ARE ANNOYING ME
I just woke up and when you turn on the lights a cockroach starts to look for a dark place to hide. They are walking around the room. What is sad is how easy it would be to kill them in this room. It is a solid concrete room on the 3 floor of concrete building. There is not place for them to hide really. Just behind a few pieces of furniture, but mostly behind the sink and the desk attached to the wall. One good spraying and this room would be free of cockroaches. In made with drywall or bamboo or such there are millions places to hide. Especially when it has a tile roof or some fancy roof. A good concrete ceiling makes me happy. If I wanted to live in this room for an extended period I would just go and buy some spray.
People think that this is because I live in a cheap hotel, but cockroaches are everywhere in hot or tropical areas. I was working as a waiter in a Holiday on the beach in Port Saint Lucie, Florida or maybe Jensen Beach. I cannot remember, it was 20 years ago. But we took the seat in 100 dollar a place restaurant up and below installed seat were swarms of cockroaches. It always seems to be where furniture or fixtures are installed loosely on walls, floors, or ceiling.
BLANKET PURCHASE - Monday Morning
I bought a blanket or a cover of some form yesterday. I will not call it a blanket and it is really not a sheet. It is between; maybe best to say it is like a think cotton curtain material. But probably perfect for what I want, a layer of more material for warmth. This makes it now so I have 3 - 5 possible layer if needed.
1. A duvet cover, which is a big pillowcase with 2 sides of sheet material.
2. A cotton cover blanket that is like a double thickness of sheet.
3. My poncho that is will not breath easily and would keep the heat of my body inside.
4. Mosquito net.
5. I suppose my clothes.
Why all this thought in a country so hot? I am going up in altitude and there are places on the map that could be cold. I got caught a couple of times in countries where I froze. Taxco Mexico, Quito, Ecuador. Plus on lots of buses it is freezing. The air-conditioned buses in countries like Thailand or South and Central American can make life very miserable. Sometimes on planes it is freezing and not possible to find a blanket worth a darn. With the perfect blanket (Which KLM lost) I can travel on any type of transportation in comfort and sleep in any type of room in comfort. Normally the biggest difference in the end between a 5 Star and a -1 Star Hotel is the regulating of air temperature.
I like air conditioning, but it is also a trap. It makes me not want to leave the building. I am now accustomed to the heat or climate, so I do not think about it much. But cold is a lot bigger problem than heat. To me when I drink too much water, or go in and out of air conditioning all the time the water levels in my body are always confused so I sweat too much. Getting very sweaty make me uncomfortable.
WALKING AT NIGHT IN INDIA
I was laying around in my room reading and I had enough, wanted a change so I went outside and walked around the city of Hubli. It was about 9:15 PM and the city was alive. It is always noisy, but the night shift had came out. Most of it was the same stuff, lots of noise, lots of motorized Rickshaws and big trucks. Oh yea, and there is always tons of buses passing a few tractors. But the people are everywhere and this is an overly full situation.
Standing on a corner and two girls in one of them open door motorized Rickshaw taxis waved at me. They wanted me to come talk. I looked at the traffic that was about to leave the stop light and knew they was crazy, and they hoped I was suicidal. Cars definitely have the right of way here in India, in fact anything has the right of way beyond a human walking, so it would be crazy for me to walk over and say hello.
They went around the block and go out of the Rickshaw. I have no idea what they were up to except the started to follow me, soon they ask my name. That was the 3 words they knew in English and it was obvious they did not want to talk to me in public. So I laughed and they laughed and we separated. A drunk walks up and shakes my hand. He is very happy and I give him a sign saying you upped the bottle and he nods his head. He is laughing. The sweet shop guy wants me to give him a job in the USA and help him go there. This is normal stuff. But the night is different than the day.
Oh yea. I killed 4 baby cockroaches when I returned to the room. I smashed them into the concrete floor. That is a lot of suicidal cockroaches walking around my room at one time. They were babies, but not they are flat.
The things I eat… aagh. I have not desire to try the foods of the world. This probably the lowest things on my list of reasons to travel, but inevitably people feel that tasting the local foods is necessary. This is the locals trying to convince me to try foods. There is a small restaurant below this hotel and I have eaten there a few times. I stay close to my favorite of fried rice, but I just left there and the young boys convinced me to try something. In the end it appears to be Gobi Masala or some words close to that, I believe that translates to a coated spice fried Cauliflower. I ate few and try to convince them I was delighted, but then made my exit… hehehe