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
I now wish I was in Iraq again. There will be huge parties all over the country. The people of Iraq are very happy I am positive.
Andy in Gadag, India
I have decided to stay one more night in Hubli. I suppose this is an Internet decision because I have found a combination of computer, Internet, and access speed that I need. Plus the Fried Rice is very good in the Hotel here for 10 Rupees.
INDIA HAS BROADBAND
That is true, but the effect is different then reality. India has in larger cities broadband or very fast access to the Internet. But this doe not mean a lot when they share it with 20 plus computers and by the time you are done it is the same speed as a normal dial up. What I do have is a window of 1 hour when the Internet café’s just open that I have the use of broadband. Especially when the Internet café opens at 9:00 and not 10:00. Indian people remind me in so many ways of Mexicans, they are sort of slower on the draw, but once they do draw their gun, they can shoot a lot during the day.
The Mexican culture does not get up very early, but move a lot during the morning from about 10-12. They take a siesta or do nothing from about 1-4:00 and then they are busy until about 9:00 at night. This is the same as the Indian culture. This includes the Siesta. I have no idea what they call it here, but they have a time between 1 and 4:00 in the afternoon where nothing happens, or the city business’s close and very little happens. Just not the time to do anything needed. But either is 9:00 the morning, because nothing has opened fully. If you wait until 10:00 most of the stores are open and you have a wind of time between 10 and 12 where you’re most likely to find or be able to accomplish something.
The Internet opens at 9:00 here.
What that mean is I have from 9:00 till 10:00 this morning where the average Joe Blow is sleeping, and the Internet should or may be empty. I have that broadband line to myself more or less. It is Sunday and normally that optimized my chances also.
I am going on my instinct that the owner or manager of the Internet Café shows up for work, this seems likely and my chances are good.
What is going on Andy? I have been working on cleaning up my web pages or sites. I have a few different domain names, and such and they are all relate. But I have one hoboguide.com that has a lot of photos on this site and is suppose to be an online guidebook. It is NOT an online guidebook presently, but it is full of lots of pictures and I have a lot of links in older newsletters that link to this site. This site has been down for about 8 months, and I have finally got it back up and almost fully repaired or functional.
So what is going on is that I want to finish my HoboGuide.com job here and get this page up to snuff. At least up to a level where I can just make small alterations. But what does this have with me staying in Hubli?
I get a lot of emails from people that act like India is some form of Internet Mecca. It so far for me is a cluster F@#$. I have nothing that function. There is always 80 percent of the pie and someone has stolen 2 pieces of the pie. That means that any system or operation or project is only 80 percent completed. I have learned that 80 percent is 0 percent. It is either done or not done. I do not fool around with working on my daily missions or projects. I like to finish them or not think about them. I nick a lot of small projects all the time, but some just need to be complete. I am pretty sure that all of India is like this, and USA companies or British Companies basically runs the Internet companies here. What I am saying is that the management of companies is Western and has the last 2 pieces of the pie and will force the culture to finish or put back the last to pieces of the pie.
The India culture is very good, but they need to wrap it a little tighter to compete with the USA or Europe. But this means a whole culture has to change and that will take 100 years. So they have started. I would suppose you would say they are developing… hehehe. I laugh at these words because they are in so many ways jokes. They want to label situations and all they do for most people is confuse them. It is too evident that readers or the world thinks that India has a developed computer industry. This is not true, but it is developing at a higher level then most underdeveloped countries, but mainly because their default language is English for business. I do think they have higher than normal levels of math skills also.
But a culture develops as a whole, or the average level slowly increases together and individuals who are way above average lead this. India has a lot of way above average individuals, but that does not exclude that they have lived in India all their lives and have the basic get to work at 10:00 mentality of leave out 2 pieces of the pie.
So why Hubli?
1. I need or want broadband because I am publishing 40 Megs of information.
2. I have this on a CD Rom disk.
3. I want a computer that is relatively free of viruses.
I have seen hundreds of computers in Internet cafes.
I have only seen 2 computers that have all this in one spot.
One in Margoa and one now in Hubli. I do not know when I will see the combination together again, so to I should make hay while the sun is shining. But the one in Margoa is not good, so in reality I have only seen one computer in all of India that has Broadband, a CD Rom player, and is free of Virus out of hundreds of computer.
ONLY FOR ONE HOUR IN HUBLI BETWEEN 9 AND 10 AM
So I have a window of time where I can do this quickly. I can get it done pretty slowly in other cafes. The trade off is I can spend another day in Hubli and publish and get this done, or I can nickel-dime it for the next 3 weeks and be frustrated. So I will try to finish this project today in one hour and be done.
Life is like this project in so many ways. I have started so many things in my life and I have really accomplished so little. Sometime I have made a lot of money, but I did not accomplish much for the money. There is no correlation between making lots of money and accomplishments. You can earn a lot of money and the person that is really finishing everything is the boss. He is the one that make is all come together and you may just be the high paid employee that is working on his or her pie. You are just working on a piece of the pie, and if you do not get it done then they send in more workers to help you.
I pay attention to people that write complete books. Not people that start books, which does not mean anything. Finishing a book is a project that takes a long time and lots of diligence. It is an accomplishment worthy of my admiration. Even if it is a crappy book, to have finish and publish a book is an accomplishment way beyond the normal human.
But in the end money is more important to a family than accomplishments. But an accomplishment is important to good self-esteem or self worth and makes a persons life worth the effort, and will give people a sense of pride. So if you can accomplish something and make a lot of money. Hey, now you got something going on!
I think most people think of me as on an endless vacation. This is true, but I am also on an endless journey to make my web page grow so I can be on this endless vacation forever. When I get it big enough and can sell enough, I will be able to relax and enjoy life at just one notch higher. What this means for me is when the waiter ask me if I would like a Coke yesterday, instead of saying no, I would have said yes. That is all the difference there will be. I can splurge on a 5 Rupee Coke and have no guilt.
I have guilt because I do not want the money to run out and the more I spend the faster it is gone.
WHAT IS A BUDGET TRAVELER?
This is a big phrase that really means very little to me. A budget traveler has X amount of money in their pocket and spends it all. I do not see many people on a budget that is real.
Good travelers will say to themselves,
“I am going to spend X amount per day and it will last for this many days.”
So I say to myself, I will spend 15 dollars a day and it will last for 365 days and I will spend 5475 dollars in a year. But the truth is this is not the case, I spend less than that on a daily basis. I am probably spending as best I can calculate about 6 dollars a day in India. But I may have been spending 15 dollars a day in England. All countries force me to spend money, but some extract more than others.
What I am looking for in travel is a comfort level, and when I get in a situation that is just a little too low for comfort, I pay a little more and raise the level a notch. My tips, research, or the studying I do on a daily basis is how to travel very cheap, but in lots of comfort. All my tips are about comfort that is achieve easily, by doing something effectively and easily. A tip is when you do it the easiest way.
In the hotel and have already walked around the city a little. The place is a dump for the most part so far, I have left a quaint city of Dharwad for a dumpy city of Hubli. I will leave tomorrow for another cotton town, and hope it has cotton. It could just be the hotel is not as nice, I had a pretty good room in Dharwad, and this one is sort of damp like or too much concrete. This one is cheaper at 100 Rupees here in Hubli. I am going to go look for an open internet café.
HUBLI - COTTON STREET
I am excited about going to Hubli today. I saw a large truck full of raw cotton in bags go by on the road last night and this got me thinking. I went and looked at or read my guidebook about Hubli. It is supposed to be a center for textiles industry. I have no idea what that means, does it mean they make or manufacture the goods there? Or does it mean this is a shipping point. It is also a point where two railway tracks cross so for sure it is a good place for shipping. On the small map in my Footprints guidebooks shows a street labeled “Cotton Street.”
I want to see raw cotton. The land of Dixie and all this talk about cotton all my life, and I have almost never seen cotton up close. I found a little, but not a lot. So hopefully they will have a street where they sell raw cotton. It looks like I am in luck, because to see a crop like cotton you must come or go when they are harvesting the cotton. I wanted to see the cashews being harvested, but it is the wrong time of year.
But the textile…?
I looked up the word.
1 : cloth 1a; especially : a woven or knit cloth
2 : a fiber, filament, or yarn used in making cloth
- Encyclopedia Britannica
I guess they are talking about cloth that is woven or the fiber in the yarns, threads, or lines used to weave materials. I saw yesterday here I Dharwad a store that sold Hand loom materials, a loom being the machine that weaves cloth. I have not seen any looms so far, but if I get close to looms then I am getting close to very cheap labor. Machines weave most cloth though even when they say “Hand Made.” That really is not correct, only special woven designed materials are hand woven. The ones with drawings on them and unique, the ones that are symmetrical or something are done on a machine I am pretty sure.
I found a really nice cotton blanket yesterday for 80 Rupees. It was an unbleached white soft cotton blanket and looked more like a shipping blanket then a sleeping blanket, but then again it may have been a shipping blanket for all I know. 80 Rupees are about 2 dollars USA or less, and I wanted to buy the blanket to help replace the blanket that KLM lost on the flight from the USA to Turkey. I have to think about it. It is a good, but white is not the best color to carry around. I have this Duvet cover that I bought in England that is working pretty good, but if I put the cotton blanket over the top it would be just enough on cold nights. A sleeping bag is always a pain, it is too much or too little, and difficult to adjust. I presently just have the Duvet cover. If I am lucky I have a blanket provided by the room, but in these hot countries they like to assume that you never need a blanket. It is cheaper and easier for them, and makes my life uncomfortable. I am amazed at the number of people that,
“Just deal with it.”
Why would anyone just deal with being cold? I had a girl traveler the other day talking to me about being cold in the night. They often just move rooms or leave because of a blanket. The room is uncomfortable, but they it does not click in their head, that the only reason is because of the need for a light blanket. I have a sleeping bag at home, but it is awkward and too heavy, difficult to pack and all sorts of other problems. It is one of them mummy bags, but hard to use for a blanket on a cold bus. It is really good if it is real cold, but anything other than really cold and it is too hot.
I presently use the Duvet Cover, which are 2 layers of sheet materials. Which in the tropics is plenty. The hotels provide a cover about 50 percent of the time. If I get really cold I will unfold my rain poncho and put over me, that and the Duvet cover would keep me nice and toasty.
If I took or bought that cotton blanket I could put it inside the Duvet cover and have a great blanket. I can remove when I am in hotter areas and used when needed. I am going to check to see if my poncho would fit inside the duvet cover. I would be an extremely warm cover that would be good down to almost below freezing. The poncho would hold in all the body heat. Something that does not breath like plastic is for real cold times. All the body heat is heal inside, but you then have to be careful about perspiration.
Layers is what I am looking for, but easy to carry and easy to separate, plus cheap and able to be purchased anywhere in the world so when I lose it I am not frustrated. I just buy a new one. A poncho is a little difficult to purchase. Not a cheap plastic one, but the really good materials is harder to find. I can almost always find a cheap poncho. I carry an umbrella for rain, but if I were really caught in the rain I would use the poncho to protect my computer and my backpack. I have had this one for about 2 years and never opened it, but like the mosquito net, when you need it, you need it and you cannot live without it. I suppose a lot of travelers need their poncho a lot, but I am pretty experienced and do not put myself in situations, or avoid types or travel that would lead me to need the stupid poncho. Nothing is more uncomfortable than walking with a poncho on in the rain. That to me is sign of bad planning or a desire to wear the poncho for fun. A small fold up umbrella, sold anywhere the world for 1 dollars… (Cheap countries) is what is best for rain.
I was awoken by a lone dive-bombing mosquito. I must be alert to mosquitoes after reading about a couple of hammocks that are also tents on the Internet yesterday. Mosquito nets are so lame, they are irritating and difficult. I spend about 80 percent of my time in the tropics in areas where they have malaria or other diseases carried by mosquitoes. But the rooms are not designed for safety from Mosquitoes, about the only real protection I can be guaranteed is a fan. A good overhead fan will keep mosquitoes down to a minimum, but the problem last night is it was too cool for a fan and I would have froze, plus if possible I avoid the fan because the constant blowing dries my eyes and makes them hurt or red. So I had a diver bomber this morning. Just one, but enough to wake me… buzz in my ear.
I have a large double bed mosquito net I carry with me all the time, even in Europe and the USA. It has 4 corners with a loop for rope on each of the 4 corners. The idea is to tie a string or rope to each corner and hang up. In a thatched hut or cabana made of bamboo or other types of wood materials it is pretty easy to find something to tie the corners too, but the problem is I am in the 4 square concrete rooms 90 percent of the time, and there are no hooks. This is one reason to have the heavy-duty gaffer tape or something to hook on the walls, especially when I am staying over a couple of days.
You would think they would have screens on windows, but that seems to be a USA thing, and the rest of the world does without.
I have about 80 percent of the time 2 corners to connect, but I do not have all 4 corners. I suppose you think well what is the big deal, and just let it hang down on you while you sleep. The big deal is that mosquitoes can bite right through a mosquito net, a sheet, or a hammock. If you are really in a problem area the mosquitoes will come in any hole or bite through any cloth. So you must not have the net touching you. Plus a mosquito net is hot, and normally with the heat comes the mosquitoes. I normally tuck the net in on the edges of the bed and put my backpack or something large on the edges to hold the net away from the sides. But in the end it is best to have all 4 corners tied up. Then the mosquito net is wonderful.
TOMMORROW HUBLI - Friday night 7:25
I will leave Dharwad for Hubli tomorrow; it is about 20-27 kilometers away and should be a quick trip. So tomorrow shall be a leisure travel day, but probably not very interesting along the road. Dharwad has been interesting as I went further away from the hotel I discovered lots of fun and exciting stuff. There is a hoop maker, or a person that makes the steel hoops that go around a wood wheel like they would have on a Conestoga wagon. There are plenty of oxen pulled carts around here, mixed in with the noisy trucks and motorcycle.
I just returned from having Egg Fried Rice for 10 Rupees or about 25 cents USA. This is a very healthy and nutritious meal. Very spicy. I had watched the man cook and new he took great care in his methods, and that attracted me to this roadside diner.
The town is very modern in most ways, but the roadside food stands have only a gas lantern, and a gas pump stove for cooking. They have what looks like oversized woks for pans. For 2.5 Rupees I can have some Chai or Tea with milk. I had this my first night but decided tonight to pass on the Tea. He served water for free.
I have a rule of thumb on water. If the locals will not drink it, I won’t drink it. But if the local drink it, then I will drink it. There is a presumption that people are ignorant in the world and would drink water even if they got sick. Bottle water is very cheap where the water is bad and is not a big expense if you buy in the very large bottles like a 5-gallon jug. This makes the cost almost nothing.
But I am impressed with the water system of India so far; they are very far ahead of Thailand or South America so far. But this is a big country and not that easy to make such large sweeping statements.
I am sure each state is a little different.
It would be so easy to focus on one really nasty person drinking out of a river and call that the whole country, but this is not true. They have water taps for free located around the cities.
I did see a very ugly sight today, and almost took a photo, but decided that it was too disgusting. A man was lying on his side with his butt facing the road, he had his pants down and it looked like hundreds of ants or insects were attacking his rear. I won’t get more graphic, but I started to stop, and then just kept walking, it is possible he was dead, but I have no idea. I do not think so, but I was not going to go up close to check.
This memory is much more powerful then the very modern hotel and internet café across the street, so if I wished I could allow that memory to fill my brain, and exclude all the modern aspects of life her in India. I think the water and sewer system so far are better then Thailand by a long shot.
My room has 2 big mirrors. I cannot remember when I have been in a room with 2 wall mirrors and this is a treat. My table is covered with marble and all of this for 160 Rupees. I am staying at the Karnatak Bhavan Boarding, Lodging, and Restaurant on Poona-Bangalore, Road, Dharwad - 580-001. I could give you the telephone, but why would you want that. There are lots of nice hotels around.
I have a double room, the single room was 100 Rupees and I decided it was not secure enough. India has these extremely huge deadbolts on room and the double had these locks, while the single just had a skeleton key for the door, and I had to depend on the owner not having access or a worker not wanting to enter. With the double room I replaced their lock with my lock and I am good to go. India has the most secure rooms I have lived in so far compared to the rest of the world. The most insecure rooms are in places like Europe and the USA where the hotel always demands that I trust the clean lady, the manager and anyone they want to be able to enter the room as they wish. I love the lock system of the lower end hotels of India. I am pretty certain that if you pay more you can have less secure rooms…. Hehehe. Most 3-5 star hotels allow anyone to enter, of course they have more to steal there too.
I am thinking I will stay around here for one more day to see if there is any textiles or clothes being manufactured here. I have not seen any, and the center of the city is not the place for this to occur, but normally people have road side stands or market areas where they sell the things they make, even if they do not sell well. There were assorted factories spread out inside the dense trees, or jungle as I rode from Goa to here. They looked pretty organized at a high level, but at a low level India are very underdeveloped. There appears to be a lot of factories and industrialization that employs workers that have very little or no education. Although I do think they educate the people very well, it appears that there are some really rich people in this country that have factories. It is amazing to see a factory inside a predominantly farm community and wonder why they chose the location. It is hard to see the factories, and there are very small signs that they exist. I notice the good carrier trucks on the road and wondered where they were coming from, and also the smoke stacks and the architecture of the factory buildings. There is a saw tooth construction, and a… I am not sure what you call it construction of factory roofs. They really high ones have a vent or roof vent system that is large. Like a ridge row on houses, but ten times larger and the vent is about 15-25 feet away from the peak.
Outside of this city were some smoke stacks where they dried clay bricks. I would like to visit one of the clay brick manufacturing places, but I would need a motorcycle to get there or take a taxi and the taxi driver would fight me the whole time trying to take me to the pretty stuff and not what I want to see. Don’t think for a minute that a taxi driver does not spend time steering the tourist. He makes his money by taking you to his uncle, aunt, brother or someone giving him some extra commission. That fare is just half the pay.
MORNING MUSLIM PRAYER CALL
I was not sure, but I am pretty sure now that I am in a very Muslim city. It is about 5:30-5:45 in the morning and they are having mass prayer calls around the city. This is normally done with the assistance of loudspeaker systems strategically located in the city. Plus in the larger cities they compete or are in opposition. It is very pleasant in some countries where there is only one Mosque in the city. The sound of the litany is pleasant here in India, but in Iraq it was a very obnoxious sound due to the harshness of the Arabic language. Thailand could be very nice to hear also.
There is an indoctrination or extreme ritual with the Muslim and Catholic, Buddhist faiths that to me causes a lot of people from fear, shame, or coercion to feel a need or compulsion bridging on obsession to obey.
The clothes in most countries indicated the religion and are like motorcycle clubs or gangs wearing their colors. If you are not a member of the correct club or gang it could be a problem.
I have left the State of Goa, which was influenced by the Portuguese to be Christian to the State of Karnataka that I am not sure. It is a lot larger and the Encyclopedia does not make it clear on the religion or religions of the region.
Bill Gates of Microsoft and Sun Systems have set up large computer industries in Bangalore and Hyberdad. This is probably one of the greatest ways or best ways in my opinion to fight terrorist and win in the long run. In the short run they will increase, but religions need to secularize or stop wearing their colors and fighting with each other. The business world creates a different style, fashion, or dress code and abolishes the obeying of dress codes of religions.
Some would say this is bad, but business people do not normally go round killing each their workers and their clients, or potential customers, while religions do kill anyone that does not agree. It would make sense that the opposite is true, but in reality the religions kill more people then the business. Now sometimes the business, especially a few hundred years ago utilized the religious to create profit. This was a lot of a reason for the crusades.
Terrorism to me is similar to the French not wanting to talk English. The French know they are in a losing battle and will eventually all speak English in a few hundred years. The Muslim religion is having compatibility problems with the modern world of televisions and in the end will probably become a dead religion. Both are fighting back to retain their control. I do NOT think that all religions should exist and I do not think that a language must exist. Cultures will change and that is guaranteed. I do hope that people stop using cigarettes; it is part of the cultures of the world and should end, not by force but by people slowly learning they are killing themselves.
DHARVAD INDIA - Friday Morning
Woke up this morning wishing the stereotypes about countries were closer to reality. They would portray India as being very hot, but this morning it is very cold. I am very happy I purchased a sweatshirt in England of good quality; it is really needed in the mornings or very late at night. But this is winter for the Northern Hemisphere and I am in the Northern Hemisphere.
ARRIVED IN DHARVAD, INDIA
I arrived about 1:30 in the afternoon. It seem to have taken me about 7 hours to go 75 miles. Now that is slow moving. This is about the same type of speed as Guatemala. But I had a lot of connections to make to arrive here.
I saw everything along the way. Rice, cows, water buffalos, goats, farmers, people living in teepees. The number of single axel dump trucks was astounding. There was very few cars or motorcycles after we cleared the city, but the trucks were everywhere.
The people on the bus were nice and polite and helpful. No problems at all, and I think that most traveler just take the normal tourist bus, so everyone is quite excited to see me. I am starting to learn the way that travelers move from place to place and it is very predictable and a track more or less.
I did not take many photos because there was a guy between the window and he and me did not help. But I am sure I will get a lot soon of the countryside.
I left Goa State and entered Karnataka. As you travel from Goa to Karnataka you climb the mountains, then after you cross the border between the two states it become level or you start to go down. At the border they checked the bus, and it was similar to leaving a country. They had something called excise police. They grabbed a couple of boys that looked like they were smuggling whiskey, but I am not sure, they also have water in Whiskey bottles. Plus upon arriving in Dharvad they also sell whiskey here, so I am not clear on the problem.
THURSDAY MORNING - LEAVE ON BUS
It is nice to decide to leave. I have been very indecisive and now I am comforted by the thought of leaving and finding new places. This is difficult to do sometimes because I get into a comfort zone where I am safe, secure and know the territory. That makes life easier on one side, but often boring on the other. It is a compromise between boredom and security. I am not talking about safety. I am in a very safe country for the most part, but the security of knowing what to expect on a day-to-day basis.
But in the security of know the routine is the boredom. I have better watch my complaints though on trains or the Hoboes of the world may go on an attack. There is a conceptual idea that trains only travel by train.
I will leave today by bus from Benaulium Beach to Margoa. This will take about 20 minutes, upon arriving I will go get some money from the ATM and then I am off to what I think is Ponda. I am going to go check that. Yep, I am going to Ponda.
How this will work? I will go to Margoa, which I already know how to do and understand. There is a small bus stop just off the garden. I will walk around in there with my backpack on, and all the touts or hawkers that want to sell bus ticket will descend on me. I will say the word,
That may or may not understand that word. The may mean nothing to them and if it is not the place they are selling a ticket for, they will just try to convince me that is the place I should go. They will not really be selling tickets, this is a local bus, and they just take the money on the bus.
But maybe I will find the right bus. There are 3 locations in the center of Margoa to catch a bus. There is suppose to be another one north of the city, but they will probably put me on a bus toward there if that is the way I should go to go to Ponda.
The big problem in this whole mess is that they may try to point me to a train or something. The also will think in terms of a specific city. They may think that “Londa” is the place that you go, and even though “Ponda” is on the way, they will not put 2 and 2 together and say that I need to get on the “Londa” bus. In the end if I can get their brain to connect, I will find the right bus. The ticket hawkers in the entire world are sort of brain dead, they only hear or can think about city they are saying, and I must say it correctly or they do not understand.
But the great part about this is one I start to go east out of Margoa by bus, and then east is the only way to go by road. The road leading to the state of Karnataka is a big road and I will be able to keep on that road easily… I hope.
I have just drawn a paper map. I would use my guidebook map, but that has too many cities and information on it, and that is too confusing for them, they would take hours to just look at the colors of the map. I have maybe what you would call a stick map, or a line and dot map. It is much better to show a ticket vendor then a full on color map with all the highways and such. They probably have never seen one and this just confuses them and gets them all excited. They have seen maps, but they really only know Margoa and they would like to look at the map of all the state and the country and everything. But their world only exists in terms of Margoa, so why would I confuse them and show them the rest of the country or world. Plus I am trying to get on a bus, and that is my goal, not to try to teach them Geography.
The key to travel is to find what word is their hot word.
The words that could be the hot word here are…
“Ponda” = the next bigger city I would go to…
Or maybe Karnataka = this is the state I am heading towards. The problem is I could go south and find the state also.
I could say “East” but I have never found the North - East - South or West directions to be of any help.
I need to find the correct word. So I will say them all. But first Ponda and maybe Londa. If I get really worried I will show them the map. But I will for sure show the map after the guy says I am on the right bus, this will be to reassert that he knows where I am going. If I can get him with the big plan he will maybe help me to get on the next bus.
So far the India people are as about as helpful as rocks in this type of thing. They do not connect their brains up fast. The think of money and this is a problem, because they also consider any or bad, or just talking to be worth money. The act of helping is worth money even if they took me to the wrong place. I do not pay people for talking. I will give a tip or bribe, or baksheesh or whatever you wish to call it if the person can turn on the brain switch and really think. This is not common in the world. Most people think about what they are thinking about and do not think about what I am thinking about, even though it would help them to sell a ticket to me.
So I am going to pack now and leave. Bye - It is 6:25 here in the morning, by the time I get done, the sun will be up and they may actually have buses to Margoa. It is difficult to be sure.
I am directly east of Margoa or Goa about 75 miles in a city called Dharvad. I probably am spelling it wrong. I do not think tourist come here and everyone is watching me, but it is very nice and the internet cafe is good.
My room has HOT water.... woopee.
Will write again. All is very good.
Tips is about what will break on your laptop.
I talked yesterday with a couple of snitches from a resort. They live in a very originally name resort here in Benalium Beach India.
“Ocean Palms.” I am being sarcastic.
But they snitched on the people in the resort. They said,
“They are afraid to leave.”
“They sit around the pool all day, and only leave maybe with a taxi, they are told that it is unsafe to leave the resort.”
A older and very nice British couple told me this, and was quite disgusted with the inhabitants of the resort. Why go to India if you never leave? Spain is much closer. Fear is a strange thing, and very powerful. But the desire to say you visited something or the fame and maybe fools prestige of saying you was there is more powerful then fear.
CHICKEN FRIED RICE - Wednesday Morning.
I went with the four boys last night to eat at a Chinese roadside food stand. What a funny experience.
We are walking down a highway that is dark and full of crazy cars going way to fast. The boys start to sing in English that stupid song called,
“My Dingaling” Something about playing with my dingaling.
I have no idea where the learn this stuff, but they knew a lot of words to the song.
The restaurant they called,
“Rough and Ready.”
I thought the restaurant was perfect. Three sets of the world renown sets of plastic chairs and tables that are everywhere I have ever visited. That had them set up next to portable kitchen, that was positioned along side the road. Nice and cozy, and open air. Yea that is it. It was an open air restaurant. The Chicken Fried Rice cost 30 Rupees or about 75 cents U.S. and they paid for me. Very delicious and I was content.
I would like to make an observation….
Outdoor restaurants are nice.
Outdoor restaurants are enjoyable.
But in most corners of the planet they are normal, and cheaper because the owner does not have to pay overhead on street space.
This applies most of the time in Europe, Paris, and all the places where they have sidewalk cafes. So when you walk into a sidewalk café think… Maybe the owner should be cheaper and not more expensive. They are using public property for nothing and doubling their business. It is NOT a benefit offered by the restaurant, it is a benefit taken from the public, and paid for by the public tax money. I like a roadside or sidewalk cafes, but do not feel like the owner is doing me a favor, he or she is doing themselves a favor.
So if you want to start a restaurant in some cheap country. You can often just set up some table. All you really need is one covered area for the kitchen and fresh vegetable and food. In most countries that is all they have anyway. Everything must be fresh because there is very little refrigeration. I tend to not eat at restaurants that have very little business. I know they do not turn the food over enough to keep it fresh. The more they sell the fresher the food.
BIKE RIDE AROUND BENALIUM - Tuesday Afternoon
I rented a bike for 30 Rupees for the day from the owner of my Guesthouse and went for a ride around the area. It is full of resorts, but for the life of me I can not see how they get to the resort or leave. They must come only in buses, because I have saw thousands of units in resorts and have only seen about 10 foreigners, and the ones I do see, I see over and over again. There are lots of resorts or hotels in the world though that live for the time from December 22 to January 6th more or less, this is when they make money. If you would ask the hotel or resort though they would say the are full from November until March, but this is crap. The only time there is every some trouble with rooms in a beach area is from December 20th until about the 6th of January.
So this place is ready for people and no people. It may be that the people that come here are from northern India and rich, and maybe my supposition that they are foreigners is incorrect..
But thank God for the 2 Calcutta girls and the 4 Calcutta boys in my guesthouse or I would be even lonelier then Margoa. At least in Margoa I did not sit around thinking I would meet somebody. I was just resigned to look at them, and them look at me.
INDIA COMPUTER SKILLS & EQUIPMENT
Just because you hear that India is very good with computers and they have their own Silicon Valley do not equate that this means they are good or have great Internet cafes. They are a little farther ahead because of the use of the English language, but the basic lack of communication, manners, and general view of people is still in the developing phase or underdeveloped. They do have people though that are on par as the fully developed countries, but on the average the country is still underdeveloped computer wise. You are not going to be able to buy, analyze, or maneuver in India very well. I believe everything is available in the country, but only in pockets. That is like saying you would have to travel from New York to Denver Colorado to find the equipment you want or the skills.
Ordering something or asking is still on the very underdeveloped sense of the world.
CLASSIC PACKING PROBLEM
I pride myself in packing efficiently. I write tips on ways to travel effectively and efficiently. I have just spent the last 15 minutes in the dark, luckily with the help of a flashlight looking for my candles. I have put them away too good. I did find my extra eyeglasses so that it even better or great. But what would I do if I really needed the candles? I would be out of luck. I try to keep candles and a lighter in a place where I always know how to find, even in the dark. But here I am looking and cannot find the candles.
Well, at least the sun will come up soon and I will hopefully be able to see. I was looking around for the electrical breaker earlier, it does look like there are some around the building, I did not recognize them at first because they are different in design, but they are very good and the some easily accessible.
CALCUTTA HOTEL UNIVERSITY
There is about 6 people living in the guesthouse besides me, they are all from the Calcutta area of India. They are all working at one of the expensive hotels. There must be a hotel Management University in Calcutta and all the 6 people have come here to work and train. They take it very serious and work very hard. Most of them are doing kitchen, or cleaning work, and seems very serious for what could be considered menial labor. The hotel are all supposed to be 5 star hotels and that must mean something in this part of India.
It is great to talk with them; they all speak very good English and even speak English between them. There are so many languages in India that they must. The official language is “Hindi” or something like that and most also speaks that, but the English language is more useful so it is dominant.
It is great to discuss the country with educated students. There are 2 girls and 4 boy students, all between 20 and 28 years of age.
PALMS OR NO PALMS
I chose a place that was shady and cool to live. I have noticed that a lot of the building and guesthouse here are directly in the sun and look very hot. Palolem was idyllic in this area because all of the Huts on the beach were under talk and shady palm trees. Colva and Benalium Beach are not very shady so far. There may be places that are, but I have not discovered them. The huge housing developments on this beach are in the sun, but are constructed to have shade and security. They have guards at the gates.
JULIES PLACE ON BENALIUM - Tuesday Morning
I am now located at a small guesthouse on Benalium Beach. It is just 8 kilometers directly west of Magao. It would be best to assume that all the towns, villages or cities are essentially beach cities or port cities. Although many are a few kilometers away from the ocean they are built from a strategy point of view to be close to the sea. I do no know of any river in Margao, but that doe not mean there is not one. Normally there will be a fresh water river somewhere along the city to provide drinking water.
I BLEW THE ELECTRICITY
I woke up this morning and started my normally get a coffee, turn on my computer, and start my day thing. This guesthouse is new, and I have not used the electricity to make coffee yet so when I turned on the switch it blew a fuse or breaker. I am not sure and have yet to see any breaker boxes in Goa. This is the first time in India that I have blown a fuse or breaker. I am hoping they have breakers that make life easier for me and for them.
My coffee cooker use a high amount of electricity for about 20 seconds then I am done, but in that 20 seconds it put a jolt on the lines. I am always very careful but it is impossible to know what will happen. Quality and type of construction will change from Hotel to Hotel although the same basic wiring has been in all of my rooms so far. This is good, because there does appear to be some building standards in India. In fact it is a very organized country so far.
I would have to say it is dirtier in an obvious way more then Thailand, but the infrastructure of electricity, water, and gas is better. I only know Goa and I could cross the state line and the whole world could change. Each state may be really a separate country in essence.
I am typing by battery and I am extremely happy for this. My last computer with the Nichol Cadmium battery was worthless. If there was not electricity, I had to stop, but now I have about 2 hours of typing before the battery on the laptop is dead.