Sunday, December 21, 2008

lovely mamallapuram

well i successfully made it out of mysore, i really am pleased with myself every time i reach a new destination. i took a train from mysore to chennai, which was 11 hours (overnight) arriving in chennai at 8am. then a 40 minute rickshaw ride from the train station to the bus station, after apparently looking lost trying to find my bus, someone actually asked me where i was going and pointed me in the right direction to my bus. it was a 2 hour ride from chennai to a small village called mamallapuram, it's on the coast between chennai and ponducherry. the bus ride was on a city bus so was cheap, 20 rupees (.50 cents) but not the most comfortable ride, definitely an indian experience. mamallapurham was kind of a last minute decision but i'm so glad i stopped here. after being in mysore which is a city of a million it's nice to be in a small village again, i can walk up and down the road after dark, stop and talk to shop guys if i want, and get to know the people a bit more. on my first night here i reluctantly went into a shop, i was tired and just wanted to go to my room but this guy promised not to sell me anything just have some tea. after being in there about 10 minutes, five others joined us, an italian couple, 1 american girl, 1 german girl and a spanish lady. it turned into a very entertaining couple of hours. nela the spanish lady comes to mamallapuram every winter to run the local orphanage, she is an amazing woman and i have been spending my afternoons with her and her 25 kids. it has definitely been the highlight of my trip so far. we take the kids to the park after school and run around for 2 hours, they are so happy and just want to play with you and hold your hand and they love having their picture taken, (thank god for digital). tomorrow is my last day with them as i am flying back to goa for christmas and new years, they are very excited for christmas as nela has promised them ice cream and pineapple. that's all they can talk about right now is ice cream and pineapple.....
i have done some sightseeing as well, there is a beautiful temple here on the beach, unfortunately the beach here is quite dirty and not good for swimming, but i have a pool so that's ok. one of the days at the orphanage another girl joined us, kim is from vermont and we have been hanging out together now, she is also travelling on her own and is going to come back to goa with me. i have been doing a little shopping here as well, i figured i should get myself a christmas gift so i went to one of the many tailors here and had 2 dresses and 2 tops made all for around $40 cad. tomorrow is our last day here as we leave for the airport in chennai very early tuesday morning. apparently all the shops are going to be closed for the day as they are protesting the moving of the bus stand, i had the chance to be an extra in a bollywood movie but can't as i promised the kids i would be there one more day. kim is going to do it though, you get breakfast, lunch and dinner plus 800 rupees, around $20. as much as i was hoping to be discovered in a bollywood movie i can't dissapoint the kids....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

hampi to mysore

well i have finally made it to a computer, my last few days in hampi the power always seemed to be out when i wanted to use one or i would be on for a few minutes and the connection would stop working, oh well that's india. so now i am in mysore, i arrived yesterday afternoon after an overnight train ride to bangalore then was taken to a travel agency to book a bus ticket to mysore. i ended up getting a ride on a tour bus so it took 3 extra hours to get to my hotel as they stopped at a few places once here, so i got to see a few things right away.

so hampi was amazing i ended up spending 8 days there, 1 of them being violently ill 2 of them recovering and the rest seeing the sights and relaxing. i don't think i ate anything bad as after talking to a bunch of people where i was staying it seems there were at least about 7 others that were sick with vomiting and dirreaha while i was there, so i think there was a bug that was being passed around. but i tell you it was 8 hours of my life i hope never to experience again....hampi has many temples and rocks, huge rocks that after years of erosion have ended up in precarious positions, i thought so anyways. there were definitely a few that i would not stand under. one day i climbed up mantanga hill there are rocks that have been put into place for steps some places it took about an hour but was well worth it as you had a 360 degree view of hampi. coming down was another story, sometimes it was on my bum. another day i was picked up at 5:30am by two brothers and their rickshaw and taken to monkey temple to feed some monkeys and see the sunrise. to get to the top you had to climb 575 stairs which is a good way to wake you up, it was a beautiful sunrise and the monkeys were pretty cute to. a lady at the bottom sells bananas so you can feed them. after sunrise we waked down and had chai, while the boys had a "shower" in the river, they then took me to a little food stall for an indian breakfast (i think it was their breakfast time). it was very good, we had more chai, and two different dishes one called idlis which are steamed patties of rice and dal flour served with a coconut chili sauce, the other were polis (i'm not sure on spelling). they were fried discs i think he said similar to chipatis but fried, anyways they were good, these were served with a chutney, on the side 2 chili pakorsa, all served on banana leaves. so i ate while they all watched me, i swear more people came in just to see me eat, especially the kids they are pretty cute. they all ask you your name and then tell you theirs and say nice to meet you, then ask you for a school pen, even if they don't go to school. i am getting better with the staring thing, it's not bothering me as much as i have realized it's not going to stop so theirs nothing i can do. i try to cover my self as much as i can without overheating but it doesn't matter they still stare and some longer then others.

well i have tried to add some pictures to this post but it doesn't seem to be working, which for some reason seems to be the norm for uploading on the blog site, for me anyways. so i think i will just stick with the facebook for pictures as most people can see them their. if not just let me know and i'll email you the link when i post them.

so far mysore is very different, it's the biggest place i've stayed in so far, so a bit harder to find my way around. this morning a kid stopped me when i was leaving my hotel and asked if i wanted him to show me around a bit and he didn't even want any money! but i'm pretty sure he got some commision from the stores he took me to. at least he asked me where i wanted to go, what i wanted to buy instead of taking me to some bad tourist shops. mysore is famous for 3 things sandlewood, silk and incense. so we first went to an essential oil place where i didn't end up buying sandlewood oil but white lilly as it's sapposed to repel mosquitos(i'll take all the help i can get),they also gave me some incense samples as i didn't want to buy any, i felt bad telling them i hate incense. next was a silk store where i bought a scarf. after we went to a palm reader, they are everywhere here, apparently i'm not getting married till after 36, and 33 is a very good year for me. we then parted ways and i went to the big market in town and walked around a bit before going to the train station to book my ticket to chennai on the 16th where i will then transfer on to pondacherry. well i can see the sun is starting to set and i don't like to walk around in the dark so i will sign off for now. xoxo

Thursday, December 4, 2008

on to hampi

well i have made it to hampi! i left my hotel in goa at 5:30am tuesday morning and arrived to my guesthouse in hampi around 12 hours later. it was a beautiful train ride, the first part was very jungle like and then once we left goa and entered karnataka (the state hampi is in) it became very flat. lot's of farming on the way, but no tractors they were using cows pulling these stick things to plough the fields.

goa was beautiful and it was hard to leave, i met allot of amazing people, locals as well as susi's friends. from what i've heard it's been a bad tourist season so far, which was nice for us in goa but not so good for the locals. but it did mean they had time to talk and you got to know them, a bit better. i will definitely return to goa i think in february before heading north for another visit. hampi so far is amazing, i've only had one day of sightseeing as i spent the first day just chilling at the guest house. it's allot quieter here, i am staying in a hut over looking some rice fields and the river. i have a bed swing outside my door, kinda like a hammock but it's wood, it's a perfect place to watch the sunset.... today i went in to hampi, it's just across the river, there is a little boat that takes you across (about 1 minute) for 10 rupees/0.25 cents. i went just wandered around on foot and walked through some amazing rock formations and ended up at some temples, i will post pics later, right now my camera battery is dead. i then wandered around hampi bazaar where all the stalls are and every one wants to sell you something. i was stopped by some young guys in one stall who wanted to know where i was from, and i ended up sitting with them for about an hour drinking chai talking about canada and the differences between canada and india. they were quite sweet, especially when they told me they wouldn't try and sell me anything. one of them is just visiting from rajistan i'm going to have dinner with him tonight to pick his brain about the north. he's only 23 and has never had alcohol or meat, not because of his religion but because he wants to keep his body pure. and he can't actually eat dinner tonight as he is fasting every thursday for the next 3 years. i asked him why and he said someone, i think his guru told him it would bring him good luck. travelling alone i am definitely meeting some interesting people, it seems more indians then tourists.