Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Week 4 - 8 Indore, Guruyavor Festival, Kollam Backwaters, KodaiKannal, Hampi, Hyderabad, Ajanta, Ellora, Kandwar, Maheshwar

Headed back north for a festival. Elephants, dancing, music and chanting, was a great town too, no tourists so no hastle. The photo's of the festival didn't come out, but this is at the elephant sanctuary, where they keep all the temple elephants for the area. At the festival I met a police man, he started asking me loads of questions, do you work? no. Are you married? no. Are you here with family? no. Are you here with friends? no. The more questions he asked, I sware the more he thought I was the devil!

Had the hottest food of my trip here, with the first one for breakfast, really gave the day a kick start, so much better than caffeine. I nibbled on a chili which was with my thali at lunch, thought it was mild, so ate it whole, I lost vision for a while, I fealt my eyes dilate and lost myself for a couple of seconds!

Got on a bus to the next town. Two minutes into my 8 hour journey and I got the same fealing I get when I decide to ride a rollercoaster, I really wanna get off! Somehow the big lime green bus is faster than everything on the road, the driver doesn't seem to care that he can't see round a corner when overtaking. He bulldozes his way through the crowded road, I notice that there is a sign at the front of the bus that states 'Super Fast', no shit! In future I will pass on the super fast lime green slugs. We pass other buses that only have fast written on them, they seem the better option. The fat man next to me falls asleep on my shoulder, not sure how he can. We start to make ground on another Super Fast green slug, I get excited and start to enjoy the chase, we lose him and the driver seems upset, but we approach a fast looking saloon. We soon pass the saloon as the saloon uses his brakes, my bus driver does not, he only uses a horn that is permanently being pressed. I hope the horn will wake the fat man as my shoulder hurts. I got used to the bus journeys but nothing has been as fast as the first, little disappointing!

Headed here for a boat trip, good little trip and met some really nice people, was sad to say goodbye. Travelling is strange, everything is fleeting, nothing is final.

Wanted to leave Kollam ASAP, so got the next train to Madurai. Due to language problems I never get the full details of my transport trips, I am happy just to get a ticket with the correct destination on. I thought it would just be a 4 hour journey east by doing rule of thumb on the map, but the train heads all the way to the tip of India and back up to my stop in a big U shape, so I end up being on my wooden chair from 5pm to 6am, not sure why it was not a sleeper train, ended up being a fun trip trying to communicate with the local travellers, would love to find out their storeys.

I hated this town, like some others to begin with, but places grow on you and you leanr to deal with the new environment. But I end up loving the place. It is famous for its beautifull architecture. Language here is a big problem, all the hindi food words I learnt are no use, not sure what language is spoken here.

There are very few street lights, so the walkways are lit by flourescent lights from shops, which makes you feal like you are walking through a Bollywood film set, makes the twon feal warm and exciting.

The room I rented here, was probably the worst I have ever been in. If you were to eat marzipan for two weeks solid and then if at the end of the two weeks you were to have a shit, that is what my room smelt like!
I went to open the window, but this opened onto a small area bound by other hotel rooms/windows, in this small area, 3 floors down, was a mass of rubbish and a mass of mosquito's. I slept with the window closed. The saving grace was a balacony, where met other travellers and had a drink with them, at times India can be lonely for a single traveller, so this was a nice change.

The hindu face paint is a lot more dramatic here than in other towns, I like the style, some have triangles, some flag like rectangles and the bets is four stripes smeared with the fingers, again I didn't take photographs. I would become religous, just so I could dress like this.

My favourite place so far, wicked nature and loads of chilling, spent a week here, was really cold at night and all the Indian people wore retro jumpers and bobbles hats. There were so many retro clothes here, better than Camden, was like a little clothes gold mine on this Indian hill, was sad I did not buy more than a jumper and cardigan, forgot to get a Yamaha anorak thing

Nice chill out place and nice old things! Some good signs of civil engineering to, always nice to see!

Liking this place, the bits I love the most about India but also the bits I hate most. Hung with a lass from Denmark here and then onto Ajanta with her, was good to have company for the big towns.

Jannes photo of me sharing a joke with the traffic police!

Jannes photo of some young lads at Makkah Masjid Mosque. Unfortunately there was a bomb here just 10 weeks after I left killing 5.

Great places, temples cut into rocks, my photo's were naff though.

I stop in Kandwar for the night on the way to Maheshwar. Kandwar is not in my guidebook but is in bold on my map so I decide it should be ok. Arrive quite late, when I depart from the train there is a cow waiting on the platoform, I love the urban cows, they are so chilled. I get the cheapest room in a local hotel, a shoe box size room with no external windows, but I have about 12 mosquitto's for company. I put up my mozzie net using the room door, it takes me a long time and a lot of gaffer tape to get the net into a semi-decent state. I start to drift off, at midnight there is a knocking at my door, I open the door, the mozzie net collapses and a fat cop with a tash greats me. The cop and the hotel manager enter my room, they ask a lot of questions, make a phone call, look at my passport. Then there is a powecut, so a fat cop, the hotel manager and me occupy this shoe box room in the pitch black. I am confused. They finally seem satisfied and leave. The only explanation I get is "safety". I don't sleep well that night!

I get my train ticket to Barwaha the next day, which is halfway to Maheshwar, there is a heavy armed police presence on the streets, after a few enquiries I find out that there is a Muslim festival on and last year there was a fight with the Hindu's and Muslim's. This year things seem good though and there is no trouble, I get a few smiles and waves. I chat to a hotel worker, he is working at the hotel and teaching himself to pass a degree, he pays for his books, a copy of syllabus and the exams, lots of respect for that, he teache's me a lot about indian hoistory and the segregation of india in 1947 into India and Pakistan when the Brits left. He says the cop was extra cautious with me due to the trouble last year. Note the green Pakistan flags in the march.


My new favourite place, so chilled and weird, ate at a small house each day, which had converted it's patio into an eating area, the best food I have had so far, probably because it was home cooking. Spent a lot of time chilling in the patio area with the family.

The main focus of the town is a big fort with loads of temples and house's within it.

There are a lot of Indian people here for a pilgrimage to the River Narmada, as I head up the river the atmosphere change's, smoking chillums seems to be the main focus of the day. Thier eyes are so cloudy, there is no pupil or iris just mist!

This guy was ace, lived in this little space in the fort's walls by the River. Cosy little place, offered me some Lassi.

In the evening there was a festival for Hanaman's birthday, it was a full moon and the festival was just a load of teanagers going a bit crazy. I got dragged into the mob, got water and red paint dust thrown at me and was made to dance, a circle formed aroud me, eventualy escaped. Kinda fun!

IndoreJust arrived in Indore, had to look at my bus ticket to remember! starving, so will keep it short, a little tired so may be dull. things going well, got a little bored in south India but as I headed north I started to enjoy myself again. Indore is just a stop over but cool place.

bye, email!

and a sign....


Snake said...

Those hippy guys look fun.

Tyas said...

That festival sounds cool. I used to know summit or other about Hanuman from Uni. He's the monkey god. Look out for the Hanuman Langurs - they're the pale coloured monkeys with black faces and hands. Should be in largeish troops in both north and south India. My old Prof from UCL runs a study group for Hanumans in Jodphur. WHY THE FUCK AM I TELLING YOU THIS!? Will stop now.

Laters fella

Mark and Tamara said...

Your stories are amazing, and great pics too!