Hello blighty! well its been an interesting last few days to say the least. We bought ourselves a couple of royal enfields, we took a trip to a place called Hampi which is an old ruined city in the center of India and on the way home our coach ran over a guy on a bike, but more about that later!
We are both over our dodgy stomachs now thank god, we decide after a bit of a chat that we were both getting a bit bored with the tourist thing. It was a nice change going on a few organised trips and vegging out on the beach but we really both just like riding bikes all day. Renting bikes is Ok but you have to keep coming back to the same place all the time and really we just want to keep moving on every day and then maybe stopping somewhere for a few days rest.So we decide to try and buy ourselves some bikes. Decision made we headed of to get an ice cream, we,d walked no more than ten yards when a guy on a royal enfield pulled up near us. It had luggage racks on and looked just the sort of thing we had in mind. We ran over just to ask the guy where he bought it and how he got on with insurance and log books etc. He was an american guy called Mike and had been riding around india on the bike for about eighteen months, he said he was nearing the end of his trip and would be looking to sell it soon. Apparently foreigners aren't allowed to buy vehicles over here so obviously can't get insurance either, but he said he'd been stopped a few times and it was nothing a few rupees couldn't sort. We told him where we were staying and said if he was interested in selling it now we would buy it at the right price. Later on in the day he came to our guest house and we had a coffee with him. He was a nice and had a few interesting stories to tell us about traveling around India. After a bit of haggling we did a deal and bought the bike for 490 quid. It came with a crash helmet and a few other goodies including a kerosene stove. The brakes were pretty s*** so we found a local garage and took it in to fix them up. We had already booked a train to go to the place i mentioned earlier, Hampi. We left on Wednesday morning at a very painfull 4.30 in the morning. We got the first train to a place called Margao, we had both looked forward to trying the trains as i,d been told you could sit in the open door way and watch the world go by. The reality when getting on the first train was slightly less romantic! The train was the main one going to mumbai so it was pretty loaded with people to say the least. Everyone on was asleep all over the joint and there wasn't a free seat anywhere in site, we ended up sitting on the floor next to delightful looking toilet opposite an Indian guy who kept starring at me like i was from another planet. I didn't go in the toilet for fear of what i might find as the outside looked like someone had got caught short and gone by the door, then spread it about a bit for good measure. Since getting to India i haven't been what you would call an early riser, so it was a bit of a shock to realise how chuffin cold it is on a train at 5 in the morning and it only got worse as we got going, there seemed to be wind rushing in through every crack in all the windows and doors until it felt like being in a bloody hurricane somewhere in the arctic circle! Then the noise seemed to build and build until it sounded like a stampeading herd of elephants at an all night rave! Not that anyone else on the train seemed remotely bothered by any of it especially the guy who was starring at me still trying to decide what planet i came from. The second train was a sleeper train so it had a lot more room and to be honest i really enjoyed it, i sat in the door way with my legs hanging out in the sunshine and watched the world go by for about five hours. They come round selling chi( sweet tea ) out of flasks, it only costs five ruppees a cup so i just drank chi and smoked all day, the scenery was amazing going from tropical jungle to dry plains. I saw monkeys and women washing there clothes in the river (the monkeys weren't washing there clothes just the women ) it was fantastic. That is until i started to feel something splashing my legs, at first i thought someone had either gobbed out the window or chucked a cup of chi out. The mystery was soon solved after a trip to the toilet, it was just a hole in the floor directly on to the tracks, lovely!! When we arrived the train station was about half an hours drive from Hampi, as soon as we got off we were greeted by hoards of taxi drivers but the first in the line was a short scruffy and very desperate looking tuc tuc driver so he got the job. This was our first ride in a tuc tuc and for those of you who don't know a tuc tuc is basically a scooter with two wheels at the back and a cab over it some people call them rickshaws. What a piece of s*** it was too, it seemed as though it only had two gears working, second and fourth so as you can imagine it was a long journey. As we drove along a young Indian lad jumped in and spoke passable English. After the customary " where you from" he went in to some longwinded suggestion, most of which I didn't understand but ended with" I give you money back in one month" at which point the driver started shouting at him and the lad went very quiet. I think the driver might of been his dad and didn't want his son scamming the passengers! After a very long painful ride being overtaken by lots of other tuc tuc's, most of which were laughing at our driver as though he was the local loser we arrived at a guest house owned by the drivers brother. It was a nice room, a bit pricey but there was a festival on so we expected that. Hampi is an old ruined city which was built around 1296 by the vijayanagara kingdom, it cover's 64 square kilometres and was originally surrounded by a fortified wall but I'm not sure if it's all standing now. That's the history lesson over " copied that out the guide book in case you were wondering". It's a he'll of a place, just next to our guesthouse was the bazar, a long street lined with the usual stalls selling all the s*** you don't need! At one of the street was a huge temple complex with three towers shaped like narrow pyramids, each covered in thousands of carvings of there gods. My favourite was a woman with four arms two of which were pulling her noo noo apart! Classy! There were alot of others showing karmasutra positions but that was the best. Inside the temple was amazing, statues and carvings everywhere, I won't bore you with all the details, I've got a few hundred photos so I'll stick some on the blog. The best bit in my mind though were all the monkeys inside the temple, they were climbing on everything, very cool!
We arranged to go on a bicycle tour with a local guide the next day which was a lot of fun, there were a couple on the tour with us. A girl from australia and a guy from brazil. We went to loads more temples and the guide gave us a history of the place but I won't pretend I remember much. We went out with the same guide the day after on a river tour which was cool. I was expecting some sort of speed boat but it was in a little coracle, which if you don't know is a small round boat made from bamboo and some sort of skin over the bottom. It was a good day out ending with a climb to the top of a big hill with an amazing view of Hampi. We had booked a tuc tuc to take us into ospet where we were meeting the coach at 6.30pm. Because there was a festival on they closed the roads in Hampi at 1oclock so we booked it for 12.30. When we got back to the hotel to meet it we were greeted by our favourite scruffy Lookin tuc tuc driver! But to my surprise he had a brand new tuc tuc waiting for us, he looked very proud of it and I started to think I had got him all wrong, until he started patting his pockets looking for the keys. It soon became apparent that the keys were nowhere to be found. We Waited for a good half an hour as he franticly searched for them aided by some other locals having a good laugh at his expense. I felt very sorry fir him as we all know what I'm like with keys! He desperately tried to hot wire it but clearly didn't have a clue what he was doing. In the end we had to leave him searching and get another ride. There were a good few hours to wait before our coach arrived so we had a good look around ospet. It was a pretty big town with plenty of the usual crazy goings on. Cows pigs goats and dogs wandering all over the shop, people asleep on the pavements and in doorways and the usual abundance of beggars. We sat on a wall for ten minutes having a drink and a good ten beggars hassled us. One of them a girl about six or seven kept pulling my shoe and saying " please " over and over again until I finally gave in at which point she did the usual disgusted look at the amount I had given her and walked off without a smile or thank you! Beggars over here are extremely rude for some reason not one will ever smile or thank you no matter how much you give them. I think most if them have been brought up begging for so long they think it is there right, to be honest most of them are capable of working especially when you see kids as young as five collecting rubbish in a bag all day for recycling. The only ones I'm going to give to from now on are disabled people as they have no chance of getting any work. We walked around a bit and chatted to a few locals and had lots of chi, then the bus arrived. It was a sleeper coach, there were no seats just little compartments with beds in which was cool. We got underway and about an hour into the journey the bus slammed on it's brakes and we came to a halt. I could here a lot of horns and shouting outside but didn't think much of it as that's usually all you can here in india anyway. Then he bus driver shouted "any one know medical" so I stuck my head out the window to see what the score was. There was a crowd of people at the front of the bus, then they started to move and some people carried the body of a scruffy looking Indian guy about forty over to the side of the road. He was clearly still alive as I could see his eyes moving. There was a bit if blood on his face but it was difficult to see as the crowd were all around him. I got off the bus and a couple of foreign tourists from our bus were next to the body trying to stop the crowd getting too near the body but no one took any notice. A few locals were arguing with the driver and his friend but most people in the crowd thought the whole thing was great and were treating it like a party. I got back on the bus and leaned out the window. Loads of happy looking locals wanted to talk to us all like it was the best thing to happen for a long time. I asked one guy how the injured man was and he crossed his throat with his finger and laughed!! The angry mob were getting a bit more angry so the bus driver sensibly decided to get back in the cab and lock the door. Since being here iv'e heard a lot of stories of mob's killing people after an accident over here. The driver tried to move the bus forward but the mob blocked his path and one tried to get in and drag him out the window, but he managed to get him out and shut the window. Gradually we inched forward, all the time more people and cars appeared adding to the festival atmosphere. An ambulance arrived and stopped next to my window, he shouted to me " where's dead guy?" so i pointed him in the right direction. i saw one policeman but he did nothing whatsoever. After about an hour of inching forward through the mob we managed to make our escape and continue the journey. I couldn't believe it, no police interview no relief driver, we just carried on like it never happened!
We arrived back in Palolem at four in the morning which was two hours before we were told. before leaving we left our key with the hotel so it was a bit of a pain. We decided to wait in the open air bar at the front of the hotel until someone woke up and gave us our key. As we sat down the floor next to us started to move and i jumped back. It turned out to be the owner of the hotel, he sleeps on the floor in the bar, which is nice! But at least we could get our key and go to bed. The next morning i decided to start asking around to see if anyone had any bikes for sale. As soon as i stepped out of the hotel i saw a royal enfield with a for sale sign on! It was owned by a couple from Israel. The guy was a complete maintenance freak so the bike was in tip top condition, it even had new butter bearings! After a bit of haggling i bought it for 500 quid which included 2 helmets and loads of tools and spares.So now all we need to do is sort out the crap brakes on dad's bike and were all ready to start heading south. Can't wait!!
Hope everyone reading is well, missing you as all ( well most of you anyway! ) Peace out!
P.S. Keep an eye on Didler Benny boy, don't want him wrapping that new bike round a tree before i get to see it. You now what he's like!!