The fantastic crescent shaped beach at Palolem really is something you expect to see in in the Bahamas, and seems a huge step away from the chaos of the rest of India. After our first nights stay in a beach hut balanced on precarious stilts that looked like something half out of a film, half a shanty town in Haiti, we decided to have a beach day. As supposedly the 7th most beautiful beach in the world, we felt it rude not to! swimming, eating (of course) spicy curry, and exploring the rock pools full with some kind of sea slugs/penises/cucumbers.. and of course having photos with the Indian holidaymakers who haven't seen many "white boys" before.
We must have posed for at least 20 photos already...
Woke up nice and early, hired a moped and headed out for our first experience on India's roads- AKA suicide mission.
We drove/weaved/crawled 9km south of palolem to kotigao nature reserve. 30 minutes and 2 bruised tailbones later (pretty much no suspension + potholes) we were trekking through the jungle spotting a whole host of animals including massive spiders, butterflies, Fox-like squirrels, and many a monkey!
On returning to palolem, we munched into a bbq`d shark before getting on our first ever sleeper bus to Hampi.
We`'ve also avoided `goa syndrome` … the name we`'ve given to the dozens of people who never manage to leave goa because they`re either too lazy from being high, lost their passports from being too high, or totally lost their marbles from being too high. That's right, don't take drugs kids.
The food out here has been top notch: roast chicken, fish curries, dhal fry, prawns, Kalamari- as you can tell we're in our element! Fat b******s.
Also possibly the hardest thing to convey in this is the smells- it's literally an attack on the senses. One minute you`'ll be smelling fantastic herbs, spices and street food, and the next a mixture of rubbish and for want of a nicer word human s***e. The culture of bins and keeping places clean just doesn't apply to india!
We arrived on our sleeper bus to Hampi at about 5am. Sleeper bus basically meaning a coach split into boxes where several people are crammed... we had to kick a driver/drunkard out of ours because he was asleep in it.. not gonna lie no idea if he drove the bus or not! Although from the speed we were going he probably was..
Upon turning up to Hampi in the pitch black, we met a liverpudlian guy and split a Rickshaw to the `monkey temple` .. and after 300m of steps we were rewarded with the most epic sunrise over the vast expanse of rivers, gigantic boulders and hundreds of temples, remnants from the 5th to the 16th century civilisation that lived here- awesome way to start the day.
After a breakfast of chai (tea) and masala dosas with two guys we met (in what was basically a glorified garage), we crossed the river in a tiny metal boat managing to somehow fit 20 odd people + a moped on it, and explored some of the amazingly stellar temples and ruins we`d seen from the view from the monkey temple.. fitting 5 of us in a tiny Rickshaw was to say the least interesting. About 36 degrees c here- it gets to 50 next month!!!!
Our room in Hampi is a thatched apartment surrounded by paddy fields, probably the most tranquil place so far. And hot showers! Beauty!
17th and 18th
Explored a couple more of the amazing temples here. Spent Saturday with the guys we`d met before heading to Mysore , couple of strong pints before our first ever sleeper train... surprisingly not a bad experience at all (and we were in second from bottom class). Trains out here are probably about 3 times longer and twice as wide- crazy experience and its almost impossible to work out where to get off so not much sleep.