A Travellerspoint blog

January 2013

Road trip to Hampi

sunny 30 °C

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Eric and I began our journey at 7am from Kuddle Beach in Gokarna. As we drove our beast of a motorcycle through the monkey inhabited mountains of Karnataka, we came to appreciate the true beauty of the protected forests. We dodged families of monkeys as we drove for 2 hours through the twisty mountain roads and realized how rare it was that in an over populated country like India you can still find solitude. The mountains opened up and took us through 3 hours of dusty red farm lands. Plenty of smiles and waves greeted us from the men, woman and children of the lands. We drove over farmers crops that were scattered all over the road. Perhaps a new farming technique, we may never know. We drove by fields of corn, sugar cane, marigolds, sunflowers and chili peppers before the road brought us to a tremendously enchanting village called Hampi.

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Dodging cows, no big deal

Hampi’s landscape is mystical with mountains full of world heritage monuments; ruins built in the 13th century and then abandoned and forgotten about for hundreds of years. The rice patties have been strategically placed among giant boulders formed from centuries of volcanic activity. The boulders teeter high and low, threatening the very existence of the small town if anything were to shift in the land underneath.

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The holy Hampi river

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Sunset view of Hampi's rocky hills

Our room was situated directly on the rice patties and we couldn’t help but spend the majority of our time marvelling at the beautiful sights and sounds of the natural landscape. Thousands of frogs would sing us to sleep night after night. But rice grows in stagnant water and stagnant water attracts bugs. Mosquitos, flies, beetles, worms, roaches, ants; more bugs then I have ever seen in any one place or time. They were everywhere, they were aggressive and we were in their territory! To say I had the hebejebes is an understatement.

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Lakshmi the temple elephant

After being in India for a few weeks it becomes easy for me to relax my expectations for cleanliness. This is a big mistake, as it opens up many opportunities for food poisoning. I spent an entire day regretting my nonchalant attitude. This lesson I have been taught many times and have yet to learn!

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I think this lady has Eric out tattooed

We made the 400km long journey back to Goa which took about nine hours. We found the experience of motorcycling to be nothing short of extraordinary. What we saw and experienced on the back roads of India will leave abundant memories that will last a lifetime. We returned to our ‘home town’ of Vagator. It is holiday time here in Goa and the province is jam packed with people from all over India. Many are celebrating the independence of India, and many are celebrating just for the sake of celebrating. We will stay here in Vagator for a few days, until the province clears out, then head to neighboring towns for a different scene of beach life.

Posted by H-Dizzle 01:09 Archived in India Tagged mountains sunset india monkey hampi rice_patty road_trip_hampi Comments (0)

On the road again

A journey through the southern India

sunny 30 °C

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Gear strapped on and ready to hit the road! Don't forget Heather!

We were nervous while driving our rented Royal Enfield through Goa’s back country and into Karnataka. The bike is unfamiliar to Eric, the gears and breaks are on opposite sides from the western syle motorbike, and the kick start sometimes gives us trouble. The locals in Goa advised us against the trip as it is illegal for a tourist to drive a rented motorcycle between provinces. The tourist motorbikes have special yellow plates and it is impossible to get across the border with them. We did our research and found a local who was willing to rent his personal bike to us and allow us to take it across the border. If we were to get caught it could be mean big trouble… or 200 Rupees ($4) of baksheesh (bribery). The adventure seemed worth the risk. So far we have been without any trouble from the police and are enjoying the ride.

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sunset on Palolem Beach

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Eric with the cows on Palolem Beach

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dolphin spotting from Palolem Beach

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a quick trip to the nearby beaches of Palolem

We started in Anjuna, Goa, drove south to Palolem for a few days of beach time, then further south into the province of Karnataka. The further south we drive the more traditional Indian lungies and dusty red rock landscape appear. It’s amazing how the culture can differ so much from one province to the next. Lack of development on the unspoiled beaches of Karnataka make for a pristine coastline and attract a unique vibe. The stars sparkle bright, like galaxies of diamonds in the sky. The amount of hippies here has doubled since Goa, it almost seems as though the hippies who use to dwell in Goa have manifested a different scene in Kuddle Beach, Gokarna. The foreign hippies all gather at night to juggle fire, play instruments and meditate on the beach. For many people this is a captivating scene and some people tend to stay longer then intended. I once made the mistake of asking a local hippie for directions, they wanted nothing to do with me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t smell of patchouli or have dreadlocks.

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Kuddle Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka

When we arrived in Gokarna we headed straight for Om Beach where supposedly the network of guesthouses was situated. We were disappointed with the quality of rooms and decided to look elsewhere. After driving down some rough dirt roads for what seemed like forever, we found a resort that was currently under construction. They had a few rooms that were fairly upscale and we managed to stay in one of them for $20! The next morning Eric and I stumbled upon a rustic Yoga Retreat in Kuddle Beach and decided to take advantage. We stayed here for the next four nights. We started our mornings with Yoga and a beautiful homemade breakfast. Of course even a quiet beach like Kuddle wouldn’t be complete without a volleyball net. After spending the afternoons playing volleyball while watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean, we would head to our favorite restaurant on the beach Little Paradise Inn. We befriended the locals at the restaurant and had the cooks teach us how to make a killer Indian meal. This for me has been one of the highlights; being in a real Indian kitchen and watching them effortlessly whip up 3 of my favourite dishes. MMM tasty.

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If you are in Kuddle and are looking for some killer food call Suresh Traloki and visit Little Paradise Inn.

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The cooks at Little Paradise Inn hard at work.

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Boy at Gokarna market selling spices

We somehow managed to stay in Kuddle for 3 days longer than anticipated. That is the great thing about having no rules or strict timeline; you can let time stand still when it wants to. Our parting point was watching a young Indian man drown on the beach. This was the second death we had seen in the past week. The tragedy makes such a beautiful thing seam so retched and evil, for me it was time to leave Kuddle and the horrific scene behind. We packed our bags and were on the road at 7am this morning in search of a holy town in the mountains called
Hampi.

Posted by H-Dizzle 20:24 Archived in India Tagged beaches india palolem royal_enfield gokarna kuddle little_paradise_inn_kuddle indian_cooking food_kuddle_beach Comments (0)

Indescribably India

Round number two!

sunny 30 °C

India. It feels like we never left. The smell of inscense, cow feces, curry and hot garbage assault your senses while walking down the road in Vagator Goa. Smiles are everywhere as we run into locals that we’ve met before. We spent the last couple of days visiting different beaches and seeing the country side on our scooter. The weather has been sunny and around 28 and at night it cools off to 20 or so which is great for sleeping.
Our guest house has been great. We are staying at a family Guesthouse called Blue Bird where we know the family well and enjoy watching the children grow up. One thing about India is that the accommodations can at times be fairly basic and well used. We tend to avoid these places and opt to stay at the cleaner less used places. We are currently paying $20 a night which is higher than we are accustomed to, however it is worth the couple extra bucks to have a nice clean place to call home. The food has been fantastic. India is a vegetarian's dream - Fruit salad with home-made yogurt and granola every morning, a healthy serving of vegetable curry for lunch and dinner. Fresh fruit, veggies and spices are in abundance and it is easy to live a healthy lifestyle. Meals are typically about 6 dollars for us both to eat. Again we tend to go to the cleaner more trustworthy places for food. Practicing Yoga in the morning and playing beach volleyball into the sunset, life is good in India.

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Jucinda, the 3 year old girl at our guest house who loves hiding in our hammock.

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Who says we don't eat with our eyes!-BlueBird Special

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Arambol Beach in Goa. Eric helped push this sailboat into the water for its first time a float. It has been under construction for over 12 years! Its owners are taking it to Sri Lanka, a momentous occation for all.

We have rented a 350cc Royal Enfield Motorcycle (India’s Harley Davidson) and we are hitting the open roads of India. By the way the 'open' roads of India consist of (but are not limited to)- cars, trucks, scooters, busses, cows, dogs, chickens, pigs, goats, garbage and people. All sharing the same space in a chaotic ride thats all part of the Indian adventure. We will head south from Vagator Goa to Palolem Goa then head further south to Gokarna, Karnataca to an untouched place called OM Beach. From there we will let India decide our next move. Avoiding disappointment means to avoid making many plans in India and liberate your expectations. Otherwise you will never be on time and life will likely be a constant battle. Don’t fight it, let India take over and enjoy the ride!

PS Sorry for the lack of pictures. The slow internet connection will not allow me to upload any more!

Posted by H-Dizzle 07:33 Archived in India Comments (0)

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