May 3-9: And on the 4th day, God said let there be darkness, and Jeff violently expelled fluids from his body

On Saturday the 3rd, our first day in Bangalore, we pretty much just relaxed. That night, the girls went to my cousin Tara’s hen night (a.k.a. bachelorette party), and I just stayed home with Shiva, little Indran and U. Cecil and A. Brinda for a relaxed night in, which was fine with me because I was still pretty jetlagged. From what I heard and the pictures I saw, the girls all had a good night, downing copious amounts of liquor and only getting through one game before the drinking and dancing took over. Alia it would seem had the most fun. The next day we went to go visit my cousin Miki and her family and drop off some gifts. Niharika was very happy with her gifts, and to a lesser degree so was her new puppy, Freddy. My mother seems to have a knack for sending kids gifts that they will love and everyone else will hate. For example this Christmas we had Prem and Michelle and their three little girls staying over for Christmas…my mom gave one of them a Santa Claus doll that sang very loudly “Santa Claus is coming to town”, in the rock and roll Bruce Springsteen style, which I soon found out at 6:30 in the morning and very frequently during their stay, until Michelle finally took out the batteries. So in India, mom sent Indran this horse puppet that does a pretty annoying neighing sound. Luckily, Indran right now is kind of scared of it, though he does enjoy his Dalmatian that barks to the tune of Bingo. And for Niharika, she send this ball that is attached to an elastic string…so basically you have Niharika, who is already a 7-year old bundle of pure energy swinging around this ball….after she nearly took out some sculptures, Mario decided it might be best if Niharika played with it outdoors.

That night, Justine, Joanna, Tara and me took a sleeper train to Hampi, which was the capital of the Vijayanagara from 1336-1565, contains many temples, and is home to locals, worshippers, backpackers and hippies. Because it tries to cater to tourists, a lot of the restaurants have international cuisines, though the spelling is usually phonetic, so you see some interesting signs advertising lasania, potetos and maxican food. Actually, we almost missed our train because our cab got lost to the train station, so we got out of the cab, flagged down an auto-rickshaw, and took a pretty crazy ride through traffic and managed to make our train. The sleeper train was interesting. There were three bunks to a wall, and the ride was about 12 hours as I recall…all in all, not too terrible a way to travel, though Joanie compared it to a prison train. You can judge for yourself if you want to look at the pics on my facebook album. We got into the Hospet train station, and found a guy in the station who pretty much ran things and knew how to get anything you wanted in Hampi. He got us two autos (auto-rickshaws) to Hampi and took us to a fairly decent guesthouse with rooms that cost Rs. 300 (about $7.50) a night. Eating is also pretty cheap in Hampi since there is no alcohol or meat allowed there since it is a holy site. The bill for our meals in hampi regularly came out to less than Rs. 300 combined for the 4 of us. Needless to say, you could spend quite a long time in Hampi and spend very little. On our first day, we took the boat across the river to Anegundi. Unfortunately, we only had two days in Hampi and the boat stopped running late at night, so we had to go during the hottest part of the day. We went through a lot of water bottles, luckily those are pretty cheap too, only about Rs. 15. The boat was pretty interesting, just a large motor boat run by two boys, who must have been about age 12 and 14. Justine has some funny pics of them. Crossing the river cost Rs. 10 per person. On the other side, the 4 of us crammed into an auto and got driven around to various temples. They were all pretty cool, though I felt bad taking pictures at temples that people were actively worshipping at, so I didn’t take too many. Another problem was that you weren’t allowed to wear shoes or sandals in a lot of the temples, and the ground was HOT. We were walking around like idiots trying best not to burn our feet, while the local people looked at us strange since they are used to walking barefoot and have much thicker, callused feet. Due to time constraints, we had no choice but to climb the 675 steps to the Hanuman temple. The climb was pretty intense under the Indian sun, and it felt more like I was going up to see Pai-Mei. The view from the stairs and the top was pretty impressive, as you can see in my pics. When we finally got to the top, Justine decided her feet couldn’t take any more abuse, and stayed in the shade while we tried to make it barefoot to the temple as quickly as possible. The inside of the temple wasn’t too impressive, but the view from the top was. After a good luck we began our descent down, which was nearly as bad since I was a bit scared of taking a tumble down all those stairs. When we finally got to the bottom we relaxed in the shade and had some cool water and pop. That was pretty much the end of our day in Anegundi. We took the boat back across and then relaxed at the Mango Tree, a favourite hangout of backpackers. After that we showered and then wandered around the Hampi Bazaar. We followed a parade into the Virupaksha temple, and after that played Hearts and some other card games, where I schooled everyone by Shooting the Moon. We went to bed pretty early, because we wanted an early start the next morning to avoid the sun, and there’s not much to do at night, especially since there’s no alcohol. The next morning we visited a lot of temples and historical sites in Hampi. Because a lot of these sites have been damaged or desecrated in some way, people don’t worship there any more, but these sites tended to be a lot more impressive. This worked out nicely, and I didn’t feel as bad about taking a lot of pictures. I took pictures of all of the site descriptions so you can read them if you’re interested. We saw a huge statue of Ganesh and a lot of little temples, it was very tomb-raideresque…there was huge sculpture of Lakshi Narasimha, which was very impressive, and many Shiva Lingams with Nandi Bulls worshipping them, which is funny because my cousin Nandi (who we’re staying with) married a man named Shiva. The Royal Center had a lot off cool things, including the Lotus Mahal and Elephant Stables. After that we went back to our guesthouse for lunch and a nap during the hottest part of the day. At around 4 we looked around some other very cool temples and palaces, including one that had a thousand musical pillars that you could make music on by tapping or hitting. We ended the day by watching sunset at the top of a mountain that had a monkey temple. Luckily we got a drive up this mountain. It was very cool looking across the relatively untouched landscape, with palm and banana trees and the huge mounds of rocks, very Jurassic Park. After the sun had set, Justine, Joanna and I headed back to the guest house while Tara caught the train to Bangalore. That night, the power went out in Hampi in all but one guest house/restaurant, so we decided to chill out at that restaurant for as long as possible. We were also getting tired of Indian vegetarian food, so we opted for something a little different, and got vegetable soup and chinese noodles, which turned out to be a bad idea. We played cards and bought some candles, and then finally headed back to our guest house to sleep. We were planning on taking the train to Goa the next morning. Unfortunately, my body had different plans. Note: the rest of this post contains descriptions of bodily functions which you may not want to read about. You’ve been warned. Anyway, when we got back, I was feeling pretty nauseous, and I wanted to sleep, but i had to stay up for what seemed like forever while Justine and Joanna packed in the other room, so that I could open the deadbolt and let Joanna in. I got a gravol from Justine and tried to sleep, but couldn’t because I was feeling sickly. Luckily the power was on. Eventually i felt like I was going to puke, and went to the bathroom. Much to my dismay, I simultaneously had diarrhea and vomiting. Joanna asked if I was okay, I told her to go get Justine in the other room, and then the power went out. Not fun. Over the rest of the night, I puked one more time, and had diarrhea about once every half hour. Not cool. This was the first time in my life I think where I actually had true diarrhea, and was excreting only liquid. After this experience it was easy to see how thousands of people can die during cholera outbreaks from massive diarrhea. If you want to know how I felt, you can watch the Sopranos episode where Tony gets food poisoning. I didn’t dream like him have any weird dreams because I didn’t sleep all night. I did however have many observations about my current condition, some grosser than others. One interesting observation was that it was only when I had no meat or alchol that I got sick. At any rate, after popping a few imodiums and a cipro, I started going to the washroom less often. We decided a Goa trip was out of the question, and instead went to Hospet for the day and returned back to Bangalore later that night on an AC sleeper train. Luckily by then my diarrhea was more or less over, and since I was massively sleep deprived I passed out the entire ride back. We returned to Bangalore and I recovered and was on strict orders to eat plain food, while Joanna feasted on A. Brinda’s very yummy looking food, and Justine felt sickly. Justine recovered that night, but then Joanna got sick. We went to the doctor and got some drugs, and eventually we all were fine. Throughout it all, we were in constant contact with my cousin, aunts and uncles, so everyone in Toronto needn’t worry, because there were more than enough people in India calling and texting constantly. Sorry this post was so long, but I don’t feel like shortening it or chopping it up. Next stop: GOA!

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One Response to “May 3-9: And on the 4th day, God said let there be darkness, and Jeff violently expelled fluids from his body”

  1. Merv Mascarenhas Says:

    Jeff:

    Enjoyed your vivid descriptions of your travels and tribulations. They are a valuable companion to your FaceBook pictures and help flesh out your many adventures and misadventures. It’s almost as though we are there with you. I’m glad that you appear to have acquired immunity against the d-stuff.

    Keep having fun and writing about it!

    Love to you, your sisters and all our relatives in B’Lore!

    Dad

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