Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From Jodhpur to Hospet

Dinner served on banana leaf

How many people can fit on a vehicle?

Cathy, Courtney, Ferris and Lakuma

The Street March for the Sacrafice

Chickens to be sacraficed 
Wild Monkeys

Laborer wearing a Dohti

Sunset over the Hopset Lake

We left Jodphur and flew to Mumbai on the way to the South of India. As soon as we got on the plane a man sat down in the next seat and took out a prescription for antibiotics and took one. For the next 90 minutes he hacked, coughed and sneezed. There was no empty seat to move to, so I said a puja (Hindi word for prayer) that he was no longer contagious. Time will tell. We then flew from Mumbai to Bangalore the silicon valley of India. This is the home of most of the IT firms that US firms outsource to. It is 8.5 million people, living in an infrastructure that maybe can support 3 million. It has the worst congestion of any city in India. We were here several years ago, and it only seems to be getting worse. In Bangalore, as many India cities there are enormous improvement projects underway to create Metros, but it doesn’t seem to help as the people flock to the city.

You know you are in the South of India, coconuts are sold on every street corner. They sell from 8 – 15 rupees depending on size, that would be about 16 to 30 cents US. There are beautiful palm trees everywhere.

We had a Goan Fish dinner at the Taj, where we are staying the night, Gobi (cauliflower) appetizer and then Shrimp and a Crab Curry. Coconut and Chocolate Ice Cream for dessert. Good meal! The food was served South Indian Style on freshly cut Banana leaves. I really like the idea of disposable, organic plates! For breakfast we had fresh pineapple that was some of the sweetest we have ever head.

The next morning we began our 8 hour drive to Hospet to see Hampi. It was a long drive through the barren landscape. But we really enjoyed it. Half way, we synced up with Ferris and Courtney. We transferred our luggage to their van and bid our driver Govind goodbye. We then were with our guide Lakuma, who we had on a previous trip to southern India. We love her. She has great spunk and is very knowledgeable about the area. It is very special being with her. She has recently broken her arm and she doesn’t complain at all.

We saw monkeys, cows, Kingfisher birds, bullock carts and all kinds of vegetation. We were on a 2 lane national highway and suddenly in a small village, it was totally blocked by the villagers. They were carrying swords and sharpened sticks and we began to fear for our safety. Lakuma then explained to us that this was the yearly animal sacrifice in the village. We saw a goat that had recently been slaughtered, and chickens being offered to the gods. There were drum beatings and dancing in the middle of the highway as the procession continued. It was incomprehensible to us as westerners, but clearly a joyous occasion for the villagers.

We finally arrived in Hospet and had another great Indian Dinner. The food is amazing, we almost always order Veg (as they say here) and almost always the same thing: Some preparation of Gobi (Cauliflower) and some variation of a Rice. We never get tired of it, it is always prepared differently.

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