05.01.2010 - 10.01.2010
Hampi was another lovely place - a boulder strewn landscape with a river, paddy fields and banana plantations, and lots of amazing ruins just everywhere. In the 16th century it was one of the largest Hindu empires with over 0.5m people living there only to be destroyed in 1565 by Deccan sultanates (whoever they were).
We stayed across the river from Hamp town which meant lots of boat trips on the ferry which grew more difficult as the river level dropped and we had to wade to the boat and a 6pm curfew for the last boat. But it was lovely and tranquil over there with much less hassle from rickshaw drivers and banana salespeople. We only planned to spend two or three nights there but stayed five as we succumbed to the relaxed life of a bit of sightseeing followed by lounging in our swing looking at the views and the birds and listening to the giant (and alarming) beetles gnawing into the bamboo supports of our hut.
We had arranged to be in Hampi at this time to meet up with our friends Malcolm and Linda who we met in Laos last year. After problems with mobile phones we failed to make contact and thought we would miss them but by some miracle bumped into each other at a temple. We had a great day with them - endless chatting and a visit to a sloth bear sanctuary where we even saw four distant bears.
And we even managed lots of temples and ruins.
So to parcel posting which we hoped would be easier second time round but how wrong we were. We wanted to send our newly purchased bedspread and some warm clothes which we hope are now redundant. After a long (nearly 24 hours) journey from Mumbai we decided to stay in a small town called Hospet before heading to Hampi. We'd seen a post office from the bus and walked to it next day - or in fact walked straight past it to the outskirts of Hospet. We turned back, found it and were re-directed to the main post office - back in town the other way. Yes they sent parcels but didn't wrap them - the helpful clerk drew us a map of the shop - back the other way - where it could be wrapped. The shop was shut but we were told it would open in an hour at 12 - we came back - still shut. So after carrying all the stuff for a couple of hours we gave up.
Then in Hampi at the entry to our guesthouse was a shop offering parcel wrapping and sending (no nearby post office here). We were just going to have it wrapped but seeing the size of it (and nearly 4kg of weight) we decided to trust the guy and handed over 20 pounds for him to post it for us. The wrapping was a work of art with white cloth, stitching and sealing wax - wish we'd taken a photo. So now it's either winging its way to the UK or he pocketed our cash and the contents are either up for sale in his shop or floating down the river - we live in hope!
Next stop - Goa and the beach - no snow here!