Wednesday, 18 March 2015

16 Mar - Harpanahalli to Hampi

Day's run: 99 km
Total: 1,352 km
Start:  06:21
Saddle Time:   05:31
Total Climb:    283 m
Total Descent: 474 m
Average: 18 kph

Today is one of those emotional roller coaster rides. I wake up the hotel staff to check out and the manager blatantly short-changes me 50 rupees from my deposit. I spot it on my way out and he pays up with a dead-pan expression. I was feeling buoyant about a relatively short run to Hampi. Now I feel deflated. Crook!

I soon perk up with the pleasure of being back on the road again. The phone rings. Must be a wrong number. I ignore it, but it rings again. I answer with a curt "I'm English, sorry, you must have the wrong number". Moments later it rings again and I give up "Hallo, who is it?" The answer is a bit of a shock......"Hotel. We still have your passport....where are you?". "On the road to Hampi, (wearily) I'm on my way back". Damn! I swing the bike around and start heading back the 14km to town. Any cyclist will know how distressing this is. I'm cursing myself for my stupidity. I've invented a pre-ride check word to prevent this happening PIGS SWILL but I didn't use it..........P is for passport, first on the list. Idiot.
I'm not in the mood for being sociable as I see the sun, now on my left, already turning from red to a glaring white. So, when I see a motorcycle coming towards me on the wrong side of the road and trying to wave me down I just give a curt nod and continue pedalling.........but as I pass I hear the magic word "Passport!"
Passing by the tableau of India awakening in the cool morning air lifts my spirits. This is what it´s about. Whirring along an untravelled road to a new destination. I 'll have 25k under my belt before tiffin.

I'm overtaking a procession of carts going about their business. This cart is a real vintage model.

The lucky oxen get an early morning wash and scrub 

Another early morning ritual, filling up with water from the stand pipe, or well in the more remote villages. It's a job for the elderly, women and children it seems. I wondered why the gourd-shaped container was so popular until I saw how they  comfortably a pair on the shoulders

It's cotton pickin' time. This could end up in your next T shirt. Eating beef is illegal here......buffalo is Ok.

Road side repair. The truck has a 240V generator powered of the engine. the driver is arc-welding a crack in a splined sleeve, part of the drive-shaft I think. I'm amazed at their resourcefulness......... And which is why you should have steel bicycles and racks for touring.............repairable.

Another festival cart protected against the elements. The wheels are solid stone and must weigh a couple of tons each. All pulled by humans I've been told.

The school run- India style. No, please don't slow down and talk to me, I'll feel so guilty if their is an accident. He does.

It's tiffin time! This is iddly, a breakfast staple in these parts, a sort of rice cake eaten with the chutneys and sauces. Behind is hot crispy medu vada's turning into a gastronomic odyssey! And I'm now a fan of ginger tea too.

Although I haven't found any yet, meat is still being consumed. This is the butchers shop and this is mutton.

I'm offered offal but I'm going to stick with the veggies for now, thanks.

Butcher's daughter

On the approach to Hospete, this reservoir is huge, I can't see the opposite shore.

This is Modi's head, the watermelon seller tells me, as he deftly slices off  my portion. Modi, the prime minister, is a Gujarati and appears to be not so popular in Karnataka

The most ridiculous cycle load I've seen so far. I follow at a safe distance through the busy centre of Hospete

Hampi at last, and a few days rest and enlightenment.

I spent ages trying to photo the Langur monkeys in the jungle. They have been a part of Hampi for centuries and are fully urbanised.

Walking into the temple I somehow get signed up for a cycle tour on my rest day!

The cricket World Cup is in progress, India are still in it (England obviously fell at the first fence) and local interest is feverish

Another full day over with.

I'm staying in Hampi Bazaar, my room is down here on the left somewhere. It's the first time I've spoken to a European since I arrived in India and makes a welcome change.

Good night!

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