III: Vijiyanagar

At last I unpeel’d myself from the lush, green dolphin shores of Goa & struck forth into the Indian hinterland. The other morning, as dawn stirr’d the steaming jungle from her sleep, I thought I’d try out the local buses & head west via the verdant Western Ghats – jagged mountains that run for a thousand miles. The view of Goa from these peaks was shrouded in mist & very Lord of the Rings. I was startled to see old Indian women carrying baskets of stones on their heads & others operating a concrete mixer as they were building the road I was travelling on (road? I don’t think so mate). Ten hours of numb-bum later I arrived in Hospet & was forced to take a very dirty room in a lodge there. Subsequently I was eaten alive by bugs. Next morning & scratching like fuck I set off for Hampi,  arriving on a bus just as morning was breaking, while around me appear’d the ruinous environs of an ancyent city called Vijiyanagar. Several hundred years ago it was the fabulous capital of a great empire, with six-mile wedding processions on cloths of gold, & kings with 12,000 wives. It was razed half a millennium back & has remain’d uninhabited until recently, when the hippies arrived. After passing abandon’d temples full of monkeys, I was ferried by basketboat to a little settlement across the river from the old city. It is so serene here, a tantalising lace which bathes the soul. As pastel lustr’d sunsets muster’d oer Vijiyanagar, silhouetting a bongo player stood on a boulder playing to the heavens, I shared the stunning scene with Doratha, a beautiful little Romanian creature. We were led on these warm giant boulders, still retaining the suns heat, & there she taught me a soothing meditative technique. My hyperactivity went out to the stars, but it soon came back as she was hot as fuck!

The mosquitoes came out at night (to bite) but a bike-ride early in the day to Hospet saw me equipp’d with a mozzy net, and a couple of things I didn’t really need – when you enter an Indian shop they treat you like an old friend & offer you everything in the shop. Anyhows, my new ‘armour’ kept out most of the bugs & I zapp’d the couple inside – a peaceful night’s sleep. Next day saw more touring; overbearing statues of lion-type, frog gods, funny-faced monkeys, fluorescent birds & the world-fabled Monkey Temple. It was quite a climb up a hell of a load of steps to get there, & when I did I saw yet another-fuckin temple. However, the place was crawling with monkeys & I shared one of those karmic moments with a wee laddie with big fangs. As I skinned up, I’d left my bag on some rocks, complete with money & passport & all mi weed. Then I turned around & came eyeball to eyeball with a monkey who had his hand outstretched an inch from mi bag. We stared each other down like something out of High Noon, before he scampered off emptyhanded. A lucky break, one expects.

I’m staying in Hampi for a couple more days then moving down to Bangalore. This morning I went for a scramble over the huge boulder piles, like little hills but full of batfill’d caves. Believe me, they stretch for miles – like the ruined columns of some ancient giant temple – I’m right next to the fuckin desert here. Anyway, I stumbl’d across a small village & smoked my last charas joint, on which the tripp’d out guru-owner of a restaurant offer’d me some nice Nepalese black, just in time for an after-breakfast spliff.

Hampi
24/1/02

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