Friday, March 14, 2008

Palolem- Day 1

In Hampi now. It was rough leaving Goa. Cheap seaside cabin and good food and beautiful sunsets and warm water. Yeah, that was tough to leave.

We got up early-ish on Tuesday (Andy was a tad grumpy about the very loud disco music all night), had a nice breakfast and got accosted by more sellers ("You're very white" is what they like to tell us the most). We promised to buy some wears later -- and promptly broke that promise by packing up and leaving. We wandered back towards the main road where we found internet for a bit and eventually a very cheap bus towards the train station. Unfortunately, the bus drops you off about 3/4 of a mile from the station so we had to hoof it the rest of the way.

After negotiating which train platform was ours (with help from some very helpful native travelers), we waited. The beggars picked us out and kept sending their very small children to stand in front of us with a tiny hand raised palm-up. It's very hard to say no and eventually Andy crumbled. I was eating Goldfish Crackers and gave some of those away. The train arrived and the usual madness to board ensued. Indians haven't quite mastered that whole letting-passengers-disembark-before-entering train idea. They throw themselves into the entrances before the train has even stopped. In fact some even run alongside the train and jump on (I guess to get the best seats? I have no idea). It's maddening to be ON the train and trying to get off (especially with a giant pack) when men are roughly shoving themselves on board and trying to get past you. Also, chivalry?
We got on board and settled down next to two friendly men. I got out my camera and showed them pictures from home. They were very interested. Also, Andy and I are still carrying newspapers from our respective homes and we shared those.
The train ride was quick - about 45 minutes. We disembarked and took an auto-rickshaw towards the beach. The driver dumped us at a "resort" that seemed as good a place as any and the hostess greeted us and showed us her empty cabins. About 50 feet from warm crashing waves. Nice.
Andy and I dumped our stuff and headed out for some late lunch. We ended up sitting at at beach bar for most of the evening, relaxing and watching the surf, boys playing cricket and beach dogs frolicking. The food and beer is cheap so it's easy to do. Eventually we moved to another beach bar where there was a pool table. I played one game horribly and Andy continued with two more games with some other backpackers and a boy who worked there. I sat with the beach bar dog. I noticed that most of the dogs had their right ear cropped. I pondered this outloud to Andy and suggested maybe it meant they were fixed. Andy scoffed... but later I found out I was right! It's nice to see that these dogs are everyone's dogs and no one's dogs. They mostly stick to the same bars but occasionally wander down the beach and play with other bar dogs. During the day they "nest" in the sand in the shade. There are dog nests up and down the beach in the a.m.

We decided to call it an early night and headed back to our resort area. It was nice to listen to the waves crashing most of the night -- eventually I had to put in ear plugs due to the boisterous roosters in the a.m.

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