Leaving Hampi was difficult. For one, we loved it so much it was a struggle to tear oursleves away. For two, our guesthouse owner scammed us with fake tickets so after we’d made the 15km tuk-tuk trip to the bus stand we found that no, we had not a seat to sit on. However, we weren’t on any old tuk-tuk. We were with “The one and only Vikram.” This was emblazoned proudly across the back of his wagon, and it soon proved to be accurate. Vikram took us to every bus stand, he fought with travel agents unitl we had seats to Mysore, then took us to a off-licence for some whisky before locating our spanish friends in a distant bar. If you’re ever in Hampi (and I’m sure you will be) please search out Vikram.
So, Mysore was OK. Palace. Market. Scamming rick-shaw drivers. Pretty standard. We did salvage what might have been an average day with the discovery of a roof-top bar, our spanish friends and a lovely japanese girl of whom neither G or I could remember her name. (Something like Tochoko).
Ooty was next. 2200 metres up, perched amongst tea-fields and towering eucalyptis trees, it was quite the setting. It was also quite cold. Now, heading south we had reckoned on beaches and sunburn. By 7pm when the sun had well and truly vanished I began to miss my Nepalese trekking gear immeasurably. It didn’t help that we were sleeping in a glorified shed with two german guys. I woke up at 1:30 am (thinking it was breakfast time) realising I couldn’t feel my feet. But morning swung around, we headed into the hills with some others and all was well. The views were incredible. The night ended with one of our Spanish friends (Carlos – he looks like Robert Downey Jnr) reciting the Old Testament to us. Odd.
So we’re very close to Mudrai, where we’re supposedly reconvening with the gentleman known as Spinks. To get this far we had to take a 120 year-old steam train through the mountains. It was a typical Indian experience. I had to stand for 2 hours, the steam from the engine filled our carriage like a dirty spa, some blokes started fighting in the booth next to us and monkeys tried to break into the carriages at one of the stops. Tranquil.