Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hampi Cottages

September 25th

We ended up eating breakfast here at the Shante Guesthouse. Their dining area is a big open hut. It has a beautiful view of rice pattie fields, the river, rocky hills, and of course some palm trees! I met some nice folk from Bangalore today, the river had risen and they were supposed to leave today but couldn't get back to the mainland, because the only way across the river is by boat, and if the river is too high, the boat doesn't run. I am not sure why, it seems the reason is even better for having a boat in the first place.

Rico and I worked on the maps in the hut, I started drawing his design for the windmill for BhodiSthaan.

We are definitely are the only people who came to Hampi to do work. Most of the tourists are from Israel or Germany. The great thing about being in a touristy location is the variety in food choices, I've been ordering different international quisines at every meal!

Although their menu's still tend to be really vague.

Tonight I ordered something on the menu named, “ veg mushroom”

I just wanted to see what it was.

I tried to ask the waiter what it was before I ordered it, but not sure if he fully understood my question,

I ordered it anyway.

It turned out to be a vegetarian burrito with every vegetable in the world inside! It came with cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes and rice.

Not too bad for Indian Mexican.

The restaurant/guesthouse/hut we went to tonight was called, “laughing Buddha”

The places to eat around here, for the most part have short tables and mattresses surrounding them, so people sit on the floor and eat. Tonight when we were eating, they started the movie, Momento.

It's so relaxed here, nothing is ever rushed, food usually takes an hour or so to be prepared and waiters don't really wait on the customers. If something is wanted the customers have to wait a while for them to come around eventually or go up to them, because the music or tv is usually too loud to call them across the room.

There were also a couple of cats, frogs and geckos hanging out in the restaurant hut with us. Completely chill.

Mapping/Surveying the Wild Life Reserve

September 23rd

This morning one of Bobbi's drivers took Rico and I to the wildlife SOS reserve. We walked around in the scorching heat for a few hours mapping, taking pictures and surveying for the best drainage areas. Rico is going to build a one acre pond for the wild life animals because the water hole the animals had been using can only be accessed if the animals cross a couple miles of farmland, which is creating unpleasant relations between the local farmers and the wild animals. Farmland is currently surrounding their main source of water, and the farmers aren't keen on the animals trekking their way through their fields and destroying their crops. The wildlife corridor being created is an attempt to provide a safe haven for the animals as well as a water source without harmful interactions with the local farmers. The animals who live here include, monkeys, elephants, and wild big cats to name a few. Kartik had been trying also to buy the farm land from the farmers who live near the lake/water hole, but all refused to sell their land, so this cooridor to a new pond is the alternative.


Kartik has already hired a few workers for the wild life site being created. The workers followed us around and helped us get around on the rocky terrain, they didn't speak much english, but seemed nice none the less!







dry season has definitely started. Its so incredibly warm. I put on 70 proof sunscreen and I am still a cherry tomatoe.


On the way back to the resort, somehow I saw the weirdest things.

First I saw a goat.. with something hanging out of it, when I realized.. it was totally having a baby on the side of the road! And some little boy was helping it deliver!

Next window sight was a little kid.. pooping. Once I noticed one .. suddenly I noticed them multiply! They are actually everywhere! Once I noticed the little kids pooping everywhere on the side of the road.. I started noticing the adults! Especially in the fields.. all this time, while I thought they were picking rice.. they were actually taking a dump.. not only just taking a dump, but it's totally a social event.. they poop in pairs or groups.. whatever.. no big deal!

anyway.. as I begun to think that I saw my fill for the day.. I spot a guy... laying face down in the mud.. wasn't moving at all.. I sure hope he wasn't dead.

But I figured if he was.. the nearby villagers/market vendors (who were at most 10 feet away) would have done something??? I hope?? He must have just been drunk..

Anyway.. it was an interesting window watch from the wildlife center back to the eco-resort.

Once we got back.. we ate lunch and headed out to town to stay at an inn... well the inn's here in Hampi consist of little cottages. So we found ourselves nice little cottages to stay in.. and like always.. no power.

Which is fine.. I've had enough light today.. with the sun and burns and all.. the darkness of the cottage is very okay..

Cave Paintings and Gypsies

September 22nd, 2010

This morning we walked up with Bobbi through a jungle on the outskirts of his resort to see some cave paintings! Some of the paintings were huge, and many were small paintings depicting what looked like men and goats. Some were so high up on the rock, a type of scaffolding must have been used in their creation.


After our walk we ate breakfast and headed off to a natural amphitheater to check out more cave paintings. There were more paintings of men, and a big painting of a cobra. I wandered off in hopes of finding more, braving my way through the tall grasses and doing my best to climb around on the big boulders.. but no luck! I guess when the villagers say there are no other paintings.. they would know.. but it was an adventure anyway and I didn't encounter any cobras.


After checking out the cave paintings, we drove down to the river crossing junction (near the center of town), crossed with a boat, and spent most of the afternoon in town. I bought a lightweight colorful backpack, since my shoulder bag has been making me feel a bit lopsided trekking around in, so I was happy when I found an Indian Gypsy selling exactly what I needed! Indians call the nomadic people of India, gypsies. They are easily spotted in a crowd because of their brightly colored sparkly dresses. They tie long pieces of fabrics around their heads, wear huge golden rings on their noses, clanky jewel filled bracelets up and down their arms, as well as several anklets per ankle. Caked with jewelry from head to toe, its hard to look away. I was so close to asking the lady if I could take a picture of her. But I withheld.

The tourists are beginning to flow in with the change of the season. Monsoon season has officially ended, and the start of a dry winter has begun. So much for the winter part, because today was well into the 90's and by far the hottest day yet since I've been here.

We checked out a local bookstore and a cafe. The power went out for a bit and sitting in the middle of town in a cafe was almost unbearable with the heat. The monkeys made their way into town today and it was so depressing to see them scrambling the streets for food, and being so quickly shooed and chased away by the locals.

Even though, yesterday was the first day that they sneaked into mine and Ameli's room at the resort. They stole my underwear and Ameli's basil and herbal supplements. They didn't make it too far because we found all of the stuff, scattered out of the window.

But, it was more funny than anything else. Much rather have the monkeys around then not. They are way too cool to see everyday.

After our town trip we met up with our friend we made the other night at Bobbi's fire pit music gathering. Gali, was his name, and we visited him at his drum shop where we had a quick cup of chai tea before heading out. It's something to get used to is hot beverages on a hot day!


When we made it back to the resort Ameli packed her things and we said our goodbyes for now. She has some business to take care of in Myesore.
Rico and I ate some dinner, and called it a day.

Right now it is 930 and I am exhausted. We have an early day tomorrow because Rico has taken on a job from Kartik (a man who runs a foundation for rescuing wildlife in India, he is currently expanding on some wildlife reserves for the animals and is seeking some permaculture expertise to create some sustainable ponds for the animals, www.wildlifesos.org- he is currently looking for people interested in helping out!) and we are going to map out some wildlife land tomorrow. We are going to try to go before the afternoons pounding heat starts to kick in, but we will see how it works out.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Visiting the 10,000 year old ruins!

September 21, 2010

We have been talking about seeing the ruins (the ruins of a village said to be 10,000 years old) for a while, but everytime we have tried to go, something always came up, and we weren't able to go.

So today, when I met up with everyone, I wasn't too surprised when they told me that we weren't going. But it was different this time, because it was kind of the last chance we had to go since it was Ameli's last day here at the resort (she leaves for Mysore tomorrow). I asked them why we couldn't go, and Bobbi handed me a newspaper with the ancient village on the front page!! It had finally been publicized! Bobbi told us that the place would be swarming with officials, and it wouldnt be nice to go. I started reading the article, realizing that I wouldnt have the chance to make it there. Suddenly, Bobbi, felt so bad he said, “come on, lets go!” “who cares, lets just try to hurry before sunset.”

I was so excited, we all gathered all of our things and headed out.

We took one of his jeeps first out to his cottage in the middle of the wildlife reserve (the one we had been to once before by the wetlands designed by Rico) Once we got there, the plan was to switch the jeep with a more heavy duty jeep (one of the old ones with no windows, not even a windshield!) at the wetland cottage.

Our first roadblock was that once we got to the wildlife reserve, Bobbi forgot the keys to the cottage! And the keys for the heavy duty jeep were inside the cottage.. Luckily, the car keys were hanging conveniently by the front door, and luckily there was a screened window with a hole in it adjacent to the hanging keys! Bobbi quickly made a contraption out of a long stick and some bendable metal to stick through the broken screen and grab the keys!! (Most windows here are barred with metal, to keep monkeys or people out)
Even though the keys dropped at first, he kept at it, until they were nicely on the metal hook he had made and we quickly went to the jeep.

The jeep had some trouble starting, so we pushed it around the cottage to get it jumpstarted and hopped in! It was a crazy bumpy ride, trekking through the jungle! Up and down and around huge rocks and boulders!! 3 of us sat in front while Rico and Bobbi's worker sat in back. Ameli had to continually hold on to my arm so I wouldn't go flying out of the vehicle. I continually got snagged and smacked by shrubbery, but it wasn't soo bad because Bobbi was trying to warn me and make sure that I wasn't too badly injured by the spiney plants! We kept a keen eye out for leopards and tigers, which roam wild in the jungle!


It was the craziest trip on four wheels I've had yet, and it took maybe about 45 minutes to trek our way up to the top of the bouldery hill.

We were greeted by a herd of wild cows! Cows I have never seen before in my life.. They were white with huge humps on their backs, and their ears were serrated with dangly leaf shaped pieces of skin hanging off of them. They had huge horns and they were surrounding us, staring. They looked equally as shocked to see us. Luckily they were peaceful.

Next thing we came across was a dam. On top of this boulder hill!! whoever lived here 1000s of years ago built up a dam with stone! It was beautiful, entirely covered in lilly pads!!

Beyond the dam, were the strangest buildings I have ever seen! They were made of granite, the structures were about 9 feet tall, and each wall was about 5 feet across. There were only 3 walls per structure, and for each structure one wall had a small circle cut out of it. How these people put together 3 upright walls, and a huge slab of granite roof for the top, is beyond me.


We came back to the resort after the sun had set and almost lost our way, since it was hard to find the return route in the dark. We finally made it back to the resort once again, where we chilled out by the fire and ate potatoe pancakes and paneer.

Shama's Place

September 20th

This morning Rico and I went out to Shama's place (a friend of Bobbi- our host at the eco-resort). Shama has over 100 hundred acres of farmland, mostly organic. She wants to create forests for harvesting wood sustainably as well as forests for the monkeys. She is also interested in creating a small permaculture community of teachers and students with residencies on her site, as well as a learning center for ancient Indian art traditions. Rico accepted the design project.

We ate lunch at Shama's, and she drove us to her boutique, where she sells handwoven baskets, blankets and bags. A cute store, Rico bought a few bags as gifts and after we were brought back to the resort.

Later in the evening I watched a tv series called 'the Pack' with Ameli. The pack is a wildlife documentary about the wild dogs in India. It was made for Animal Planet, and we actually had the opportunity to meet the producers of the show! Because they are good friends with Bobbi and Bobbi has a home in the wildlife reserve where the documentary was filmed, which we will all be going to next week. Pretty excited :)

sept 19

September 19th

Today was a permaculture work day. I typed up some games for the PDC on Rico's computer and finished some more drawings for Life University.

Highlight of the day:

A lizard chilling on the ceiling dropped some nice blessings on one of the papers we were currently working on. Some nearby Indians started laughing and told us it was goodluck.