Its been a while since we last wrote so i expect ill have a lot to say! The train to mumbai was fine, pretty uneventful as trains go and was completly on time. Varun however was not and managed to sleep in, he was supposed to pick us up at 8am, but when we called him he was still in bed! typical! Either way he manged to get there in the end and we went straight back to his so we could wash, as we were very greasy at that point!
Our week in Mumbai was ace, it was so good to see varun again and we find mumbai very relaxing, perhaps because Varun and his family make us feel so at home we never want to leave! Baby Ruhaan is so cute, we spent a lot of time playing with him, at nearly 3 months old hes getting quite big now! And scarily enough he is attempting to walk, it makes him quite when you prop him up, Ruhaan at maximum height!
We went to the cinema and shopping and tried out various restaurants in mumbai. Varun is very busy at work so some days he left us to our own devices, which was fine by us as we were really tired for the first few days ( a months travelling caught up on us). Then we had to spend one day trying to sort out hotels for the next leg of the journey, which we managed fine. So all in all it worked out quite well. We spent every evening with varun going to various night spots, mainly funky bars where we felt very out of place in our shorts and t shirts!
On Friday we took a day trip to Elephanta island, which is an island in just off the penisula of mumbai, and the number one tourist spot in mumbai. On the island is a series of caves, which were built around 1500 years ago, which contains images of hindu gods, its basically a temple carved into the rock. We left early with varun on the way to work and carried on going all the way into town, where we got a ferry, which took and hour, over to what we discovered to be the hottest island in the world. The plan was to try and avoid the heat, but by the time the we got there is was midday, aka temperature equals core of the earth. When we got there you get a tiny little train across a bridge to the bottom of the island. This is where we didnt realise that the caves are located at the top of the hill, sigh! Lets just say by the time we got to the top not only were we out of breath, but we both looked like we had just had a shower (attractive!). I dont think we have ever been hotter than this day, the major problem with mumbai is the humidity, which was high on that day, as well as it being around 36 degrees! When it gets to this point, not even the shade is cold anymore! We plodded around the caves (after paying Rs250...indians pay Rs10), and i must say that the carvings were well worth the visit. There was one inparticular of the 3 headed Shiva (over 20ft high), which looked eearie in the dark but very impressive at the same time!
After visiting the caves, we plodded back down to the boat, which we were glad of the breeze at this point! I dont think we have collectively sweated as much as we did on that day! When we docked in mumbai we went for a drink and did some shopping on colaba causeway, which is basically like a market where you can buy pretty much anything at rock bottom prices. When we got back to Varun's, i think I can safely say we had the best shower ever!
It was Varun's mum's birthday on the day that we left so we went for a large meal in one of the best hotels in Mumbai. They treat us very much like a part of the family, which is really nice of them. We had an ace lunch and then we had to get back in order to pack our bags (which we left until the last minute!). We literally shoved everything in our bags and sat on them in order to make them close! Our train left Mumbai on time at 8.30pm. We were very sad to leave mumbai, as it will be a long time until we see varun again. Varun being the true indian he is has invited us back and says we have to go back before we leave india! I fear cost and time may be too short in order to acheive this, although i would gladly go back!
Our train was fine, a long overnight one, and arrived on time in Hubli the next afternoon! We then got a 5 hour bus to Hospet, from where we had to get a rickshaw to Hampi. On the bus journey we got covered in pink paint, as they were still celebrating Holi. Unfortunately, the window was open and we were sitting next to it. And we were both wearing white. Ill leave you to fill in the gaps...
By the time we arrived in Hampi it was 8pm, which meant we had been travelling for around 25 hours since mumbai. Needless to say we showered, ate and fell asleep! Surrounding Hampi is an old ruined city, which is spread out all across the area. We hired another scooter yesterday, as there is no other way to see all of the major sites in a day! We christened the scooter Scampi (from Hampi....get it?....we need help...). Hampi is a strange place, there are really old rock formations surrounding the area, which makes the place look like a cross between Jurassic Park and the Flintstones. Seriously, some of the rocks are so big that you cant even imagine water being able to move them. They're really weird! We saw various temples and ruins along the way, including the Queen's baths and the elephant stables.
Unfortunatly our scooter died at around 4pm, so I sat on a wall with our broken scooter (a local indian informed me that the chain had snapped....great!) whilst Chris walked the short distance to town to get the guy. He rode back up on his bike to get me and the now dead Scampi. He wheeled it back down and swapped it for a white one, which we quickly christened Scampi 2 (it was late in the day, imagination running low...). We were quickly on our way again to go and see the most impressive and well preserved temple of them all, which did not disappoint! We got to watch the sunset on the way back as well, and went to the top of a hill so we could look out over the valley, which is littered with strange rock formations! You would not believe the size of some of the rocks, literally as big as houses!
Today we checked out this morning and walked to the local temple, where there is an elephant! I got rather excited! Elephants are not out of the ordinary here, but i still cant believe it when i see one, chris is more grown up about the whole thing, but i seem to turn into a 6 year old kid - either in slient awe or just smiling like a goon at it! Poor elephant, must be fed up of people just starring at it all the time! Either way, people were feeding it bananas, which she accepted without question! She also blesses or kisses people (basically she whacks you on you head with the end of her trunk) for Rs1, which i was too excited not to do! I got even more excited when i saw the process! You give the coin to the elephant, she takes it with the end of her trunk and smells it, realising its money she gives it to her keeper, and then whacks you on the head with her trunk! We got so excited that we both did it! Poor thing, we wonder what they must have done to her to train her to do that?...Either way it was rather exciting!
We leave Hampi later on tonight to get an overnight train to Bangalore, translates as 'the city of boiled beans'! We leave at about 8pm from Hospet, and get to Bangalore at 6am, so another tiring day ahead! I shall write next when we are in Bangalore! Sorry for the length of this entry, i wasnt expecting it to be this long! Hope you are all well,
Lots of Love
Chris and Alex xxx