Daily Archives: January 9, 2011

Happy Journey

So, I’m finally on mi todd, swallowed up by the subcontinent by the Bay of Bengal. Back in Hampi Charlie’s felt too settled to move on. He’s found a hut for 50 rupees ran by this cheey chillum-toking baba – in fact the place is called baba cafe – who sits on a matress in the caff all day smoking said chillums. Charlie’s also furiously writing two books – his life story & an account of his trip to India. I dont blame him, the place he’s staying it is gorgeous, right by a river & one of the bouldery hills. Thus happy enough that he’s in safe hands, I’m now embracing the rest of this country & find myself properly alone for the first time in a good, good while. Its like someone lifted me up out of Edinburgh & a coupel of cyclones later plonked me in Vizag – Visakapatnam’s nick-name.

Just over twenty four hours ago I was in Hampi, contendly waiting at Smiley’s place, before being inundated by 15 young uns from Halifax & Leeds. The Roses banter was friendly enough, but a yorkshire lad did start to raise the banter levels the longer he had to wait for his eggs – are you waiting for the chicken to lay them, followed by a rude comment as to my county persuasion. In fact, it was a decidedly busy session, for the poilce were yet again in town – this time witha couple of JCBS knocking down any restaurants & houses that had been built withouout permission. During this I was told that the boat to the other side of the river (& freedom) had been cancelled for the day – stranding me on Hampi island. However, it came & with a few warm hugs & ‘happy journeys’ from the locals I was on my way. I collected my ticket from this travel agents – which had happy jounrey written on it – & was wished a happy journey by the seller. The ticket was 300 rupeees, But I’d had to pay bakshish to get the last seat on teh train a week ago. I didnt mind, because it took me where I wanted to go – the other option being a two week wait & a crappier route.

I then caught a bus to Hospet – which halted once when this oldish woman was trying to blag a free ride, & a loud argument ensued. Keen to continue, I bought her ticket (13 rupees) & we were happily trundnling along when there was another screech to a halt. This time the bus had knocked a guy off his scooter. He was proper dazed & confused, with snot coming out of his nose, but a few bottles of water over his head & he was compus enough to begin an argument with the bus driver. Then we were all shunted off the bus onto another one & finanly we made Hospet, where a big board above the station wished me a ‘HAPPY JOURNEY’

It was while waiting for my train to Gunttukal (where Id change for Vizag) that a very funny four hours began. There was this cute Israeli girl – a 24 year old called Gal – who I approached, as one normally does when surrounded by Indians in a case of “i’ll watch your bag if you watch mine.’ I said Id also ‘protect’ her from any cheezy sleezy men. Anyhow, & quite hypocritically, something happened on that train, a wee spot of cupid I think, & found her gazing at me with this big brown dreamy eyes. The indians around us thought us man & wife & after a while it actually felt like we were. Once at Guntakkal, we were stood on the bridge over the platforms, the sun just setting, & making out like crazy. Sensual spontaniety at its most romantic, yet i felt a wee bit hyporitical as her protecetor had ended up hitting on her. We had two more hours together. My train was heading east & hers was heading west to Mumbai & her flight tpo Tel Aviv. Unfortunatly the railway retiring rooms were closed (we were both up for it) so we found a bench on a quiet platform & hung out. She was a great kisser by the way.

After one last kiss to the sound of engines & cacophonic tooting I left Gal & I got on a sleeper train to Vizag. For 17 hours. The experience is worth doing & is an absolute neccessity in India. Theres plenty of food being touted up & down the aisles, from Ice cream & samosas to full lmeals & packets of sweet cherries, with the beggars not far behind – the blind, the limless & the decrepit. There were also two ladyboys who did their weekly ‘shopping.’ They turn up with an agressive clap of the hands & basically demand money off the men – which they invariably get. Apparently they are only allowed to do it on fridays & saturdays – something for the weekend I dare say.

So Im now in Vizag the so called ‘city of destiny. ‘So far its nothing special – but ive only seen the train station & a couple of streets. However, I’ve got the feeling its gonna be a great place to hole up & explore for a few days! Heres the wikipedia link…