Saturday, February 02, 2008

Creature Comforts

I seem to - once again - have been remiss on updates of my progress, but that should be interpreted as a good sign - I have been out living India instead of inside blogging India!

Valley of Stone
The past few weeks have seen me leave the crashing waves of the Western coast and head inland again. I spent about 2 weeks in Hampi, which 500 years ago was the capital of an empire that carved its first city from the rock face of the earth itself. This place is alive with energy that is all about the minerals that you walk on, climb on, sit on and gawk at.

One great shield of rock that at some point experienced such a cataclysm as to rend it into massive fragments (if you will excuse the seeming oxymoron) that literally litter the earth. Boulders ranging from the size of apartment buildings to houses, to cars to toaster ovens are piled and scattered as far as the eye can see. Each mound has its cave of rock carvings, its temple to Krishna, or its elephant stables (seriously). For those in Nova Scotia, think the coast around Peggy's Cove multiplied many fold.

I am not a boulderer myself, but I spent many many hours in a close approximation that I would call "scrambling" over the granite.

I also met my mortality again in Hampi, contracting another strain of gastroenteritis that landed me in hospital for a few days. I won't belabour this point, as I am through it and recovering as I type, except to say that I once again have to thank the legion of truly good and kind people that seem to far outnumber the evil or small-minded amoung us.

It is amazing how keen your perception of people can become on the road - you just KNOW who you can trust and who are good people. Not only did travelers who had been strangers days before spend hours helping me in my illness, but those same former strangers carried and cared for my passport, wallet and all of my cash and TCs during my illness and never abused that trust. Thank you.

Western Comfort
So now I sit in the tech center of Bangalore for a few days of R&R that is doing the body and mind good in a strange sort of way - going to see western movies in gleaming shopping centers with Baskin Robbins ice-cream, Tommy Hilfiger stores (!?!?!) and Sony shops. I can highly recommend "The Golden Compass" if you have read the book first (which I also highly recommend), and, in a very different genre, "American Gangster."

Sometimes even a taste of the worst of western, capitalist, consumer culture can be a breathe of fresh air on the road....

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