I’ve heard great things from other travellers and the lady at the reception that Hampi is a magical place being a world heritage site with huge spiritual and historical significance. I try booking the train from the guesthouse only to discover that the train is fully booked, so I innocently ask if there’s a bus I can take. Little did I know it would be a 12hour ruthless ass bashing with a side of transport.
The seats are falling apart, i’m pretty sure i’ve got a busted spring under ma ball, it’s jammed full of people and it’s hot as hell on wheels! I use some of my time in the rolling sweatbox to research various guesthouses to stay for the night, I pass out a few times with exhaustion and I stumble out later that day in a dizzy daze. I’m instantly greeted by a hungry wave of Indian rickshaw drivers all claiming to know exactly where I need to go. I don’t like the intensity of the people and say “I don’t need a ride right now”.
Everybody leaves except for one young driver who persists with me for another 15 minutes of me saying no thank you, no thank you, no thank you. Finally he offers a dirt cheap price of 250rupees ($4.5 or 3€) for the 30 minute drive to Hampi. He says the only reason he is providing such a cheap price is because it’s his ride home and he’d like some dinner.
I grab some dinner for both of us and call some of the recommended guesthouses whilst in the back of the rickshaw only to find that the advertised prices in Lonely Planet are long lost in the past and prices have almost doubled since then. There must be a cheaper alternative. I continue friendly conversation with the driver and only after a feeling a mutual respect and understanding is achieved do I decide to ask if he he knows of a place I could stay for 350rupees a night.
Travel Tip: Giving locals a question of “where can I stay tonight?” is a perfect opportunity for them to try and make a bit of extra money. Giving them the boundaries of a price you’re willing to pay prevents them from being able to create ridiculous prices.
He calls a friend who he says is his cousin and asks if I can crash at their house. They agree. I arrive so shattered after the 12 hours of bashing all I want to do is disappear for a while so I say hello to the owners then close the door and catch up on some writing.
The family keeps knocking on the door at various times in the night asking if I would like anything. I continue to say no thank you, I have all I need (which is true). Only later in the night do I realise that the cheap price of accommodation has the slight unspoken expectation that i’m going to buy things as well.
I hear the sound of a young girl crying of hunger outside my window in the building next door. The sound resonates down to my soul and awakens me to life outside of my own inwardly focused desires. I realise at this moment that my incredibly fortunate life would be a waste of resources if I dedicate it towards accumulating material wealth for myself. I am already fortunate enough and do not need to burn energy and money decorating my life with materialistic luxury that assists non other than my ego and my comfortable bubble of existence. I don’t have time to worry about my own selfish desires, there are far too many others in need of my intelligence, love and upbringing than myself. I also realise the beautiful picture of the town painted by lonely planet has a much deeper layer of struggle and difficulty beneath it. I promise myself that tomorrow I will get out of my comfort zone again and straight into finding out the deeper truths of this town.
This video outlines some of these realisations.