I take it upon my shoulders to continue the adventure with full effect, no more hiding behind travel books or doors. I jump straight onto my bike in the morning and bobble through cobbled streets feeling the warm morning breeze brush past my face. I pass the 7th Century built Virupaksha Temple in absolute awe and notice a humble man on the side of the road selling hand made jewellery & coconuts.
I pull over, introduce myself and open conversation with the direct and honest question of “How has this city changed in the past 15 years?”.
His eyes widen, he takes a different stance and begins to tell me a long story of how so much has changed. He walks away from his shop to show me the rubble of the buildings that used to provide much needed business for the local people of Hampi. The government said the businesses were detracting from the heritage site so they swiftly destroyed all business and relocated the people 10 km’s outside of town. He continues to say “Things have changed dramatically since then, many people can no longer survive without the business in town so many families have gone else where in search of food for a day.”
We spend a good 35 minutes in deep discussion together, It’s an honest interaction and he asks me “Peter, what will you be doing in about 4 hours time?
I reply “I’m a traveller and my schedule is ‘pretty flexible’.”
He says “There is going to be a festival in Kadirampura, the rural village I live in a few km’s out of town.”
I say “I’d be very much interested in that”
We exchange digits and he asks. “Hey Pete where are you staying tonight?”
I say “I’m in a guesthouse down the road but to be honest with you, I’m looking to learn more about the real Indian way of life. I’m looking to live in small villages to get an inside perspective on what life is really like here.”
Travel tip: If there was anything hitch-hiking 1500km from Barcelona to Croatia in a business suit taught me it’s that you don’t get if you don’t ask. Being clear and honest with others about what it is you desire is the only way people are going to have a clear understanding as to what you’re looking for. There is nothing wrong with asking honest questions.
Slightly taken back he says “My house isn’t really the house to bring foreigners back to and there isn’t much room.”
I continue to say “You need not worry about the condition of your home, it’s the experience that I am looking for.”
He thinks about it for a moment and says, “Meet me at the festival in my village tonight and we will go from there”.
I thank him for his offer and I walk back to my bike only to notice a large number of women in white clothing tapping at the rocks around the temple with metal blades. Errrr what!?