On one day that we were in Hampi, we decided to travel across the river by boat and brave the festival to try to see the ruins of the old Maharaja-era city that was built in the 16th century.
But the thing about Indian festivals is the CROWDS. It's quite spectacular, really. All the ruins were covered in people. And all the paths were shoulder to shoulder people.
My favorite part about these crowds was the women. Oh, I love talking to Indian women, and all these women were in from their tiny villages, friendly and shy and lovely. We can't speak so much to one another, but we can smile at one another. They loved seeing their pictures after I took them, and before we knew it, everyone was asking for a photo. They were village people and a digital camera was really something to get excited about.
Lots of kids and youth tried out their English on us. We answered the question "Which country you from?" about 264 times. Maybe more. Sometimes the guys became inappropriate (they aren't supposed to shake hands with women, so we declined, nicely) but subsided when we were firm.
Johanna and I stayed into the evening and walked up into the hills to watch the sun set. There were beautiful ruins of the old city all around. Parts are still being excavated. We stayed to watch parts of the festival, but unfortunately the young guys started to get a bit wild. Something about dusk does it to them. Lots of yelling at us, laughing, whistling, a little bit of pinching. I hissed at more than a few, yelled at a couple, and raised my hand to one.
We decided to start back to the other side of the river. We sat and sat on the corner of the steps where the boat was supposed to pick us up. Everyone waited. Nothing was happening. We couldn't get any information, except that the boats had stopped, and maybe, maybe they would start back up.
As it turned out, that was it. There was no way across, apart from swimming, and we didn't feel up to it in the dark. We had to turn back and find a room.
And the next morning? Madness at the boats. I mean, absolute chaos. Police with sticks trying to keep the crowds under control and failing completely. But eventually we got through all right. And back to the peaceful side of the river, woo!
Crossing just after sunrise.
The ghat side of the river.
Sadhus wash their digs too.
Light on ruins.
One photo please!
Everybody's got a water buffalo.
Swing made of old saris.
I love the smiles in this photo. People here normally become very serious for photos.
The boat that wouldn't go. There are far too many people on this boat for it even to get out of the mud. However, no one would move until the police whacked them on the heads with sticks. And I know why. It's because it really could be the last boat! Everytime one got close to shore, a hundred people would jump on it. And only forty were really allowed. Craziness.
This is where we caught the boat from, on the right corner of those steps. I had gotten across already, but Johanna was still on the other side and I was waiting for her.
Thankfully, she came over on the next boat.