09 February 2016

Hampi: Backpackers' Paradise/Ghetto

As I'm writing this on my last few hours in Hampi, I'm looking at the river, some ruins, a temple, and am getting eaten alive by bugs. Good times here.

I was urged by a coworker to go to Hampi. She found it so magical. I think it's a special place, but I didn't fall in love the way some did. I stayed on Hampi Island, which is a backpackers' paradise or ghetto, depending on how you look at it. There are tons of Israelis and lots of partying - despite the fact that you're not supposed to drink here, I saw heaps of people drinking, and smelled lots and lots of weed - definitely one of my least favorite things to smell, so I wasn't too thrilled about that. But there's lots of great ruins to see, yoga, reiki, chill restaurants to relax with a fresh juice or a lassi.

I arrived after the night train from Mysore, my first night train so far. The journey itself wasn't that horrible, but I woke up a million times. What time is it? Did I miss my stop? Is my stuff all here? Is my purse hidden under the sheet and around my body still? Then I took a rickshaw to the boat, waited for the boat, and then walked until I found my guesthouse.

I got a cup of chai (caffeine desperately needed) and then ordered breakfast. While eating, an Argentinian guy came in and said he was going on a bike tour of the ruins. That sounded rad. I invited myself, and Patricio and I were soon off in the heat. I barely had time to pee and change my clothes.

We met at the temple and then began a super hot journey. The guide kinda sucked, but the ruins were great. We took lots of photos, learned a little bit. Then we split from the guide and Patricio and I biked to Vikkela Temple and saw a few other ruins. It was past one and the sun was blazing and we ran out of water. Eventually we found more, but it got to the point where we were like, "Oh, there are some more ruins..." and would bike in the pursuit of water.

Back at the guesthouse, I took a bucket shower and felt way better.

And then Patricio saw me as I was heading out to yoga. He joined me at Funky Monkey, where we did yoga outside. The bugs were awful (they're terrible in Hampi; it's humid and on a river) so savassana was a bit difficult. Then we got food at the hostel and hung out.

Many guesthouses in Hampi show movies at 730pm; I opted instead to chat with Eden, Bird, and Campbell. I told them about quitting my job, the fear I had had, how unhappy I had been, the struggles with my trip. We shared secrets and talked about life challenges. The kind of amazingly personal thing you can find oh-so-quickly while backpacking (or ultrarunning or at Burning Man).

The next day, I got up early. The electricity was out, again. (I later learned it’s turned off every day from 6-7 a.m. and p.m., those times being rough estimates - it’s often quite a bit longer.) I went to an ashtanga yoga class, and then talked to a swami (later, he became MY swami) about doing Reiki Training. I went back to take a bucket shower, eat, and then, did Reiki Training.

I’ve had an interest in reiki for a while. I attend a bunch of yoga classes where it’s offered during restorative asanas, and I thought it might be a good skill to have if I wanted ot teach yoga. So why not learn it? I love the idea of learning to harness the power of energy.

I spent most of the next days days in Reiki Training; learning the history; the process; the practical and the theory. Swami was an interesting man who lives here only in the coldest months (and right now, it is NOT cold….I am a sweaty mess!); his ashram is near Agra, and he’s there from March-November.

It’s hard to explain; I guess I’ve always noticed energy and wasn’t sure how to use it. I’m excited to learn how to harness it to heal, but I still have more work to go. I’m hoping to study Level II somewhere else in India...perhaps in Arambol or in Varkala. And then maybe master level, someday?

Then I went and did more ashtanga yoga, and sweated like crazy through the Primary Series. Barbara would be proud at how well I’m jumping back!

My days were filled with reiki, yoga, fresh juices, walking around, lazy chats, writing.

I’m not in love with Hampi, but I’ve certainly enjoyed my time, and am excited about my new Reiki knowledge. I’m getting eaten alive by bugs, so I’m ready to move on.

No comments: