Hampi is the kind of place we’d love to visit again, but probably never will. I wasn’t too excited about Badami. We talked a few travelers who’d been there and commented – few hotels, not much to see, not worth the hassle of getting there… But I was happy to leave “tourist haven” which was beginning to feel too much like spring break – with all the young people who seem to come to India more for the sun and cheap living than for experiencing the culture. They stay close to the guest houses, dress themselves minimally in cheap Indian clothes made for tourists, make forays out on motorbikes, and watch movies with titles like “Obnoxious Bastards” shown in restaurants at night in between power outages. Many are Israelis, traveling after their military service. We’ve met several older Israelis who have defected to Europe or Australia, not happy with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, with no plans to return
Enroute to Badami we spend one night in Hospet – a town you would only pass through on your way somewhere else. We stay in a “luxury” hotel with air conditioning (of sorts) white sheets and a swimming pool. We enjoy the comfort and I swim in the kingfisher blue painted pool, beside a wall thick with morning glory flowers. In the restaurant our dinner is served by three waiters. The service is good; the food is not. The whole experience is horribly old school British, down to the way the boy ceremoniously lays out the cutlery at each place –most of which we have no use for.
One vignette that will remain with me of our stay in Hospet is buying Limca lemon soda from the soft drink stand on the street, and being persuaded by the owner to sit down to drink it on two plastic chairs immediately behind the stand. His wife joins us and sits beside me, smiling in a motherly manner. I am moved by her affection expressed without saying a word. Neither husband nor wife can speak English but they make us feel so welcome.