Woke at 8am. Showered and unpacked. For some reason all the clothes in my backpack are damp, resulting in the horrible smell of damp, smelly socks clinging to everything. I checked out of the hotel and headed down to the Central bus stand. There, I bought a ticket to Hospet for 260 Rs, semi-deluxe. I met an American bloke, Peter, from San Francisco, and made my first Western friend of the trip. He bought the seat next to me, and we went for Chai together. We had a tete-a-tete, and it was great to have a normal chat with someone. We got on well, then I left to have my customary marathon stroll around a new town. How I love to do this! Taking in the sights, sounds, and smells, at my own brisk walking speed. I strolled past a park where some locals were playing cricket. I then went to ‘Cafe Coffee Day’, and ordered a delicious Coconut Frappe with a blob of vanilla ice-cream. I sat down with this and 2 samosas, and wrote my diary in the sun.
Aftewards, I strolled through the market, taking in the truly exotic sights, sounds and the smells. Cows have free reign here, and stroll arrogantly yet peacefully through the streets, eating whatever they like, and defacating wherevewr they choose.
I got some photos transferred onto CD, then headed back towards Gandhi Square. I checked my emails, then met Peter outside Park Lane Hotel. We went to a small restaurant and devoured a South Indian Thali washed down with small, metalcups of coffee. Then we walked to the bus station and boarded the ‘semi-deluxe’ to Hospet. Semi-deluxe meant uncomfortable leather chairs, and no a/c. The chairs only reclined a fraction. It also meant frequent stops to pickup random villagers. After an hour of the journey, it was clear that there was problem with the first gear, so we pulled into what resembled a bus graveyard, full of laid-to-rest public buses, to get the problem fixed. After an agonizing 10.5 hours, we made it. The journey ranked in my top 3 most uncomfortable bus journeys, the first being in Bangkok, the second the Liverpool-Aigburth service I used to get everyday which passed through Toxteth, the bus windows frequently shattered by shellsuited scallies. I got about 1 hour of sleep in total. Still, the lentil Dahl with chiapatis was nice at one of the stops.