Friday, April 4, 2008

The Hampi Times

I made it! I friggin' made it to Hampi at last!

After two years of drooling over the idea of climbing in Hampi, I've finally arrived. Though, perhaps I came a little late in the season as the average daily temperature is now floating somewhere around 1,009,863 degrees Kelvin. It's rough, and the granite is vicious on the finger tips but I wouldn't trade this for any other boulder I've met so far.

Though I came here for strictly the climbing I've (as traveling randomness will always do) found countless other reasons to stay. For one, I can easily manage a day here on no more than 10 dollars. That, in itself, is enough of a reason to spend a month here. But there's more! Colourful characters are abound in this place; not the least of which is Petrol Baba, a Hindu holy man notorious for his wild consumption of petrol to get high when there aren't enough foreigners to donate hash to him. Last time I saw him he was sporting a mean leg wound (no doubt as a result of some petroleum bender) and was happily borrowing my camera to take some candid shots of my Swiss friend, Dominik and myself climbing a new problem. He also had me pose for a few shots, pointing off in the distance to Monkey Temple, his old pension. His new temple, the Sun Temple is much more humble, and I imagine that it is his new post after he was excommunicated from Monkey Temple for simply being too damn crazy.

Today he invited us up to Monkey Temple for the "annual Baba reunion" where we would be welcome to join countless Chillums (Indian hash pipes that require a certain dexterity to smoke) and probably some completely inane discussion of Shiva's return to this physical plane (I've had a few such Baba times).

More importantly though is the rock here. Sweet mother of Ganesh these rocks are mad! Everything here is stable granite boulders, some big, some small and most of them precariously perched atop one another. My poor fingertips and toe knuckles have had their share of the composite crystal and I'm afraid that I'll have to take a day or two off. Too bad there's no way that will ever happen, as I've just made plans to solo a 20 metre tower/chimney/dodgyfest and camp on the top for two days with Dominik before he heads off to Kathmandu. We'll need alot of sandwiches, I think...

In the off hours (the "on hours" are 6am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm, when the temperature drops enough to actually step out of the shade) we all post up in Shanthi Guesthouse make our way through the epic menu. So far I've managed to sample the entire Indian menu...twice. Next up is Israeli cuisine, and then perhaps Mexican. Why they have Mexican options on the menu, I really don't know...although I did meet on Mexican here.

Welcome David, the holistic Mexican healer from Arizona. Just the other day he introduced me to some inane crystal health reading machines (which you can make yourself by wrapping a copper wire around a quartz crystal and arbitrarily connecting it to an array of dials, lights and switches). I'm pretty sure that I saw one of these on the South Park episode about Scientology...

He did however, make me up a mean batch of colloidal silver and spash some lavender oil on my newest climbing wounds. For this I am thankful...for the 2 hour conversation I entertained about space-time-travel-retro-brain-wave-energy-healing with him, I am not.

So yeah, come to Hampi...the monkeys don't bite, but the buffalo that chased us for half a kilometre because she wanted to gore our crash pad and forced us to speed climb a rock to hide in safety may be a small deterrent for some n00b travelers.