I've been here for a couple days now.. it's a nice enough town.. but nothing really breathtaking.
I went to the Maharaja's palace yesterday, walked around (it was quite nice), and found a spot on the marble floor upstairs to chill out, and enjoy the view... I pulled out my newly purchased postcards, and began to write.... only, this was not to be.
First, a group of 4-5 kids walked up, and said hi. I shook each hand, asked them their names, their ages, and then they left.. but oh no, they came back, this time, with their friends. Now, I had another 4-5 hands to shake and names to ask... Finally, they left, and I returned to my cards..
Not two minutes later, a crowd started to gather. First, it was just a couple guys looking over my shoulder, reading what I was writing - one even reached down and picked up the pile of already-written cards, and began flipping through them.
However, soon enough, more joined them, until, there were about 20 people, all looking down on me.. Now, for a moment, step back, and imagine the scene. I'm in the maharaja's palace, wearing my newly purchased orange skirt/lungi, a foreigner, with long hair and a beard- and the only person in the room sitting down - addmittedly, perhaps, an interesting sight.
Eventually, I turn around, and see the mass of people around me, stand up, and ask, with a smile: "So, is this a zoo?" A few get the joke, and chuckle.. the rest just sort of stand there, with the now, oh so common look of, "tell us something about yourself.. speak!"
And so - I engaged the crowd, asked about who was whom, who was married, where they worked, shook hands - told them I liked India, and the food, etc... However, once I mentioned I was a vegetarian, the crowd started to cheer, and random hands started to pat me on the back. Clearly, they think that foreigners eat meat non stop, and so they were very happy to find out that I eat only veggies.
After all of this, I had to leave - I just wanted to write my postcards in peace, and clearly, peace was not to be had here.
Later in the day, I took a bus up to one of the holiest hills in all of southern India (about 30 mins away), saw some nice views, and entered my first Hindu temple... it wasn't particularly spectacular, and once inside, a priest snuck up on me and dabbed a bit of yellow paint on my forehead before I could run away - and then promptly asked me to donate some money. Sneaky man. I coughed up 5 rupees, smiled toothily, and left...
I don't think i'm going to go to Bangalore... it's a big city, and I have no need of big cities right now. I want to head to Hampi, which is about 8 hours north of here... the only problem is, I hate night busses - because you can never sleep. And the only day bus is at 7:30AM. I was unable to wake up for it this morning. Fingers crossed, I'll be able to do it tomorrow.