Kindness of Strangers
I am in Hampi now — after two overnight trains — one from Varkala to Bengalore and then one from Bengalore to Hospet (where I got a bus to Hampi). Hampi is an amazing spiritual landscape of ruins and huge boulders — seriously, a bouldering dream come true! Makes me want to climb!
I will have some awesome pictures to share with you all. I am totally exhausted though — I was really tired leaving Varkala as it was and then two overnight trains — suffice it to say that I did not get a whole lot of sleep. So today is not going to involve a ton of walking around in the sun (though hot, at least it is not as humid here!) — but I had a great lunch at a restaurant that I had to walk through a banana plantation to get to — and then sat on the ground overlooking the river. And I had to stop myself from ordering everything on the menu….
Anyway — as I mentioned – I had a really good time meeting strangers in Varkala – Rob and Norman in particular (though there was another good find there too! ;).
So — yesterday, when I arrived in Bengalore at 7 in the morning – I did not have a plan for the day other than catching my train at 10 at night. I read in my trusty lonely planet that there were two touristy areas — so I picked one and had the tuk-tuk driver drop me off. Of course nothing was open — not even coffee shops — and I had no clue where I was going. As I was walking down the street, I saw a foreigner and thought I would ask him if he knew where I was (all I needed was a point of reference and then I could work from there!). I asked him if he spoke English – and he replied – oh, a little. Just kidding, I am english!
Unfortunately, he was not able to give me a point of reference – as he was in Bengalore for work all of two weeks and he mostly had a driver to get to and from work…. So, while that was not helpful – we went and had a cup of coffee and talked for a bit (as foreigners are apt to do when they meet up traveling – the whole ‘what’s your name, where you from, where are you going’ thing). It turned out that he did not really have plans for the day – and neither did I — so he invited me back to his hotel to sit by the pool.
Now — disclaimer — I know how sketchy that sounds. I know that even more sketchy is I took a rinse off in his bathroom (overnight train — which by the way — somehow I ended up in AC! how cool is that? well… literally cool, i suppose!)
But – yes, I know it sounds super sketchy. And I had to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether I trusted the situation or not (which, is pretty much what I do on a daily basis with just about everyone/everything). Andy seemed fairly harmless (and andy, when you read this – i hope you get a good laugh out of this!) — and it did sound nice to sit poolside….
So, along I went — to a super nice hotel (i have a picture of poolside) and we sat in the sun and had delicious sandwiches and g-and-t’s. I did not swim as I had checked my bags at the train station — but it was nice to just hang out. and, i’ll be honest, nice to be pampered a little in a super nice hotel. We hung out for the day and then andy treated me to a super nice dinner before I headed to the train station. Thanks again Andy!
Funny enough — this story is dedicated to another Andy. I co-instructed a course this summer with the very fun and funny Andy Clair. And his feedback to me after the course (among other things — one of which was to pack lighter…. wish I had heeded his advice there!) – but he told me that I should be better at accepting (and asking) for help. And though I was not necessarily looking to be rescued yesterday by Andy (English andy), it was nice to accept his offer and trust/believe that it was all going to work out. Whereas, I could have said no, no — I am fine, I will do it on my own — and my day would have been very different (and would not have included a hot shower — first in weeks, g-and-t’s poolside and a super fancy dinner!).
So — here is to accepting help and opening oneself up to the kindness of strangers!
more from me soon — with pictures hopefully!
lots of love — aurora