We have explored a few different areas of interest here in Pune and will be moving on tonight. I have started to pick up some souvenirs. They are more expensive in larger cities but there’s more variety to choose from. Even the expensive prices are pretty low compared to the US, though.
We will be taking an overnight 13 hour train ride tonight. We will get off in Guntakal at around 8am and figure out how best to get to Hospet. From Hospet we will take a half hour bus ride to the village of Hampi. I am excited to get to Hampi. It is promise to be relaxing and relatively undeveloped compared to the big cities we have been in so far (Pune has about 3.5M people and Mumbai about 11M). Hampi is also a little off of the beaten path for tourists so that should give it a different feel. So far most everyone has been quite nice to us but we have encountered several people trying to rip off the obvious tourists.
There’s not much use in us trying to ‘fit in’. We have seen other travelers but most of the time we are the only non-Indians wherever we go. We get a lot of attention no matter where we are. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural difference or not, but people here stare for quite long periods of time… as much as 10 minutes sometimes! Easily 90% of the people passing us by on the streets give us a look to see what we’re up to and what we look like.
We have seen families cooking dinner on the sidewalk while a teenager dressed in new Western-style (as in Western Europe and the US, not cowboy) clothes walks by talking happily on a cell phone. There is a very wide spectrum of wealth and education among the people. Imported DVDs at the Borders look-alike bookstore were priced equivalently to US prices (1,999 Rupees for Lost Season 1) and we were able to fill both our bellies with tasty street food and some extravagant fancy sweets for 56 Rupees (about $1.20).