Police constables, Badminton and Banana Cakes: Day 5: Hassan
Today we started off at 7 and packed up our things for Hassan. We were about to leave the hotel but before we could we were each gifted the set of three local papers we had been featured in. And one rickshaw driver informed us we even made it on the television news segment! But we can’t find it sadly.
Our bus driver’s name was Shiva. He said “My god is Shiva, I am my god.” Right off the bat we knew he was going to be a pretty cool guy. He took us two hours through the beautiful Indian countryside from Mysore until we reached Hassan. We stopped in at our hotel. The sweetly named Southern Star Candy by Peppermint. It’s pretty fancy pantsy actually. We do not belong in a place like this. Our bags were delivered to our hotel rooms, newly refurbished granite bathrooms, delicious in house restaurant and some of the best views of the city. After settling in we took off for two very old temples in the local area. Belur and Halebi. One fascinating thing about Halebi is that it features old images from the Kama Sutra on its walls. So we had our eyes out for that. Also there is supposedly a frog that got sealed up in the wall during construction. I have a feeling said frog is no longer with us.
While photographing at both of these locations our stardom in India made itself apparent again. After being swarmed by a couple groups of 20+ Indian school children and sitting in on a couple class pictures it begins to go to your head . Even more so after appearing in the news. At Halebi I walked around the temple grounds for a bit but made my way down to the edges of the enclosure. Where a wall divided the temple grounds from a river bank where men were fishing. I decided I would hop the wall and walk on down to take some pictures. The only problem was I had to do it barefoot. You have to remove your shoes when entering sacred places in India and I was too excited to go back and fetch them. So down I went to the beach.
I caught up with a fisherman who had just pulled a net out of the water before I began to head back tot he wall . I climbed up and walked along the wall for a while until I found ruins of an old temple that was in disrepair and in a very secluded part of the grounds. So I hung out there for a while before walking back to the main section. This space was easily about 20 acres or so. I think. I’m no land surveyor. But I spotted some of my group sitting on the lawn a few yards from what looked to be a school field trip. So I sat down and as I was looking around I made eye contact with one of the people doling out food for the school. He made the unmistakable gesture, raising his hand to his mouth holding an invisible article of food and raising his eyebrows. They want to feed me. So I went over and followed up with him. Which drew quite a bit of attention from the school kids. They gave me a metal plate and loaded me up with some delicious foods, took a goofy picture for them of who I presume to be the cook feeding me a biscuit by hand. The food was delicious. Sadly we were pressed for time so i had to take off before finishing. Not without dozens of handshakes though.
When we got back to the hotel we lounged about for a while and I decided to walk around the neighborhood and take some pictures. I met a very energetic young man who loved to high five and smash fists . Pretty cool kid. While walking around I stopped to talk to a guy on a motorcycle who turned out to be none other than the police constable for Hassan. We chatted for a while and he gave me my number in case anything dreadful were to happen. I started off back down the street and smelled a delicious sent of baked bananas. I’m a sucker for banana baked into things (as I am with most foods I have come to believe) so I had to sniff out the location. My nose lead me to a little bakery where they had fresh made banana bread. And boy let me tell you it is amazing. I’m saving it to eat on the road tomorrow morning but every hour it is becoming harder not to devour it. I also ran into a group of kids playing badminton in the street. So I figured I’d try my hand at it. I don’t know what possessed me to think this was a good idea as I have a tenuous grasp on hand-eye coordination without a elongated racket in my hand. I was laughed at but it was ok. I was just creamed in a game by a bunch of Indian middle and elementary schoolers.