Final month in Goa that is. It’s getting near the time I should describe a typical day here. After all there is no work involved and it is an interesting experiment in how to keep occupied when living this way. But more of that with the next post. The trip to Hyderabad was a nice one. It was almost perfect in that Indigo airlines took off and landed at precisely the times they advertised. That was a good start and finish to the trip. The only annoying part was the tedious trip to the airport in Goa. It’s expensive and takes well over an hour depending on the traffic. We go to Pune for the last excursion in mid-February and so I make that three trips to the airport left. Two there and one back.
Hyderabad was pleasant, far less manic than most Indian cities. The airport is really new and there is an expressway which whisked us into town in pretty good time considering the distance. We stayed in Abids which is the older part of town and away from the new and upcoming Cyberabad, the new hi-tech part of the city that is taking it forward. There were virtually no tourists although we did befriend a couple from Yorkshire who were fairly constant travellers living most of the time in Cyprus but managing to be regular visitors to Kerala over the years. There were some lovely buildings in this part of town. The famous Charminar, the four pillared mosque that is a famous landmark. It is surrounded by a market area with many lanes. It was a bit more Muslim than we had been used to but as a male I could still get away with shorts and a tee shirt, something not so readily available to the ladies. We never even got close to getting into the enormous Mecca Masjid mosque nearby but it was enough to admire it from a distance. The Sarlar Jung Museum was a wonderful collection of all sorts of stuff. My favourite sort of place. I was especially drawn to the amazing walking stick gallery that had a fascinating collection. Having been reliant on a walking stick for a while I had my own collection but this was phenomenal. There was a wide collection of art, toys and all sorts. The Chowmallah Palace started off as a large garden at the front but there was a fabulous ballroom with huge chandeliers and further collections of weapons and vintage cars. As is frequently the case you have to pay a fee to bring a camera and take photos which is usually 50 rupees ($A1). I duly paid this but was then told I couldn’t use my good camera, only my phone. Outrageous I thought, but managed to get a few good sneaky shots away with the SLR. It would have been good to have had the time to compose them better.
Ramoji Film City which is apparently the largest film lot in the world is the centre of Tollywood. This is the Telugu language film hub. It also produces films in Tamil and even a few in Hindi. This maybe a powerhouse in the movie world but the trip to it was underwhelming to say the least. It is obviously trying to emulate a place like Universal Studios but has some way to go. To anyone visiting this lovely city you can safely give this place a miss.
Before leaving for Hyderabad we were invited to a birthday party by a long-term Italian resident who we often bumped into at one of the few good coffee shops in Goa. Definitely the realm of older hippies but there were some younger ones there. Apparently most of them are followers of Ohso better known to most as the Sri Bhagwan Rajneesh who was very popular in the 1980’s before his Oregon commune imploded and his fleet of 99 Rolls Royces were repossessed. I failed to see quite what great enlightenment they had gained form their various journeys. Some of these had involved long sojourns in ashrams here and there. For one Australian there, it had involved a long stay in Pune before he talked about freeing himself. Anyway, they were good at chugging back the red wine and puffing on the fags.