After some research, we decided to stay on the other side of Hampi’s river and thankfully made it to the boat 30 minutes before the last one of the day. The boat men rudely told us and a bunch of other tourists that we couldn’t get on as the boat was no longer running and we would have to spend ten times the amount on another boat. “Forget it” I said. We were fuming. “I am not paying you a single penny, I am taking my bike and SWIMMING across that river, in PROTEST” Hugo loudly shouted in a voice like Ross from Friends. At that exact moment he stepped forward onto the rock and went arse over tit, into the water on his bum. I was crying with laughter as were the other people along the shore.
So it happened. We spent the next two hours, partly in darkness, trying to get our bags and bikes across the river. I must have looked a right idiot sliding across rocks fully clothed with my sunglasses and helmet still on, just because I refused to pay one dollar. I’ve said it everyday in India, “it’s not the money, it’s the principle” and not once will I encourage these money-making scams.
I had completely forgotten that I had just cycled 145km without stopping for lunch and about that cold shower I had desperately craved, although now neck deep in water, my craving was more than satisfied. Miraculously, we managed to get six bags, a handful of valuables, two bikes and two people safe and sound across the river. Go team!
The boat men must have some sort of vendetta against me because when I went to cross again the following morning they left me waiting in the sun until the boat was “full”. After 20 minutes or so, I gave up and went to try and see if there was a place where it was possible to walk across. As soon as I left the half full boat it left without me so I had no other option than to swim again if I wanted to join my friends, now on the other side. I crawled/slid across the rocks and got stuck on one unable to move due to the strong current as you can see in the photo above.
Mike, who was with me, had a backpack on which got wet but luckily his valuables were all ok. I had my bumbag containing my passport, money, iPhone and camera. Not ideal when stuck on a slippery rock half way across a gushing river. I had no other choice than to throw my bag across the rapids to a random kid on another slippery rock. I closed my eyes, how could I have been so stupid as to think this was a good idea? Miraculously he caught my things AND didn’t steal them! The current took me as I swam across to the next rock but a kind man saved me and pulled me ashore. It was only knee deep but I had hugely under estimated the strength of the water.
I emerged from the water without my shoes (later the kind kid swam after them and got them back for me) and my sentimental elephant pants completely torn in half much to the amusement of onlookers, who had gathered in their masses. What’s more I had only just picked the trousers up from the tailor who repaired a few holes for me. Ahh well, if I’m honest I did have a hell of alot of fun and the only harm done was to my ego. A word of warning though, do NOT cross a river where the current is at its strongest, even if it is the shallowest part!!!