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Ruins, Monkeys, and Fireflies: Jodi and I returned this morning from a trip to the Hampi Ruins. We took the night train there (first class) and it was pretty nice. We headed straight out to the ruins and saw just about everything that first day. We ate twice at the Mango Tree, did some walking, and really enjoyed being girls on our own (with our English-speaking driver, of course).

Susie: I wonder if we'll get our picture taken as much without the kids.
Random person: One snap?
Susie: I guess that answers that question.

We had our picture taken a dozen or so times. Some people asked. Some didn't. I was also asked for my autograph, which is a first.

We stayed at the Royal Orchid hotel, which had a really nice shower and insanely comfortable beds. We watched Prince of Persia at night, then a horrible, hilarious, dubbed Chinese film in the morning. The second day, we visited the temple, where Jodi got to spend some quality time with Lakshmi (the elephant), feeding her bananas we'd bought.

Since we'd seen everything we were interested in, we ended up taking a boat across the river, and hiking 680 steps up Anjanadri hill to see a view of Hampi valley. The hike wasn't as hard as we'd anticipated, but we had to pass too many monkeys too close for comfort. We'd paid an auto driver to take us there, wait for us, and return us to the boat dock. We asked him to stop so we could walk the last km. He said, "Why?"

We had to wait over half an hour for the boat to come get us. (TII) By the time we made it across, the ruins were closed. We climbed up on top of riverside ruin that still had a roof and lay there for half an hour. Then we went to the Mango Tree for dinner, where we hung out for two hours. One of the waiters walked us back to the road, through the banana plantation with a flashlight. He showed us fireflies, which are apparently huge, fat beetles. At this point we realized our driver had been sitting outside the gate for 7 hours, since bringing us to the Mango Tree for lunch. We made it to the train station, and our train was only half an hour late.

We couldn't get first class on the way back, and unfortunately, it was a lot harder to sleep in second class. A few stops after us, a couple guys came and slept in the bunks above us, slinging their stuff on our beds and snoring, and there was a kid talking loudly for hours across the way. The train got in to Bangalore at 6:10 am. Bleh.

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