Doesnt’ take long from the Jog Residency to reach the beach, which looks so inviting but I don’t stop. I have breakfast when I get to Ganpatipule (which I’ve been misremembering and mispronouncing all morning: “Gopattipoo? Go-pontipool? ) Breakfast is a dry omelette and the usual white roll and chai. I imagine a factory churning these white rolls out. Finished the book I read feverishly all day yesterday – I am not as averse to cliché as one of the main characters, Crispin Hershey. There were many sub plots in the book that seemed inconsequential to the main plot.
I am following the ‘TOD’ signs first spotted by Darren (who I received an email from – he is still laid up with ‘Delhi belly’ back in the chalets but is hoping to catch up with me at some point). He thought the message spray painted in the road said ‘TOP’, especially as it was near the top of a hill and was immediately followed by the message “Nearly There” on the tarmac. For the last two days I have continued to get messages for TOD – which has been particularly helpful with arrows at major junctions and even uplifting when the messages urge one to “hit it” or let you know that there’s “just one more hill!” or “Climb this for an AMAZING view!”
The signs have also led me to this Ashram. They actually pointed the way to a place across the road, but that one is closed and the guy in the shop suggested I ask in here. ‘Here’ being a large building that seems to exist to house Hindu devotees coming to visit the temple next door from other parts of India. The manager let me stay anyway – no charge but a donation encouraged I think. I was shown to a basic dormitory on the 4th floor (4beds with hard matress– but just me staying – with bathroom en suite – indian shower, western loo). I washed some clothes out and hung them up to dry before setting out to go to the Puja at the temple for 7.30pm. I was told I could get a veggie meal too, for a donation. The Puja was fascinating – musical chanting, but I sat out and watched, not participating (couldn’t read the Sanskrit crib sheet) so it felt wrong to get the food. Besides, there seemed to be some kind of registration and queueing system to get the meal, so I just went back to the Ashram and had the three mandarins I didn’t lose today. I also did a bad daily drawing of some bullocks. Hey – nearly forgot to mention – it rained today! Just a few spots – but remarkable.