Is it just me or are others out there irritated by the mushrooming ‘recommended by Lonely Planet’ signboards across the country? Every single eatery, guest house and clothes / crafts stall in the bazaar proudly displays it. I cannot honestly say I blame anyone – only foreigners stay the night in Hampi, most if not all Indians who do make the effort to visit Hampi, check off the temples and ruins one right after the other through the day and hurry back to Hospet for the night, back to “star-hotel” comforts. And foreigners carry Lonely Planet guides.
As for the writers, I suppose the likes of Venkateshwara restaurant was among the best they found in Hampi, a place appallingly lacking in eating options, apart from the fabulous Mango Tree by the Tungabhadra. But it is not as if places do not try – most eateries offer you every conceivable cuisine in the world – apart from the quintessential Mughalai and Chinese, also Lebanese, Italian, American, French, Israeli, Mexican – a world of cuisine, almost all of it uneatable.
I do not mind this whole “globalization” thingy as such – what bothers me most is that every place now feels like the other – atleast in matters of food choice. That, and the fact that there is no room now for local food – my husband and I always like to sample authentic local food when we travel and that is becoming harder and harder to find. Hampi has nothing Karnataka in its varied offerings, while Bhubaneshwar had nothing Oriya or even Eastern.
Straight from the heart
Hampi tries hard – and you have to love Hampi for that (if nothing else). And be ready to forgive anything. Unlike Rajasthan, the worst offender in this respect – I keep going back there and come back feeling miserable each time. Kerala does not even try – it is indifferent to the local and foreigner alike – the LP boards are as half-hearted as anything else resembling work in that state. I have not spotted these in Goa – perhaps Goa takes its “coolness” seriously?