Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kullu Trip, Part One: The Road to Delhi.

7:45 am. I had waited outside my house in the dark, doors and gate locked for 15 minutes for a supposed group of staff who said they’d be there to see me off on my trip. They didn’t come, I left at 6am, as per my schedule.  I was eager to get onto the road.  Ten minutes later I was outside of Barmer City on an empty road (a rare thing in India) heading East, driving at a respectable speed of 60kph through the desert air.  And it was cold. I didn’t want to stop, the journey had started there was no stopping. Less than an hour later I was too cold to drive and so I pulled over to put on a sweater, jacket and gloves. 

“Why didn’t I do that before” I chastised myself, feeling much more comfortable. Of course an hour later, after sunrise, I had to take the extra clothes off as the temperatures quickly rose to sweat levels.

First stop was Balotra, some 100 kilometres away where the Patwari’s home was.  Lalchand Patwari, father of Vishal lent me his Bullet 350cc motorcycle for my adventure.  So stopping off at their home was a mandatory and a grateful first stop.  During my hour stay there I was honoured with a short send off ceremony by Vishal’s mother Laxmi.  She hand fed me some special sweet foods, put a teekah on my forehead and tied a coloured string around my right wrist.  It’s still there.

Then off I went to my next stop at Jodhpur where I had to have some additional work done on the bike. So far so good, I was feeling very comfortable with the journey as I had previously traveled these roads before.  I would still be comfortable afterwards but I would also have the constant feeling of wanting to confirm and reconfirm I was on the right road.  Signage is not that great in India. This obsessive mental state paid off for me a few times along the way as I often merrily motored off down the wrong way.

In Jodhpur I found the Royal Enfield shop as I had before and had them make a few adjustments and put a new speedometer in.  While waiting for the repair I dropped my helmet and it landed directly on the visor which got a big scratch on it exactly at eye level where I would be looking through it.  Was this a bad omen for the first morning? I got used to it.

I found the right road out of Jodhpur and headed to Jaipur to spend the night with Joe at his NGO Pravah.  I had been there before (by train) so I sort of knew where it was, but I arrived at Jaipur at night and I got lost, despite stopping constantly asking for directions.  Finally I pulled up to an auto-rickshaw and asked him to lead me to Bapu Nagar where Joe was. He agreed to do this for 30 rupees and I was happy to finally get off the bike and get together with Joe for some supper. (which was a whole chicken teka and beer, one for each of us.)

The next morning I headed out early for Delhi. Leaving Jaipur wasn’t as bad as getting into it and I was soon on the killer highway dodging trucks that were often heading straight at me. Needless to say this wasn’t one of my favourite parts of the trip.  I did stop along the way at roadside stands to eat and rest and made it into Delhi in a quick 5 hours.  I found Mike’s place relatively easily as I had studied Google maps closely and memorized the route.  It was a dirty trip, Delhi air is very polluted and my orange shirt was noticeably blackened by soot all over it. It was good to get to Mike’s, my Delhi home.

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. - Carl Gustav Jung




No comments:

Post a Comment