India, Touring

Full-circle!

 

Here is a conclusive post, polished by the bias of retrospective contemplation, back in the UK it’s easy to look back and have a flood of positive emotions wash away the sweat, agony, severe bonking and that worrying buildup of salts in every crease of your clothing! Building up the bikes on arrival at Madurai was easiest ever, no unnecessary overpriced accommodation to hide away in, straight up semi-conscious struggling to stay within the ever-disappearing budget.

After a short contemplative wonder in Madurai we decided to go for the longest day in the saddle straight down to the tip of India… in full blown summer, with a constant seasonal headwind to beat the pending monsoon. ive never bonked that hard until then, or since!

 

That day in the saddle… only 140km, really flat as it was practically coastal, but it destroyed me, I literally crawled into a roadside restaurant shoveling sugar and salt in my face, washing it down with worrying amounts of water. I thought I was dying.

The short exploration of Pondicherry revealed an old Utopian hippy commune go terribly wrong over time. Its as expected, Utopia is a direction, never a reality…. inevitably writhing towards the inevitable corruption by greed. Auroville was a beautiful project, a testament to visions of the community that wanted to create a non-religious center where inner peace is achieved through rigorous meditation and unconditional adoption of socialist ideals.

The rest of the trip was a sweaty blur back up to Chennai, over -through Andhra Pradesh and through Telangana…. Telangana is a new state where everyone is chasing the fictitious new money as ‘migrant’ workers flood the city looking to fill the new jobs.

That place was batshitcrazy…. the worst place id ever been to, I would recommend maintaining a 100+ mike wide birth around it…. here are some images, but I will let someone more qualified explain how terrible this place is. We completely abandoned  seeing the sites for the sake of our sanity and safety.

http://riderzone.in/6-reasons-hyderabad-worst-city-biker-driver/

 

As we ran out of time approaching the border of Maharashtra, it was time for our last romance with the worlds biggest company The Indian Railways! This time with a little added comfort in the notorious sleeper class!

 

Oh the luxury, soon it will be variable-temperature taps, drinking water, friends, family, sit-down toilets with toilet paper, humane temperature, glorious-cold-rain, green grass, clouds,  decent coffee, recognizable vegetables, refrigerated products, stable gut-flora….

Yet I know it will be no time till I miss the sunburns and sweet nonsense, the overwhelming sense of being far-far from home and all the unimaginable things I will get used to on tours to come, solving problems beyond my scope of reference and using alien tools; these are the things were wired to do, far removed from the inner city bustle, in a field navigating by celestial bodies, soon enough ill be lost again. I hope.

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India, Touring

Almost at Hampi !!

Were now almost 800Km in on our tour of India after some serious medical setbacks that would leave the gnarliest butch bushcraft-guru rocking back and forth in a fetal position all night…. no need to go in too much detail (acid-bum-piss).

So what’s happening?

Were finally out of Maharashtra, which by the way is a Lovely place, don’t get me wrong…. although most plants have thorns that easily go through Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tyres…. yes… they really did…

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This was invisible externally, completely swallowed up by the tyre….

Leaving the dry and gorgeous desertesque state behind us, I must admit, i will miss the beautiful fields of windmills, with their sweet and predictably constant low murmur of a hum. their great to fall asleep under, they drown out the Indian 8bit radio noise that comes in extremely invasive waves throughout the night.

We’ve now entered Karnataka a place of many worlds! also the home to our first CLOUD in INDIA, i have a whole new appreciation for clouds now, offering depressingly short-lived relief in the daily smoldering mid-day India roast-up.

 

Quick shout-out to all the animals working hard on the roads of Bharat, helping keep the economy up and running!!

 

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India, Touring

Finally On The Road! To Hampi!

Our intimate relationship with India was off to a shaky start!
The first ten days featured:

  • First Face-Plant; star: Ellie!
  • Spent a night with a previously unknown family in a village
  • Rode a motorbike with 2 other people on
  • Complimentary tuc-tuc ride
  • Had my portrait sketched, very awkward
  • Wanted to give up and move in with mum (for the first time)
  • Wildcamped twice
  • Unlocked crazy streetfood portions, the secret is bike+tiffinbox
  • Crossed the Western Ghats
  • Given up on western toilets
  • Innumerable selfies with strangers

Learning how to make deals in India, anyone who claims to have never been ripped off in India is either still hungry, or completely unaware of the extent of their inherent privilege.

Examples of relative pricing!

  • Bananas R60/Kg. Paid R30/Kg
  • Oranges R50/hKg. Paid R30/hKg
  • Chai most paid R15/cup. least paid R5/2cups.
  • Accomodation, average 40% price negotiable.

 

 

And then delhi-belly and other minor inconveniences hit the fan, in a boundless multicoloured all-encompassing goop of disillusioning splutter resulting in a 6 day stay at a Deccan Plateau equivalent of a very questionable roadside motel-for-the-brave.

All doubts, fears, moods and generally retreating into the inner most sanctums of the selfish and completely self-absorbed ego revealed our least impressive of thoughts to us before finally resurfacing to a closer-to-healthy-state and getting out of a soul-destroying shack-up on the side of India’s old cross country National Highway 4.

ALL OF THAT BEHIND US, and were happily pedaling towards the bouldering mecha! The birthplace of Hanuman (MonkeyGod) and the remnants of the heart of a very great fallen civilization of years past. We will meet our first tortured elephant, chained to a post all day for tourists’ entertainment. Not sure how i feel about that, best focus on pedaling for now!

So its all beautiful and at times tormentingly steep India 🙂

 

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