Sally here, it’s now my turn to write about our re entry back in to India…!
It was lovely riding through Nepal from Pokhara… it was a very different Nepal than what we had experienced and I’m really glad we saw it. There were beautiful woodlands (natural, not plantations!) that went on and on forever, colours of amber, green, orange, brown and purple, smells of honeysuckle and lavender (the most beautiful smelling ride I can remember) and gentle, peaceful, happy people…. and then we arrived in India… again…
The memories of India came flashing back to me the minute we crossed the border and I felt my sanity start to shake again… it was too soon!
The horns began, the staring started and the threat of death loomed as we started to ride. Thankfully however, after the GPS took us on a detour through some random woodlands that led us to various dried up river beds and up dirt roads that went nowhere, we started to climb up in to the hills where everything got a little bit better. The threat of death was still there but with less rubbish and hooting.
After a very long day we made it to our destination which was a town in the hills that I read about that sounded nice. Again a flash back from memories of our Indian past – lower ALL expectations!
There was a lake… and lots of hotels… but it appeared, predominantly reserved for Indians…
I don’t know how many places we asked in, but it was a pretty horrible end to the day to keep getting rejection after rejection… it goes a little bit like this:
We pull up to a hotel that looks like it might have parking… gloves off, sunglasses off, helmet off, earplugs out, hair adjustment (Me only)..
‘Hi’ (I try to smile) ‘You have rooms?’
I get a look up and down…
Another man comes over and whispers in to the ear of the guy I’ve been talking to and then responds with
I don’t smile.
Helmet back on, sunglasses on and back on the bike.
This sequence varies…sometimes we get a no straight away, sometimes we get a look up and down and a ridiculous price quoted to us or sometimes they say yes but want us to park on the road (which ain’t ever going to happen in the country!) but it always involves the helmet off sequence… and the hair adjustment is the one that tires me the most. Keep in mind also that the roads are narrow and hilly and choked with traffic and the bike is really heavy and needs a level bit of ground to be able to stand on so it gets very frustrating trying to manouvere amongst the traffic, horns and the staring people time after time, rejection after rejecetion.
We finally found a place that was too expensive but after about 2 hours of riding around narrow busy streets in circles and about 15 helmet sequences, we surrender, just happy that someone will take us.
We get in to the room and I almost cry… I want to be somewhere else.
After a walk to get some dinner and chai we remember that India is not all that bad and the people are very nice… when they’re not driving their trucks…
We have spent the last couple of days riding around the hills and it has been very beautiful and a very different India. Up here people don’t stare, they don’t hoot and they don’t drop (much) rubbish… its quite amazing! We’ve ridden through alpine forests, on small dirt tracks (thanks to the GPS),seen masses of eucalypt and bottle brush trees (which I had previously thought only exsisted in Australia), seen butterflies, strange birds, lots of monkeys and ridden through curve after curve after curve with very little other traffic.
I read about a place called Landsdowne which apparently is a place that the British likened to the Lake District in England and there were supposed to be lots of old restored English buildings. I’ve been feeling a little homesick and wanted to see this, so we have ridden for the last couple of days to make our way there.
There I was imagining burbling creeks, old stone cottages, cobbled stone lane ways and instead I got another run down, dirty Indian town and Dean walking out of the first hotel he went in to, smiling…kind of… and shaking his head in disbelief…
‘No foreigners….in the whole town…. foreigners must stay 5kms away from the town’
Two days of riding and this is what we get?! Lucky it’s a total shithole and bears no resemblance to England in any way at all.
We are completely knackered and thought our day had come to an end… back on the bike it is… we ride about 10kms away and find a place that takes us and doesn’t completely rip us off…
But there is no beer to be found…. it’s a hard country to like!
Tomorrow we head back down to the plains to Rishikesh where we expect all that nerve wracking Indian stuff to come back in abundance as well as lots and lots of western hippies. Dean can’t wait 🙂