Monday, October 09, 2006

Come the rewind...

So I will now go back into the recesses of my memory to try and regurgitate some of the tales of what has transpired in the past week of my existence. I probably have made one of the stupidest decisions in a spur of the moment purchase of a vintage 1980 Royal Enfield motorcycle. It's the Hardly Davidson to the Indians. I was in Rishikesh when I ventured off with a friend of mine to look at the bike he was going to buy when all of a sudden there she was, Purple Reign (she was named on the way without me even knowing). I had to spend many an hour down at the mechanic's shop and you will see the shop amongst the pictures. One day I spent thirteen hours in the scorching sun with a mild cold making sure that the work was being done as well as learning a few things. This Royal Enfield family once you belong to it is absolutely magnificent. People from all over the world gather and sip on chai's and trade road/travel experiences with you. The most intriguing conversations have been in these shops where you have no choice but to spend time. The English-Brothers-Two, Grant and Graham, with sidekick of a Vince to make the three bikes sport four.

We set out on our journey with smiles on our faces and tightness on our bottoms. The first day we left Rishikesh very late and only had three or four hours on the road. We stopped in Dhampur where we were greeted like royalty. The people ushered us in to their dhubba (low end restaurant/cooking joint) and without asking was brought dish after dish. We even had someone guarding our bikes for us. They went to extremes and even made us a private room for us to enjoy our experience. The bill came and came with the tag of a five star restaurant. They milked us for all that they could. One of the gentlemen said that he would take us to his friend's guesthouse. Upon arrival, it was full. Looking further the worst of the worst cost the best of the best - they were trying to take us. At this point we told them what we thought of them and carried on. We made it only ten kilometres from Dhampur when we decided to stop at a lorry stop (truck stop) that was open 24 hours. We ended up staying there with our bikes in the back and string cots set up beside them. The generator roared through the night and with the lights on the mosquitos found us quite easily. If the mosquitos weren't finding us, the bed bugs sure were. Any exposed skin (and some unexposed) was covered in red bumps.

We would stop every couple of hours to rest our bottoms and bikes. The group of us would be surrounded within minutes of stopping with people just staring - some offerred up conversation. It was like they were at the aquarium and peering on to the endangered species of the world. The Indians would stop and always make sure that everything was all right in case we needed help. We are guests in this country and the the concept of 'mehman' or guest is hugely practiced in India.


THE GUEST HOUSE - Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


We came to the border at Banbasa and spent a couple of hours going through all the neccessaries. One thing that was immediately different were the people whom we crossed paths with. All the children would wave with ear to ear grins and even run from their homes to the road just to wave to us. It was a magnificent change of perspective - we were welcomed instead of stared at. After finishing at the border it was dark out and we chose not to travel in the late hours and made it to the wonderful world of Mahendranagar. Small little place about eight kilometres from the border. We got a nice place and freshly showered off all the travel dirt and we were off at around nine in the morning for another day of sore asses and bugs smashing into you. We ended up in some place, the name I forget, and then left. The day began with the rooster waking us at five in the morning and us on the road at six. We put in a full day to get to Pokhara. Only a mere 34 kilometres outside of Pokhara we had a delay of game due to rain. The hills are alive with the sound of music but when they are wet, it's dark and you have bus driver's hopped up on whatever they're hopped up on... it's deadly. We took about an hour and half to travel the 34 klicks and it poured the whole way. The rain was fat and stingful.

Pokhara was a refreshing change from the roadside dhabba food and it was warmly welcomed as was the posh warm shower facilities in the guesthouse. In the journey I managed to blow a seal on my oil line, just to name on of the many things that wore down over the course of the trip. The bike sits in Pokhara with Raju's Bullet Surgery and I will return to Pokhara in the coming days to mount up and ride up to the mountain tops.

I have more to say but time I do not have much of at this particular moment. Till then...

5 comments:

  1. nice to see you're on two wheels.

    peace and love and happiness...

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  2. Careful on that bike, K! I remember when you scared us all a few years ago...

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  3. I know... I keep on hearing my mother saying, "Don't you remember what happened to you last time?" ;)

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  4. lol, man now you made me feel old! I'm no where near old enough to have a son your age just yet! :P There are helmets you wear other than a basket, right?!

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  5. Oh no... I was referring to the woman that gave birth to me and what she would say upon learning of my recent purchase...

    Although your statement of concern was very motherly and nurturing ;)

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