Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rollin' sevens...

The auspicious occasion of July 7th, 2007 (7/7/7) has fallen upon us. I've always liked the number 7 and I think all kids go through a phase like that. Out of ten kids I'm sure seven of them will tell you their favorite number is 7. When you're rollin' sevens it just means you're on point. Today is a good day to start. You've won the jackpot! ;)

Delhi has knocked me out. The past two days have been 40+ degrees and Jay and I have been on the hunt in the small corners of the markets searching out booty. We just wander from store to store comparing, analyzing, bargaining and sifting through what needs sifting through.

After being on the road for the past however many moons I grew to love the food from the small food stalls on the side of the road and the street vendors selling their aloo chaats, chana masala, gol gapas and the like. Yesterday I ventured full power into the street refreshments. First was the long awaited return of the gol gapa (a small piece of dough deep fried resulting in a hollow ball that is filled with some kind of vegetable filler and then dipped into a liquid mixture of spice, lemon and the street vendor's hand), then it was on to the ruhafza (rose water beverage), some paan and then finally an aloo chat (slices of potato mixed with a 'chaat' and lemon). Most people would shy away from these stalls but I couldn't wait to get back to them. They seem to balance out the lining in my stomach and I've grown immunity. Locals tease me and tell me that I'm 'full desi'.

Some Belgians told me that they escaped the heat in the new metro system that they have here in Delhi. They told me that it's the cleanest subway that they've ever been on., not to mention it was a great escape from the 45 degree sweltering heat. I'd take 17 degrees in a subway any day to beat that kind of heat. So now I have one more thing to look forward to in Delhi, just sitting on the 'yellow line' watching people get on and off the subway and making their way...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Thermal displacement...

It was 45 degrees out today.

That's all I've got the minerals for...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The down and dirty Delhi...

It's more humid in Delhi than it is right beside the ocean. Speaking of which I was just reminded of how beautiful my last day in Goa was ;) The sun was shining, people were in great spirits and my experience ended superbly.

So now I'm in Pahar Ganj which is a well known tourist spot and regarded as a very seedy area. There's no denying that. It's the ideal location to be in to try and sell off a bike in. It's crazy busy and has store after store of everything you could think of. If you forgot to get something in the south when you were down there, no problem, Pahar Ganj has it. Forgot something in Rajasthan, no problem, Pahar Ganj has it. It's unbelievable and so overwhelming. It was hard to even go into one store let alone twenty others that have the same things that the other stores had in stock.

It's a sensory overload that I'm actually quite calm within. I dreaded coming here because of the chaos I was thwarting myself into. But again, once in the chaos it fits like a comfortable worn in flip flop.

I was fortunate to share a lift from the airport with a chap from San Francisco, Jay Vallow, and we ended up just going to the same hotel. We had quite a bit in common and we had the identical things on our agenda of to-do's. We went off to find some brass statues near Jama Masjid. I had never been in a showroom/warehouse with so many statues before. It was quite incredible. We sifted through a few tons of brass, bronze, copper and silver and it was time to move on. Next stop, paper market. Now anyone who knows me knows my love of paper. The hand crafted paper that you can find here is astounding. We arrived to see hundreds of paper shops. Some on the main street, others down narrow corridors and some just on the street. Paper everywhere and the sweet smell of ink permeating through the thick humid air. Might not be your thing, but it's mine ;)

I used to dislike Delhi like a sickness, but the dirt of Delhi seems to be finding a soft spot within me.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Boss, boss... the plane, the plane...

Nothing is ever on time in India. You say you'll meet for dinner at 7:30pm that means you have to add and hour and fourty five minutes to that, so make sure you there by 9:15pm to be on time. You have a train that departs at 4:05pm, well then make sure you're there at 5:50pm to be on time. The point I'm trying to make here is that the unpredictability is the only predictable thing you can expect when travelling ;)

I got to the airport an hour and fifteen minutes before my flight. I get to the ticket counter and they tell me I'm delayed half and hour. Ok, not so bad, very doable. I had a great book with me that I recovered in my luggage in Goa, 1001 Arabian Nights. I didn't get through a lot of those nights because I seem to have about nine hundred to go ;) So engrossed in my book I didn't even realize the flight had been delayed even longer. I think we left at around four thirty or so. Our flight was scheduled for one hour to Mumbai and ended up being delayed in a holding pattern to land due to heavy traffic on the runway. We flew in circles for forty minutes and then trying to leave Mumbai delayed due to congestion on the strip. The arrival in Delhi was at twenty after nine and the temperature outside was 32 degrees ;) Ahh, good old Delhi.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Law...

My bike was fully loaded with five tin cans and a backpack. Both my helmets were missing in action. One is in a restaurant in Goa and the owner went back to Bombay and the other was pretty much stolen ;) So the law in Goa states that in the city you do not require a helmet and on highways you do. Well I didn't load up my bike to galavant around town, I had to move down closer to the train station in Margao which was over an hour away. I was fortunate that I had Shree, a local who lives in Chappora, lend me a hand and drive down with me.

We both did not have helmets and decided to just go and go slowly. We made it about twenty minutes when Shree pulled over and then I asked what was going on and he pointed ahead. What lay ahead were five police officers stopping mostly motorcycles. It's a ticket of a nominal amount but still it's the hassle of the police. We turned around on a one way highway and hit the back roads. We avoided our first check stop and we knew there were two more ahead, you gotta love people who help you out ;) So we came upon our next one and we decided to wait for a bus and drive behind it and then beside it as we passed the check post ;) I know, I know... but it was such an exhilarating experience. It's nothing like what it would be if I were to try and duplicate that behaviour back home, that would not go over so well, it's not taken too seriously here

So we ended up getting a tip from another motorcyle rider and his wife and we followed him through some small villages and down sloping and winding hills to come up back on the highway after 10 kilometers of sight seeing. Sure enough five minutes after that we got waved in by the police and our engines were off. Good thing Shree was with me. It ended up being a small fine which could have been a lot worse since I was whining about unpacking all my stuff which would take half an hour to repack just so I could get them my registration. I didn't show them anything and they still wrote me up the ticket, that's just unheard of. Later Shree told me he knew one of the officers and was letting us off very easy. So we had tickets in our pockets and no longer any worries about police.

Like a pit crew at a race a couple more uniforms waved us in for a pit stop. Engines off. Hand in my back pocket to reach for my ticket to present to the officer. He looks at it up and down, looks at me up and down and motions to go along with he hand.

We finally reached Margao and headed to Colva Beach (6km away). Grabbed a guesthouse, dropped off my backpack and travel tin and the rest I rode off with to the train station. Packed the bike, paid for shipping and even had time for a bite to eat. It was a good day and with each new one getting better and better.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Two ferr seven three six five...

It's raining it's pouring, the old man is snoring...

It's not that bad really, the rain I mean. It could be worse, up to my knee caps in rain in Mumbai ;) That's definitely worse. So I'm thinking of skipping over Mumbai on the way back to Delhi. Yes that's right, I'm going back to Delhi. The bike is being shipped tomorrow and then I will be shipped myself the following day.

Spending a day at the mechanic's shop you get to meet what's left of the Enfield owners in these areas. This is the ultimate source of information. I found out everything I needed to know to decide what I should ultimately do. And that is to hang out in Delhi and sell my bike to some lucky traveller destined to Manali or Ladakh. These are the best areas to be in India at the moment.

It was overwhelming at first to have to deal with all these things again but it's like riding a bike ;) Everything is flowing naturally and taking it's intended course. It's interesting to see the pieces fall into place and having it be so familiar that it was almost like you have seen it already.

Oh by the way if anyone plays the lottery I'd get a quick pick and then choose 3 11 19 24 31 32.

Guaranteed smile ;)

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