Slight mechanical issues....

Trip Start May 23, 2008
Trip End Jun 22, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, June 5, 2008

I have to say, I am really not used to this whole travelling with others thing. Everything seems to take so long, there is an incredible amount of faffing goes on, I was definitely finding my patience tested...

Shortly after we set off today, at another check the direction stop, someone came running over to tell us one of our 'partners' had just passed by - one of the other teams was in the vicinity! It wasn't long before we passed them on the road - great to hear how they were progressing.

We carried on our way, and driving through one village overtook a camel walking down the main street. Believe it or not, shortly after that, we then pased en elephant - really, you never know what you will see next!!!!
A little further on, the temperature fell, and the sky darkened. And before we knew it, big spots of rain were hitting the windscreen and we were driving with the wiper going!!! I was so excited I got out and danced in the rain - I am sure the man passing by on his bicycle thought I was quite mad. It was so cooling, and bizarrely, for a split second, I almost felt like I was back in Britain, in a summer shower!! The drop in temperature really was quite amazing - I actually found I was driving along and had goosebumps, something I just was not expecting.

We played some cheesy tunes on the drive - am very glad we included a stereo for the rickshaw, although it seems that every time we press the brake pedal, the music cuts out for a few seconds, which is a little odd.

Driving through a small town, we spotted an ATM, so stopped to let the guys get some money. As I pulled away, I noticed that the exhaust, which had been getting noisier, was unbelievably loud and when I stopped to take a look, I realised it had fallen off about 50m back up the street! Exhausts were not covered in the basic car maintenance course I undertook at the start of the year, so I wasn't quite sure what to do, neither was Sharon, so we giggled a bit before some kid pointed at himself and said the magic words 'mechanic', so we followed him to a workshop literally 20m away, and Sharon and I watched as they got to work with the blowtorch, sending showers of sparks all over the place, while a crowd gathered round to watch. One older man came over, with a pen and piece of paper, and merely said "autograph please"!

Actually, I should say that the crowds which gather round, ANY time we come to a halt, really are quite something. It is not in the least bit threatening, but they are so curious, firstly about the rickshaw, and possibly then that there are white people driving, and that we are girls! Just as well I am not claustrophobic, as it would get a bit much, especially if sitting in the back. Yesterday, when we were stopped at a level crossing and a crowd gathered round, one of them proffered some kind of foodstuff, possibly a fruit, towards me, I put it in my bag for later, and he also gave me some salt to eat it with. As the train was taking some time to pass, I gave the fruit back, and he peeled it and SO many people crowded round to watch me eat it!! It was a little weird, very stringy, not much taste, if a little tart, but they all seemed pretty amused by my reaction!

While the rickshaw was being repaired, someone walked past selling tinsel - needless to say, we decided that was just what was required to brighten her up. The guy had probably never sold so much in one day, although there are some VERY kitsch lorries out there! He got out his hammer and tacked tinsel all round each of the three windscreen panes and then added some tassel things for good measure. The crowd, who for the most part had probably never seen white people, thought this was all hilarious, while the guy was probably doing a little dance for joy at having sold so much tinsel!!!

The repair job probably took about 90 minutes, and cost 150 rupees, which I have no doubt was vastly over inflated, but as that converts to about two pounds, we were happy to pay up. The guys got their rickshaws overhauled after yesterday's roll, while we went to a hotel for the night. In fact, they checked into a different place, and that was the last we saw of them. To be honest, I was somewhat relieved, as I was finding all the conferences on decision making a little stressful.

So, two intrepid girls are left to their own devices somewhere in the Indian backwaters....
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