The Ganges River
Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
143Trip End Nov 15, 2007
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Across the Ganges River
Nadia - the Tropic of Cancer
I kept stretching check-out time from The Golden Park Hotel, as I was enjoying the cool comfort. Des watched the boys washing our vehicles and made sure he tipped the lads who were doing the actual manual labour. There was another fellow who was mowing the extensive grounds with a small scythe, all by hand on his knees. I could see exactly where he was up to and how much he had still to do. Labour is so cheap here, a lawn mower would have done the job in a couple of hours, but what would the fellow do with the rest of the week? It's such a different world here in India. Many people work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week
We melted in the heat when we walked out of the hotel, and quickly put the air conditioner in the car in top gear. The road conditions were no better than the day before or than what they'll be tomorrow, I'm sure. One pot hole after another, dusty narrow roads with the odd strip of bitumen, too much traffic and a danger to all users. Our drivers Lou and Des are doing a great job driving in these conditions, but I can't help fear for my life while we're on these roads. One thing is in our favour, the speed is not high with a maximum of about 60 to 70 kilometers and hour but often under 40 kilometers per hour for long stretches.
We crossed over the Ganges River by bridge, which we shared with several varieties of livestock. The Ganges was fast flowing in this area and very wide, brown and a buzz for us to see and drive over. This area of West Bengal has had a lot of flooding in the past two weeks and many of the houses, service stations and shops were standing in water. This also meant there were more animals on the road too, as their fields were flooded.
The Tropic of Cancer runs through Nadia and this is where we started to look for a place to camp or a hotel for the evening
I think we looked at five or six motels that afternoon and it was dark again by the time we decided our own sheets and bed would be better than any accommodation we've seen that day. The problem with camping out in India is that it's hot and humid, smelly and polluted and there are disease carrying mosquitoes in abundance, especially now that there has been so much rain.
Our camp site for the night was to be in the yard of a hotel which was also under construction, but the manager said we could park there and sleep. He must have misunderstood something, because he came out later and said we could not stay all night, just until 11 o'clock which was when the security guard went home