The day from hell, part 2

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Saturday, November 19, 2011

We slept for 4 hours and got up at 3. The fog was still heavy and there was still traffic but it was lighter. It was quite simply a stupid thing to do to ride in it but we both felt it was safer to do that than to ride during the day amidst the stupidity of the Indian drivers. We headed out into the fog. Visibility was poor, down to about 10 metres and the roads were dangerous. We found trucks loitering on both lanes either running slow or stopped with no lights, cars overtaking flat out and even people driving straight at us but the traffic was light and it was still safer than driving during the day. We made poor progress but still better than if the roads were clogged with these total idiots. At one point we passed three motorcycles, minutes later they passed us shouting and laughing until they exited off a slip road. Twice I had to slam on the brakes as a truck was just abandoned in the middle of the road and at one point I had to do an emergency stop to avoid hitting two guys literally squatting in the road shitting. They ran off leaving a trail of excrement but at least they avoided getting the arses wiped by a fast moving TKC80 enduro tyre. Put simply, this was insane but to understand why we were doing it you have to drive on these roads yourself.

Suddenly grey light began piercing the darkness although the fog was still heavy. Marcin pulled to the side and we had some food, biscuits and nuts, energy food. We headed along the road for a while and he stopped again. We pulled off the road and he slept under a tree for 10 minutes, exhaustion was hitting us both hard. Within half an hour the sun started to make some headway into the sky and the temperature rose, we watched it dawn all around us and the fog melt away to a mist and then to be gone altogether. I had to stop this time. I literally was falling asleep on the bike. A quick shot of water and a stretch and we carried on, neither of us wanted to waste this time. Traffic was still light and we made good time on our way to the border. Eventually we hit a town and that all changed, the usual story of nightmare traffic. The GPS took us in a very roundabout route which took us through the city slums of broken-down houses and people living rough on the sides of the streets. We saw people running out to crap at the side of the road, men and women, adults and children, hovels made from rags with families in them. The only problem was this might not be a slum. For all we knew and in all likelihood this was just a normal neighbourhood. We saw no nice buildings, no houses other than these crumbling shacks.

So we finally made it out and the temperamental KTM behaved itself fine, it overheated and cut out a few times but it always started again straight after with no trouble. I was still wearing a fleece under my jacket and was getting hot but I didn't want to stop and lose time and out of fear of attracting the same kind of audience as before, ie a crowd of foul smelling idiots so close to you that you can’t physically move. We battled on and by now the traffic was normal but with only 50 miles to go to the border we carried on with resolve. We made it out of town and I saw my second accident, this time Marcin was in it.

A guy, a typical Indian prick rode up to us giggling and making comments and then tried to show off by buzzing past Marcin flat out to impress us with the awesome power of his 125. He misjudged it and went straight into his side box. Marcin wobbled but held his balance and stayed upright against all the odds, the Indian wobbled from peg to peg and then lost control and planted it in the dirt, luckily for all of us there was nothing coming from the other direction or it would have been a far uglier story. They both ended up on the opposite verge. Marcin seemed fine but still had no idea what had happened, the others were picking themselves up, the rider and the pillion who was injured.

Marcin said he was fine, I told him what had happened and then went to shout at them and perhaps if they weren’t hurt, correct that issue. The rider was sheepishly apologising but I calmed down when the passenger was clearly damaged. They couldn’t lift their bike up, I did it with one arm and calmed the passenger down. He had probably broken a few fingers in the landing, it certainly looked like it.

There was no damage to the bike apart from a black rubber scratch so I’m assuming his bars caught. Honestly I’m shocked this didn’t happen before, the ways these people drive is appalling, in fact the way they do everything is appalling.

Finally we made the border which is nothing. It’s a town and the border control is hidden inside shops inside the sprawling chaos. I rode straight through into Nepal without realising it and had to go back and find Marcin and get my visa stamped

Finally we had the final obstacle to getting out of this shithole country, more of these awful people to deal with. At first we had to get our passports dealt with. We had more forms to fill in to do this for some reason but the people were basically friendly so we were basically friendly back, in fact it was nice to meet some Indian people who were cordial and friendly and didn’t expect money to change hands. We made the most of it and chatted with them a while. Several other tourists walked straight past the offices and Indian officials were chasing after them to come back too. After filling in the forms and getting our exit stamp we then had to fill in more details in their books. We just made these up and left.

We then had to head over to have our carnets processed. In this office were typically Indian people. Rude, condescending and thick. The first one just pointed and grunted to the other end of the building, we went there and were asked to take a seat. Great, he seemed polite but then he took the paperwork and just walked off. We asked him what was happening and how long it took and he just waved a hand at us and told us to wait. Then the other officials were glaring at us and the audience started, people just staring straight at me. I waved at them sarcastically and they looked behind them all in unison. So then the officials found a large book for us to fill in our details. I asked what it was for, they said it was a formality. I asked a bit more pointedly why I had to do it, I told them to explain why they wanted my details. They sat in silence. That’s what I thought, they had no idea what they were doing. I then pointed out that the last entry was over a week ago, I asked why nobody else had crossed the border in that time when the border was teeming with people. Again, nothing but arrogant silence. We got our carnets back and just left in silence. I can’t thank people for this level of rudeness and incompetence so I didn’t.

We got on our bikes, changed the Indian money for Nepal rupies and we left. Crossing the border was a joy even though it was a few metres, it was the best few metre ride I’ve ever had. We parked up in the Nepalese visa office and applied for our entry visas. It only cost $28, it would have been $25 if we’d had US cash but we paid in their own currency. The people were different straight away. Toursits were asking questions and the officials were laughing with them and telling them nothing would be a problem. These guys were just trying to help and we both felt the weight lifting. The official working on our passports made jokes with us and even though we were shattered by now it was such a relief to be dealing with decent people once again. The Nepal side was dealt with quickly and easily and we were on our way. At this point it was still worrying, the town didn’t look massively different but we headed out for something to eat and the town suddenly changed radically. The driving was still bad but not in the same league as before, there was less of it too, not so much on the road. Buildings were nice, proper structures and far less dirt and chaos. We stopped at a place and ordered some food. The staff came to chat with us in a friendly way and a lot of the mood lightened. Nobody was playing with our bikes, they were interested but there was none of the frantic touching, fingering and pushing that there was in India. People were more laid back, friendly and a bit reserved. Now I’m not saying Nepal is perfect, it’s far from it but it’s a relief after where we’ve been. In India things look yellow, even the water is yellow. It’s like viewing the world through a sepia lens. In Nepal the air is clean and fresh, the sky is blue again, the roadsides are green with rolling hills, mountains and rivers. This is not a choked shithole with massive congestions and a failed economy, it’s just a place where people live and a beautiful place at that.

So I finally had time to collect my thoughts. India is a horrible place full of horrible people. The British Empire was a terrible thing, it was then what America is doing now, preaching about freedom and conquering everything in sight. It was a dark time for little England, a time when the UK was getting too big for its nasty little jackboots and in the end it collapsed as all things wrong eventually do. It has left a mark on India that still exists to this day. It made India into something it isn’t and when it collapsed it left the place with an identity crisis. There’s a horrible air of indifferent arrogance in India, the people are awful. When we broke down we had to hide the bike away to work on it to stop them shoving in to have a look and grab at everything. If this had happened in Iran we would have been offered endless help, in Pakistan someone would have come to help, indeed when the Velorex broke down the local police chief came out in his own car to try to offer assistance. The Pakistani people are failed by their government and the most impoverished are so poorly educated that they are hopeless with no impression of a larger world. We’re too different for them to relate too and it made problems. In India people don’t want to relate. We were never made to feel welcome anywhere we went, even hotel staff are abrupt and difficult. When we did get a good one we tipped and never got left alone again!

Nepal has a few idiots but you don’t judge a country by the actions of a few but from the actions of the general population. In India the general population is unlikable. They have a massive inferiority complex and they over-compensate with a rudeness and arrogance that often gets them into trouble. Like Pakistan their government has completely failed them. The country is a total shambles, massively over-populated, filthy to the point of being dangerous and the economy has ground to a halt. It’s a total mess but the people are so appallingly unpleasant you just don’t care. I was genuinely excited to go to India, I have met and worked with so many Indian people I believed they were an example of what to expect from the population but they are not. On my blog someone has suggested i’m racist for not liking Pakistan. In Pakistan I had sympathy for the people living in appalling conditions but not in India. This is one of the principal problems with England. It’s trying to hard to make multi-culturalism work and of course, it can’t (interesting ironic fact, if you write culturalism on MS word it defaults to "cultureless"). Countries need their own identity, they’re not airports, places where different cultures need to be catered to, they’re meant to be unique and interesting. I’m called racist for expressing my own opinion then so be it but it’s a cheap comment from an uneducated fool who’s bitter that his own home country is so appalling. It’s too easy for people to play the race card these days if someone dares to question the actions of someone different. The fact remains, Pakistan is a fairly terrible place but with mostly good if uneducated people. In the visa office a Pakistani gentleman was applying for a visa to visit home. An official told him not to, he said it was a terrible place. He was mostly right!

India is an incredibly awful place with absolutely horrible people. Now I wish it wasn’t but if the rest of the world doesn’t say it then why would India ever need to change? India should be ashamed of itself and get its many horrible problems under control, Pakistan is already ashamed of itself and wants to change. So the person who called me racist is, in fact a racist himself, of course they typically are. He wants the world to keep quiet and ignore the shortcomings of his own homeland and just quietly pretend his ethnic heritage means something. Mine, of course means nothing to me. I’m just me, I’m not proud of being white or English. These are accidents of birth, not things I’ve achieved. I wonder how failed the life of this little person is that he needs to be proud of wherever he came from, how little he has managed to do in his life that he’s nothing more than where he was born.

India desperately needs to change. It’s a 3rd world country deluding itself that it’s something special. It needs a massive drop in population and a good wash. The people need proper education and hygiene needs to radically improve. Children need to stop begging on the streets for money which apparently they then spend on super-glue to get high on, people need to learn to drive or ride properly and the road needs to be regulated (and i guess built properly first). Behaviour needs to be brought up to standard, it’s not ok for men and women to shit on the pavement in a modern world, I’m pretty sure it’s not the rest of us out of step on that one. Rubbish is piled everywhere, animals lie dead on the sides of the road, flies swarm onto everything. When I put on my helmet the visor was smeared with thick yellow grease after someone had handled it. In India we stopped shaking hands.

It’s not even intelligence that’s causing the damage, India and Pakistan are level pegging at only an average IQ of 81 but Nepal is even lower at 78 and yet it’s a different world!   

So as we travelled on it was like the rest of the trip, only with added exhaustion. The few towns we passed through were cleaner and tidier but the long day got the better of us and we stopped in a small town around 2 hours ride from Katmandu. The town was fairly frantic but we found a place with the criteria we were looking for ie, two separate beds, internet, somewhere to park. The guest house was cheap, the money here is worth approximately two thirds of what it is in India but buys you far more on the face value. The food is a mixture of curry and Chinese but everything we ate was very nice. No stomach problems yet either. The guest house was actually very nice, the room was good and it had a bar so we went down to play on the internet and have a few beers. We walked about the town and within 10 minutes were offered drugs and girls which is ok but it took us a few minutes to get rid of him, he seemed to want to hang out with the foreigners and see the bikes. I wasn’t going to tell him where we were staying or show him where they were. Whatever he was smoking was working, he could hardly speak and was clearly a danger to himself.

So we went back to the bar and chatted with the owner. He had a drink with us and we met the staff. All really nice people and we had a great night chatting and sorting out tomorrow which is sorting paperwork for our flight to Thailand.

It’s nice to be back. India was so awful I regretted coming on this trip but now we feel like we’re back on the right road. If I’m a racist for saying what I think then I really don’t care. It’s my opinon based on my experience. Your experiences may vary.
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Comments

ifranz
ifranz on

Wish I found this blog a long time before booking my trip to India, which was just as horrible as yours. My deepest sympathy.

jtw000
jtw000 on

it was a pretty grim experience but one I'm very glad to have had. If you're heading on towards Nepal then it will all be worth the effort. Good luck!

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