. It is horribly difficult on those roads as you have to concentrate in both directions, control your rage and keep concentrating when a driver does something ridiculous. I forgot to write yesterday that Mikey nearly got knocked over by a POLICE VAN!! Insane. We’ve also had near brushes with ambulances. We stopped once more for cold drinks at 20 miles then crossed the border from Goa to Maharashtra . There were some extreme hills between Banda and Savantvadi, one so steep, Mikey’s bike with its different sized wheels couldn’t take it, and we had to push. However a big breakfast once again made all the difference and despite intense heat we then made it a further 15 miles to Savantvadi where we had a delicious vegetable thali lunch in the tourist residency. Savantvadi was actually another pretty, clean and relatively calm town with a lovely park and serene boating lake. Since the border however it has become obvious that once again we have left the tourist trail far behind. The landscape is now quite desert like, with red dust and scrubby grassland and BIG hills! The last 15 miles should have been relaxing as the road was relatively empty, unfortunately a bare road acted as a challenge to some to drive in the most insane, unnecessary and ludicrously dangerous way possible and we had to keep in full alert. When we eventually arrived after 56 miles, Kudal, was a lovely surprise, several decent motels and a funny hectic town with mad market and happy locals really keen to help/chat/give us bananas
. Cycling in after a shower intending to fix a tiny part on Mikey’s bike, I got puncture Number 11 (sorry!) and on closer inspection it showed that I had an enormous hole in my 2 week old back tyre. A lovely guy at the nearest bike shop did a great job patching it up and we are going to have to spend the next 6 days checking each town and seeing if we can find the correct size to buy a new one – no joy in 3 shops here. Once again, he didn’t want to be paid, but we made him. His elderly assistant spent ages pressing all the gears and horns and checking out the Christmas decorations. Back at the hotel after a detour to buy beers we went down to the restaurant to order room service supper. They had an extensive menu but the waiter said that all they had on it was Thalis –I had a fish one and Mikey Chicken, to make a change from the vegetable ones at lunch. Strangely both have been served with this really gross pink coloured, curry flavoured spicy drink. Obviously a local speciality, but not sure what it is??
The alarm decided not to go off this morning, but luckily my internal body clock is set to wake up at 6.45 now, so Mikey fixed puncture 10 whilst I packed the bags. Breakfast in 'Nescafe' the chain coffee bar which we had checked out the night before was great – veg burger, muffin and cappuccino set us up for the day with no hassle. Breakfasts are also a lot more chilled now Mikey has worked out that it was taking malaria tablets on an empty stomach that was making us both violently nauseous every morning! Maybe it wasn’t the curry as I thought. We also got a text from Alice Palace saying that Ruthie and Jaimie had Baby Grace - can’t work out if her birthday is the 11th or 10th because of the time difference, please let me know someone. Really can’t wait to see a picture of her or even better see her on Skype! Leaving town was ridiculously hectic, Saturday morning making no difference. The traffic continued for 12 miles before we stopped in a side road to down cold water and revive ourselves