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India again...but just for a little!

INDIA | Friday, 30 March 2007 | Views [743]

Finish my ride in Bangladesh...missing already (not the water!)Rode my way up to Shiliguri, the link city for surrounding countries to trade and smuggle "goods." Sort of a big city, yet better than Calcutta to ride trough, Shilliguri shows another side of India, where beer adds and party posters are more easily seen.

Before I continue: All my comments and opinions about any and everything, is based on my own experience and understanding of it; I do not expect ppl to generalize or take my saying as "that's what they do in India!" or any other country.

I didn’t spend much time in the city. Being around 30km from Nepal border, I decided to continue riding ‘till night falls, and have an early cross into Nepal’s side. Quick stop for some dinner – rice, tomato and onion. At this small restaurant, owned and ran by a family of 3 (mother/son/daughter), I made great friends. The son, an very smart young boy, would sit and show me his knowledge on a variety of things – quite impressive; from countries and capitals, bicycle, language, to general knowledge…Gave me a hat and wouldn’t let me go ‘till I had a tea with him. Met another friend who made my evening even happier… funny guy. Left the restaurant and rode to the border…a sign says:

Prabhu Jesuits Residence – let’s give it a try and ask for shelter.

I keep proving myself to not have enough faith on ppl. The residence looked very nice, like a closed condo, giving me doubts about my chances to get help – WRONG. Brother Broney Chettri took me in, gave me a great room, and took me to a very cozy restaurant with brother Augustine Gopal. We had a few beers, some snacks, and a great chat. I learned about their way of living as Roman Catholic in the backyard of Hindu/Buddhist/Islam ground. Don’t take me wrong…I mean in the backyard ‘cause of the small numbers they make in a large population of Hindu followers.

Great beer, delicious Momo – same as Chinese dumplings. I had a great time with them, and hope to see them again.

Crossed the border, quite fast for a change. Rode down the road to my first Nepal’s mountain while rally cars were being cheered by ppl who were welcoming drivers from the surrounding nations on the 2007 Nepal Rally. The first 100/200 km inbto Nepal,  no major change from India’s landscape, but the change from tea plantations to corn crops. The mountains start to give its first signs of what’s to come. Long, not steep, way up and gorgeous rivers and it’s white water which would get more beautiful and stronger when meeting another river forming a perfect spot for rafting – one of the top outdoor sports offered by Nepal.

Katmandu is coming, Himalayas are closer…can’t wait to get my eyes on it…or my wheels.

My stomach is still not a 100%. Must stop in a pharmacy and get medication. Financially I’m close to US$ 0, gotta get to Katmandu and work on a money transfer. At this point my ride showed it’s real challenge. To ride KMs for days, under rainy days, hot sun and trough chaotic traffic was not IT.  My biggest challenge was racing against my finances. I had to manage getting to places based on my funds. Buses/trains/airplanes were not a wished and affordable way of transport; bike was certainly being my way of doing it.

 Have I taken buses or free rides? Yes, I have. Any other way of transport other than bicycle has been taken in order to be somewhere when I must within a short time; on my rest days, to a better and safer place to sleep, and to avoid visa overstaying.

 

For the ppl who have been telling me “I must go to the Himalayas”. Sure, I’ll just ride and extra 700km and climb over 7000 feet and take a good shot if it.

Later…

Tags: On the Road

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