On the Road to Hyderabad

A few more things sorted and facebook caught up with, it was time for us to leave Goa and start the long journey back north. But first things first…. a quick stop in Hyderabad to get my camera repaired at the professional Canon place there. So rather than rant on about every day’s riding, here’s a few pics.

Aidan had had some work done on his bike to sort the sudden losses of power mid-ride. In the process he’d emptied the tank to remove any water and filled a couple litres of petrol sold in old water bottles all over Arambol back in. So now he needed to fill up. I stood in a long line for the only cash machine in the village for half an hour. When it was my turn, the machine overheated and shut down (the aircon in the room was broken). Luckily the next village had a cold ATM. Now we had cash, we could buy petrol. But no petrol station for miles. Eventually Khiimori spluttered to a halt. Luckily Nila had quite a few litres left, so we siphoned some from her.

That evening we holed up in the cute little market town of Ajra that had rarely seen a white person. The entire area wasn’t set up for tourists. There were few hotels and none of the road signs had been in English or even Hindi for a while now. All just the local languages. So at first we were quite cautious about wielding Aidan’s giant SLR about as we explored the fish market and we got a lot of odd looks.

But then people got into it and asked us to take their picture. The lady at the barber shop wanted her son in one while quickly pulling her Sari over her head. (Their way to remain decent and properly dressed in front of strangers. Some even pull it over their face. Nothing to do with the Muslim religion, it’s just the Indian way.) Afterwards the barber shop guy kidnapped Aidan; he desperately needs a shave! Noodle got out of it by saying he’s trying to grow his beard as long as his hair and the whole crowd fell over themselves laughing.

We found some “very very testy” Indian sweets for dessert after a super yummy and spicy (where is Kezza?) dhaba meal.

Then it was on the road through beautiful Indian countryside again. People were stacking dry maize plants into pointy domes (cow fodder for the rainy season). Cows and water buffalos were munching away tied up in front of their sheds and houses. Rice grain and sweetcorn was laid out to dry in the sun. Bright coloured laundry was hung over everything to dry off.

 

And women made little discs of straw and cow dung, also laid out to dry before it’s stacked on the roof tops. It serves as cooking fuel and stacks are made during the straw harvest for when the monsoon drenches all wood and branches outside.

 

One day Nila’s rear tire had two punctures in a row. She wanted new shoes and was obviously throwing a hissy fit. Unbeknownst to me I’d ridden 10,000km with a big hole in the tire that had only been shoddily repaired. Now the tire was wearing real thin and the smallest sharp thing causing punctures. Of course having two westerners in the tire place gathered a huge crowd!

Unlike the west coast where tourists bring money, the centre of the country is very poor. It is common for whole families to live under little tarp tents in the fields.

We also rode past what looked like a gypsy camp.

About 60km or so from Hyderabad my bike suddenly died mid ride. What now?! I pulled over and opened the side cover. She had power, but the starter motor wouldn’t turn over. A guy on an Enfield pulled over and after a quick chat rode off to fetch a mechanic. They arrived just as Aidan had turned around. The mechanic walked over to Nila and turned the engine kill switch back on. WHOOPS!!! They were all in stitches.

Red-faced I got back on the bike, wondering how the switch could possibly have turned itself off mid ride?!? It was nowhere near my hand, sleeve or even the backpack on the tank! I’d never know. Aidan was telling me off. This wasn’t the first time I’d panicked about the bike not starting only to find someone had flicked the kill switch. I’ll never learn!

The Enfield guy zoomed past us, having dropped the mechanic off again and shortly afterwards pulled us over at a busy tea stall to have a chai and a chat. He also gave us his phone number, just in case we needed any help. So something good came of it… positive reinforcement and all that 🙂

 

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