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Monday, 9 March 2009


4th – 9th March

Just one step up from Kolkata in the grime stakes, we resolved to spend as little time as possible in the country’s capital. After spending a few days in Kolkata, we were at least a little more accustomed to the filth and squalor, sights, smells and noises that can seemingly only be found in India – literally an insult on the senses! Just walking down a street is exhausting – a pedestrian is of course the lowest form of life (even the roaming cattle fare better) and anyone that can afford to do so will take some form of transport, even if only a Cycle Wallah. Fine if you have a particular destination in mind, but as we often don’t, we’re usually forced into the gutter by every passing set of wheels. Even the smaller alleyways and marketplaces, or “bazaars” are not immune from the onslaught of traffic.

If you do manage to dodge the motors your ambling will more than likely be intercepted by every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Rajesh,Sanjay and Nikhil) insisting you need to make their acquaintance and accompany them to their stall, “department store” or, more often than not… taxi/rickshaw/cyclo. Thankfully for Sam, “Sir” seems to take the brunt of these offers. On the flipside, being so overlooked (in a verbal sense – everybody certainly has a good old stare!) becomes equally tiresome. It’s certainly a culture shock how women are so superfluous to the decision making process, even when it comes to traditional female activities like sorting out laundry!

Sorry…enough ranting!!! Delhi isn’t well known for its famous landmarks and we didn’t come for the sights; we had other things to fill our time. A fellow traveller we’d met in Thailand had mentioned that he owned and was selling a couple of motorbikes in Delhi. Naturally, one thing led to another and we agreed to take a look once we’d arrived. One of the bikes had just been sold by the time we eventually reached the city. The remaining bike was a good looking machine and seemed mechanically sound, yet missing the essential papers. Ed didn’t want much in the way of money, but did we want to take the risk of travelling 7,000km without papers?

After two days trawling the streets of Delhi, Ady finally agreed on a 2004, Enfield Bullet 350. We were torn between two bikes; this one and a beautiful, completely reconditioned bike from Bullet Wallas – both had papers and we decided to give the friend’s bike a miss. The costs were broadly similar but (for once!) the practical, newer model won over the “Sunday afternoon show pony”. A number of faults were immediately established however and Ady set the team at Tony Motors to put them right before we handed anything over. A rear luggage carrier and a cruiser style pillion back rest were also added (great for nodding off on those long roads!). Lets just say a stressful few days and sleepless nights followed (for Ady) as he spent time watching over the mechanics for unscrupulous workmanship. For each problem rectified another fault was established and he pushed the patience of Rajesh, the owner, to its limit! Eventually we paid and made it off the forecourt, but Ady still wasn’t happy. The engine was making a strange noise and then the electrics started playing up. We swallowed our pride and took the bike in to see Chris at Bullet Wallas, where we’d viewed the other bike. Between them, they agreed that all was definitely not well and set about getting the bike ready for the long journey south. The mechanics worked until 9pm, but eventually we were ready to go. One more sleepless night before we hit the road…

Finally, we were on our way. Anxious about the journey ahead but so relieved to be away from Delhi, for different reasons (did we mention the gawping, ogling, groping, smirking and having water chucked over by the filthy ******* that might have been Delhi’s male population?)…anyway!!!!

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