So much can happen in one day. After a rough and hot first day out of Mumbai (followed by a posh yet expensive hotel), we turned south to head towards Murud, on the Konkan coast towards Goa. Let me (Eliot Spencer Murray) tell you, folks, I will often dilute the severity of my bad experiences for the sake of saving face and sustaining pleasantries, but by god, not today. I have absolutely no druthers about saying how hot and blankety blank miserable I was for most of our ride. Cycling along rural highway 17 (not a bad road), it was so hot, I was baking like a glazed Christmas ham, dying one minute at a time. Every hill was a battle, every valley a small but futile victory. Rarely have I been this hot and concurrently exercising for so many miles at a time in such heat. I'm from Oregon, after all. It was like running through a furnace and hauling 45 lbs behind you. No lung power, no leg power, no nothing, on the verge of barfing constantly, waiting for the pass-out curtain to fall. Not even the delicious taste of fresh fruit could recharge me. Ugh, man.
Mind you, Drew (native of south Texas, long live the mighty state) was having a blast getting cooked, as it reminded him of his youth in the summertime Tejas furnace. For Eliot, remembering my "balmy" 85 degree summers in the beautiful and flawless state of Oregon, I was knocking on death's door every ten minutes. Honestly, I don't care if I sound like a total ween, I was !?$&@-ing hot. Like murder hot. Killer hot. Really frankenfurter hot. At one point, we pulled over and I collapsed in a shady pile for an hour. It sucked. Sucky suck suck suck suckaroo. Suck a duck. Dry heaving, no breath, what the blank am I thinking hot. Made
all the more sucky by Drew telling me "Oh man, this sure is great, I love me this hot weather, reminds me of my youth, I feel like a million rupees, blah blah blah." No down-beat to him, of course, the guy is a champ, more power to him and blah blah blah rah rah. All's I'm saying is, every five minutes I want to ralph on myself. Heat stroke. Plain and simple. Really sucky. Nuff said. End.
Anyhow, we (read: I) limped to the town of Pen, where we (read: I, under the cover of blessed a/c) proposed we catch a bus to the coast where the weather may be cooler. Saints be praised, that is precisely what we did.
The bus station in Pen was amazing. First, I went to buy a ticket to Alibad (40 km away) and got directed by the team of ticket vendors
(every organization here seems to have a team to deal with stuff, yeah?) out to a dusty lot filled with huge crusty busses arriving and departing from here and there. I met two kind gents (thanks guys) who directed Drew and I to the Alibad bus, whereupon we (read: Drew, with some help from Eliot) hucked the bikes up to the top of the bus and scrambled our bags on board just as it was pulling away.
40 or so bumpalicious km later, we arrive in Alibag, a charming coast town on the verge of celebrating Holi (google: Holi festival India, pretty cool). It's SOOO much cooler (temp wise) and my poor poor poor body is SOOO very happy to be here, I want to kiss Ganesh for whacking aside another obstacle for us. Oh wait, I forgot! We saw our first elephant today, in some small town in the hills! It was huge. Also, some little monkeys. Amazing; in the US, we have deer and squirrels. In India, they have monkeys and elephants. Elephants! Enormous! Bodacious! Like living in a zoo, in many ways.
At this point, we pursue the daily task of finding a place to sleep. Being sensative to cost, we were less than exhuberant to jump at the nearest beach side dive, as our last couple of days we've unloaded a good amount of rupees on lodging. Lodging, the daily miracle or disaster. What will become of us tonight???
So: For a description of a true-to-form Marshall Ericson approved miracle, I will refer to Drew's post, which will hopefully sum up the top notch evening we had the distinct pleasure of experiencing. Amen. And happy Holi to all you readers!
-Eliot and Drew