eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hell and Heaven, all in one day

So much can happen in one day. After a rough, hot and dusty exit out of central Mumbai (thanks Anjali Inn), we turned south to head towards Murud, on the Konkan coast, and eventually to 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 2nd day ride. Cycling along H-17 (good road), I was so hot that I felt like my skin was going to crinkle up and fall off like a burning marshmallow over the fire. Every hill was a battle, every valley a small but futile victory. Rarely have I been this hot while simultaneously exercising for so many miles at a time. I am from Oregon, after all. It was like having no lung power, leg power, stamina, energy, nothing, and constantly on the verge of collapse or barfing. Even a delicious fresh cut pineapple (thanks, Drew) did little to stave off the pain. In short, it totally, totally sucked.

Drew, native of south Texas (long live the mighty state), was having little difficulty, and was rather enjoying the furnace as we rode along. I now realize it was heat stroke, plain and simple. Suck-y. Also, having cotton pants on over my bike shorts, shoes and socks and a cotton shirt in 100 degree inland desert weather was, in fact stupid. My aim to not cause offense to the rural folks we rode past was in vain. We stood out so much, a little bike short action probably wouldn't make much difference to any conservative farmers (later I learned to not care, since the lack of cotton pants makes a MEGA difference).

Anyhow, we (read: I) limped like an injured duck to the town of Pen and agreed (read: I said I am going to die unless...) we should go to the coast by bus, as cycling more of the heat was a sure death race. Saints be praised, we did. Popping our bikes atop a dilapidated bus, we chunked down the road a piece to Alibad, where the coastal breeze met us once again and life resumed for my body. I could feel the heat dissipating and the panic level simmering down to normal operating levels. It was bad, man; I had that dreadful thought inside myself for just a moment - "Jesus, what have I done? I'm nearly dead on the 2nd day of cycling? Am I just a total wuss, or have I damned myself? Am I going to have to give up NOW?? And why the hell isn't Drew suffering like a rotisserie pig, like me??!"

I learned that, despite how bad things seem at the moment, if you persevere and aim for what you need, you'll probably get it. In addition, we both learned that Indian hospitality really does know no bounds, as evidenced by our most excellent and gracious experience with Mr Kunal and his family in Alibad. But that's for another post.

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