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

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bijapur to Aruagabad, the hard way

been out of it and travelling for a couple days so here's the skinny:

after we reluctantly took a sick day to rest up in bijapur, we began bicycling the next day covering an amazing 101km in 8 hours, resting occasionally and taking only 45 minutes for lunch. the rest day made all the difference. we had excellent roads, the wind shifted from north-east (blowing in our faces) to true west, providing a nice gust all day. best of all, the sun was shielded above a cover of clouds all day meaning we had excellent weather that didn't instantly zap all the water and salt out of our bodies. we flew all day, the road zipping by under our pedals. after forcing myself to sit still all day watching the Stars Movie Channel and chatting on skype, it felt great to be moving again.


we crossed a river and were back in Maharastra, so when we hit solapur our hopes were high for a return to the north-central gastronomy - namely decently spiced chai and some pohaa. no dice on the latter as of yet, but the tea is stellar up here.  the dosas are less than excellent. solapur is nothing at all to write about. there are about 3 lodges there, nothing to see beyond traffic, and 2 gringos in the whole town (provided me and eliot are sleeping there). we did have some decent masala/honey/ginger ice cream and watched a Sammo Hung movie on the tv.

the next day we got a late start - breakfast took a while, check out was slow-going and we stopped at an internet cafe to send some important mail. we made about 70km that day - crappy roads and a partial headwind returned, so it was a tough day. also, 101km the day before meant our legs were at less-than full strength.  we were tired when we limped into Barsi and a bit worried - the town looked like it had changed hands a couple times during a war. few places to eat, no one speaking english and garbage, exhaust and dust in droves enough to suffocate. convinced we would have to camp, we began looking for a place to eat. on a whim, we asked for a lodge and were led to one of the better places we stayed in india - a bar / cafe below with quick room service and great food, decent selection of beer and a clean, spacious room - for 300Rs ($6) a night, no less! we ate our fill, drank a cool one and bedded down.

this was the fifth night in a row i couldn't sleep. certainly i was tired from biking, but the heat is really getting up there these days. even with the fan on and two windows open, i have to wake up in the night to douse myself in water to stay cool. tossing and turning and still a little sick, while biking 8 hours a day in 90 degree heat ... i'm killing myself and i know it.

the next day, we can't bike. we try and try: grunting, cursing, even grabbing on to the backs of passing trucks to sneak a free ride, having them drag us up hills. but it's no use, and 2 hours in we've covered a measly 15km. terrible roads, no shade or shelter from the sun, our 6th straight day of biking (minus 1 for being laid up in bijapur), not sleeping and certainly not eating enough ... we were pretty broken.

in yermala we caught a bus with the intention of getting off in Bid, about 80km up the road, and 137km to Aurangabad, our next big stop over. we rode it all the way to aurangabad. there, we found great accommodations at a little hotel near the bus stand. we ate a heaping pile of food, had some ice cream and crashed, glad to be in Aurangabad but way too tired to celebrate.

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