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

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

to Bijapur

our first day of biking we made it 80+km through blistering heat and painful traffic conditions. bad roads, heat and plenty of truck exhaust made yesterday. the most challenging day of biking i've experienced. the fact that food was not stellar, water was scarce and we camped in a bush near recently cleared farmland - i fell asleep in pain. the whole day was just terrible and whatever beautiful, fun, new things i saw i've already forgotten.

woke up today sore, tired and feeling beaten. eliot and i each had a flat tire from rolling over thorns on the way to our campsite and back. some repairs took about an hour. after breakfast (some lentils and roti, plus 3 chai teas) i felt better and my legs started to open up a bit.  biked hard and felt good flying down the road. our idea was to bike early in the morning, rest at the hottest part of the day and then bike again in the evening, so aboiut 12:30 we stopped for food in a small town between highway junctions. the guy serving us was awesome and we ate three or four helpings each of the thali meal offered to us. filled up water, planned the route a bit. we were both feeling good about biking, but tired and a bit run down.

about 5km outside of that town, eliot had another flat. no sooner had he changed it than he got another one, same place. that's five flats in 3 days, in case your counting. both of us were not feeling great, and with so much patch-work to do, we decided to hitchhike a bit. we were picked up by two nice dudes, but you never know. the last truck we got in, we sort of got soft-mugged out of 500Rs. still, we were desperate.

eventually, we rolled into Bijapur, saving us a full day of biking. i was disapointed we couldn't bike it, but we were both starting to feel ill and with the poor sleep, poor food and repair work, i took the hit to the bike trip. when we were dropped off, neither trucker would except payment, and barely listened to our thanks. they repeated in broken english that we were guests, and it was their duty to help us, protect us and provide for us. they thanked us for visiting india. the driver held our hands and looked in our eyes saying again and again that it was his duty to take care of us. this country, man. sometimes, it blows you away.

we pushed the bikes to a hotel best described as an homage au Dresden. regardless of the stiffling heat, the sinus pain coming on and the exhaustion from biking 120+km through the freaking desert, Indepence Day was on some movie channel - in English no less! - so we went to sleep pretty happy.

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