Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's Wedding Season in India!!


"January is wedding season in India", we are told at our first riders meeting - get ready to party!  In fact, there was a wedding going on at our hotel....

Delhi is crazy - I've seen none of it beyond a 1.5 hour drive from airport to hotel in pouring rain when we arrived.  Dennis (fellow rider and Brit) was on the same flight as me which was reassuring.  The money changing is very challenging since the government is trying to curb corruption and you are limited in how much money you can change at one time.  

Our first hotel (Vivanta Taj - Surjkund) is on the south side of Delhi to facilitate leaving the city on our first ride day.  This means it's about 3 hours into Delhi to see the sights in the most daunting traffic.  Stayed at the resort instead.  It's so beautiful - had a swim and a massage and the towels are changed every 5 minutes or so in the room - every very time I returned to my room, the slippers they provide were in a different spot, along with clean towels.  

First riders meeting on Jan 28 - met our small band of like minded travellers, 10 in all + 3 staff.  Daily schedule reviewed (bags to van @ 6:45; breakie @ 7:00; and on the road @ 7:30). Reviewed the use of the white boards which will identify our daily route; the rules of the tour and rules of the road.

Day 1
(84 km, 350m climbing), smog/fog, warmish (14'C -> 21'C)

Group photo, Priest gave us a blessing, gift of a bracelet from the God Ganesh to protect us on our travels and provide a safe journey, including a blessing for our bikes with coconut water.
We had our 2 vehicles (1 in front and 1 behind) escort us for the first 10 km out of Delhi, then a straight shot to our destination - Kosi.  This was an experience - horns are constant, signalling rare, and the slow'ish speed of the traffic makes the "dance" doable for all shapes and sizes.  The best part is the maze of traffic going through any community along the way. Why not go the opposite direction on the road - you can fit, just honk your horn -organised chaos....   The road was paved and a bit of construction, but in much better condition than I expected.

Lunch just beyond half way (50 km) - sandwiches, chai, fruit, veggies.  I hope I'll enjoy it as much on last day of tour as today!  

Our hotel for the night is pleasant - had my first, of I'm sure many, experiences with a bucket wash to wash the grime of the day off.  

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