- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Things are moving now, and moving quickly. 33 days until we board the plane and hop our way to Delhi. 35 days until get on the bikes and start moving north and up. 35 days until all the planning sessions and preparation and and and comes to nothing and we realise that we are Out There and have to get our act together. I should probably be more worried, but I'm over it.
At least I'm now impervious to all known diseases. OK, hepatitis A, typhoid, polio, yellow fever and cholera. And one other that I can't remember, but I'm sure it's serious. It better be - it cost R1300 for a woman to turn me into a human pincushion. And that's not counting the antibiotics and diamox that I also had to get. Jesus, this trip was supposed to be cheap. Just surviving the possibilities looks like it will bankrupt me. And that isn't counting the bad roads, the other drivers, the weather and the food.
If I sound pissy, I'm not. This is because I'm less likely to be completely useless at riding a bike - on friday evening, the Ginger Ninja was kind enough to hand me the keys to The Frog, his aging Bajaj scooter, and turn me loose on an unsuspecting Woodstock. There was some method to this madness - the Frog actually has manual gears and would help me learn things like clutch control and not riding into inanimate objects while trying to change gears. Luckily he also pointed me in the direction of the open road, so my early attempts at pulling off resulted in nothing more than a singed clutch and some embarrassed smiles at the giggling locals. I won't mention nearly running over an old ladies dog (which may have been on the curb), but she took my rueful "I'm trying to learn how to ride this" as a sufficient apology and walked off shaking her head.
But, by the end of the evening, I actually had the hang of the damn thing. Even managing to do three apparently particularly stupid things (so much for reigning in my inner hoon), namely:
(1) Taking The Frog onto Main Road Woodstock at 5pm on a friday
(2) Taking The Frog onto Main Road Woodstock at 5pm on a friday without wearing a helmet
(3) Possibly, and I admit no culpability in this etc etc this is no admission etc etc, driving The Frog home after a beer or two. And driving better. (it was 2 blocks of back roads, OK?!)
Yes, I'm an idiot. And a fool. And a goon.
But the whole experience (except the stupid bits) was great. With any luck, it has ruined my life, but in a good way. I'm already looking at buying a Bajaj. I mean, why not? Surely a little less horsepower will .. sedate me somewhat. God knows that things will get ugly if someone says "Hey, why not just by an 800cc and be done with it?". The result will, if I'm lucky, be something along the lines of a smoking crater and a rueful "I'm trying to learn how to ride this". The problem is, I'm more likely to be unlucky and that's not going to end well (c/f above comments re: "I'm an idiot" etc etc).
So, some updates on progress:
Book accommodation for our first night or two in Delhi
Get our visas
(3) Work out where to rent reliable motorcycles from in the Shimla area
(4) Buy the necessary gear.
(5) Oh, and actually work out what the necessary gear is.
(6) I should probably learn to ride a motorcycle.
Vaccinations. A new addition.