India

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April 6 - 29, 1997

My plane was late, so I arrived in Delhi at 2:00 am. Sue was at the airport to meet me. I spent the next couple of days hanging out at the guesthouse where Sue was living, while she finished up at work.

We took the train to Trivandrum - a two day trip. We got stopped in one little town by protesters, who had heard that their leader was going to be killed. After an hour the police arrived, and the protesters disbursed.

We arrived in Trivandrum in the morning, and got our bikes set up. After fighting with the baggage people over our bikes, which we had not properly checked in, we were off. It was 10:00, and it was already way too hot.

We cycled 80 km, to the southern-most tip of India. It was hell. The traffic was crazy. The heat was unbearable. And the pollution was horrible. There was garbage everywhere. The diesel from the trucks turned our arms and t-shirts black. By the time we got to Kanyakumari, I literally could not see straight.

We spent a day there recovering, and then cycled up to the beach at Kovalam, which was quite nice, and the only place in India where I saw garbage cans.

We continued cycling up the coast. We took one day, and did a boat trip in the Backwaters of Kerala. They strapped our bikes to the front of the boat, and we crossed our fingers that they wouldn't fall in. The backwaters were lovely.

Eventually we decided to head up to the cool of the hill stations. We took the bus up to Coonoor, where we relaxed for a few days. Or, at least, tried to. Coonoor is built on the side of a hill, and our guesthouse was higher than the main town. There was a Hindu festival going on, and at night they would set off fireworks in town. They'd launch them, and they'd explode level with our guesthouse. It was like being in the Vietnam war, with mortars going off around us. A couple of windows in the guesthouse were broken by shrapnel.

We rode up to Ooty, another nice hill station. Then it was a long, downhill ride. Seventeen kilometres without peddling. Which may sound easy, but my arms were killing me from riding the brakes.

We cycled through Mudumalai National Park. The signs saying not to get out of your car because of the wild animals was a bit worrying. But we weren't eaten. Went on an elephant ride.

After Mudumalai, it was back to hot, dirty, crowded roads. We rode to Bangalore, and then flew to Nepal.









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Last updated: July 17, 2015