Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good God ! - 20

Mon Dieu ! - 20

T-Bird's Vacation

As reported last week, T-Bird finally nagged me into taking a long biking tour. I swear, sometimes a T-Bird can be worse than a wife, the way it goes on and on... So WHAT did you buy me for? To rot in a garage? I could have been a STAR! I left it all for you... and so on...

Blandine made many of the same points. So WHAT do you have a bike for? To rot in a garage... and so on. Only being French, she said it in French, which made it somehow worse.

You can argue with a T-Bird in English or a Frenchwoman in French. Not both. No. That becomes too rich.

Anyway, finally back from two weeks vacation with T-Bird and Blandine.... Bangalore - Hampi - Goa - Gokhrana - Jog Falls -Bangalore. T-Bird traveled 1600 km in all with five full refills of the tank and two service stops for minor niggles (a brake pad that was making expensive sounds and clutch cable oiling). Luckily I took along a list of all the Enfield Service centers along the way.

T-Bird is tired but happy. I'm just tired.

Blandine WAS happy. She landed up with a fever, soar throat, backache and cold the moment we hit Bangalore. Now not so happy.

Check out below for some pics...
Major Highlight of Trip: Just past Castle Rock in Mollem National Park on NH4A. Descending down the Western Ghats to the beaches of Goa through a dense forest. Its getting late, dusk falling. Going down a series of tight hairpin bends on a thin road more potholes than tar. It starts to rain. Dense fog decides to settle down. Road slippery. Visibility down to 2 feet. Switch on headlights. Fat use. Just yellow pools on white haze. Tiny waterfalls gushing all around on rock face. Blandine insists on getting down to photograph pretty flowers of some species or other amongst the waterfalls. Misery cannot be more. Just ahead, a truck brushes bumpers with a bus. Natural error, one feels? Can be overlooked in the circumstances and shrugged off with a smile? No. In the good old Indian tradition, several parties of the second part (muscular pilgrims from pilgrim bus) decide to thrash it out with the party of the first part - a weedy, sheepish looking truck driver - in the traditional Indian manner by thrashing the bejesus out of the party of the first part. Traffic blocked for miles on mountain side.  I perk up. Things are looking better. Advise for truck drivers: before brushing bumpers with bus, check it's not full of big beefy parties of the second part. Blandine consternated. This is not how things are done in France. 'Stop It! Stop It! Don't beat him!' she cries. Or rather, since she's French 'Arrêtez! Arrêtez! Ne le battez pas!' Self shocked. Explain that interrupting such things is not done here. A faux pas, as they say in French. All good things must pass. Find a way around the parties involved in legal dispute, get down to sea level. Fog lifts. Good old Goa.

Hint for long distance bikers: If you want it not to rain on your trip, wear raincoats. It never rains when you're wearing raincoats. On the other hand, if you're not wearing them, it invariably rains, even when its perfectly sunny and clear. By the time you stop and drag the stuff out of the rucksack, either A: it stops. Or B: you're already so wet it doesn't matter a damn.

Major traffic hazard on Indian roads: those signs telling you to drive carefully. You know the sort I mean: "Driving with care makes accidents rare". They seem to all be thought up exclusively by fellows with infantile dementia and water on the brain. I believe it is actually an official job requirement to have either one or both  those conditions to get a job as a writer of Drive Carefully signboards. Those things can cause flesh wounds on the forehead. They make you want to beat your head on the handlebar. And if, as with many people, you can't ride a bike and beat your head on the handlebar at the same time, it can be a hazard for other fellows on the road. And after that all that tedious parties of the first and second part business. Having said that, on the Goa section of  NH7 I saw one that I actually liked: "Drive with care, your body has no spare." Not bad. Not bad at all. Even makes you think a bit.

The greatest meal I ever had: Hampi, Mango Tree Restaurant. Sitting cross-legged on the banks of the Tungabhadra under the shade of a mango tree. Eating rolled Crepes filled with chocolate sauce and banana slices, watching the swollen river flow by at my feet. A no-pain way to achieve Nirvana. Made friends with the restaurant cat.
Making friends with the Mango Tree cat

Jog Falls. All that water gushing down - inevitable psychological side-effects. Luckily, there are some nice public toilets nearby.

Hampi - 13th Century Mall. No Mac in those days

Nice ol' temple in Hampi - Turn 180 degrees, some not so nice ol' erotic sculptures. Can't show them. Pen-Slinger is  a family oriented site, kids.

Hampi - No, this is not a Hollywood set

Sunset over Hampi

Little old church on a little old island in Goa

Goa - Nice view from cliff on little cove. Romantic point for suicide. What a way to go!

Goa - more on suicide point. I mean - what a scene to have on your way out.

Goa - more details still of suicide point. It's helpfully slippery on the rocks, if you prefer to break your neck.

Goa - Blandine on cliff. Vertigo - Who me?

T-Bird enjoying the sun n' sea breeze  in Goa - a safe distance from cliff (poor T-Bird on the other hand gets Vertigo easily)
The Route

Friday, September 09, 2011

Pen-Slinger on Vacation!

Dear Readers,

pen-slinger is on vacation until the end of this month... check back on 1st Oct to hear more from God....

T-Bird got bored sitting in the garage.... threatened to have a breakdown if I didn't take her out.... so I'm letting T-Bird take me on a bike tour to Hampi.... Goa... Mangalore... Coorg.... & back.... exhausting, but T-Bird is happy - that's the main thing. There is nothing more awful than a T-bird having a fit - except perhaps the wife having a fit.

more later.....