Chennai to Hampi to Delhi travel blog

March 15, 2015

I have been in India for nine days now. We rode about 350 Km’s today, none of it north. We were on NH4 the whole time. We hit only one diversion. It was short and quick. For the most part it was 100kph the entire time. We rode around Bangalore. It took an hour to find the ring road/turn off. I asked about a half a dozen people.

I am holed up at the Holiday Palms Resort on the west side of Bangalore. It’s a really nice place. 2200 Rs. Per night – USD$37.00. Of course AC, TV and wifi in the room. I can’t get the TV or wifi to work but I’ve only been here and hour. The majority of that time was setting up shop and cleaning up. If I can’t get either to work it’s not loss as I have to get back to Marquez’s novel.

Suukyi is running like a top. I love my girl too much. Only a rider would know this type of love.

On the way here we stopped for chai twice, food once [I met some wealth guys here, both riders]. I has a half hour chat with the me. Going through toll booth I was pulled by some Indian kids just on the other side of a toll booth. I’ll get to this later.

We left late. It was 4:00 AM and I was watching a documentary on WW II and thinking, ‘This is perfect. I’ll start packing [most everything was packed already] 5:00 AM, be carrying down the gear at 5:30 AM and my girl will be loaded and good to go at 6:00 AM’. I would get to see the sunrise. Hope – fell asleep. It wasn’t the end of the world. We hit the hardtop around 7:00 AM. It was still cool out. I stopped for a chai right off the get go. I think we rode until 10:30 AM and I was getting hungry. I wanted an AC joint. I found one, went in and it was clear that they false advertised the AC part. I had veg masala, steamed rice and mineral water. I hate it when they automatically give me a mineral water whereas everyone else takes normal water. They assume the gorha can’t take the normal water. I took it anyway. I met some great people at the restaurant. They were a couple of husbands want wives. VERY well to do!! I guys just got back from a tour of New Zealand with some buddies of theirs whereas they rented Harleys. One guy was wearing a Brietling. I had to comment on it. Nice watch! The one couple lived in Seattle for quite some time and their daughter is going to Berkley. They would come up to Vancouver all the time. The guy with the watch is an exporter of Indian clothing. As stated before, they are avide riders and gave me a great route to go through the foothills of Kerala. I believe the name of the town they told me I have to see is called Madikeri, south west of Bangalore. Then they said to circle north to a village of Kadur and them east back to NH4 and continue to Hampi. I will do the research tonight. If the bible has no information I may go anyway. They said the ride through the hills was made for riding [not literally]. Both towns have some sort of ruins. We rode for another hour and a half and I had to stop for another chai. The further west we get from Chennai the nicer people become. Plus more Hindi is spoken and there is more north Indian cuisine, which I prefer. Suukyi was thirsty so we stopped to top her up. After I found the route out of Bangalore we hit a toll booth. It was the first one I have seen in India where a two wheeler had to pay. 60 Rs.!!! I couldn’t believe how expensive it was. USD$1.00!! All sarcasm aside. It was at this toll booth I met the Indian lads. They were hard core riders. They obviously had bikes for the pure thrill of the ride. Its Sunday here and there were in Bangalore for a riders club meeting. These were the coolest riders I have come across since the group of speed demons in meet in Colombia. I think it was Colombia. Anyway I gave the chaps a hand full of stickers and told them I had to split. It was getting late [1:00 PM] and hot [+35].

When I left this morning at 7:00 AM it was 22. It was chilly. Around 9:00 AM the temperature seemed to climb a degree every 30 minutes. It stayed around 31 until noon and then 33 and at 1:00 PM 35. I felt comfortable. Even with all my gear on. I ride with my jacket undone. It’s not such good an idea because if I hit the asphalt doing 30 or better it could peel off me and then it’s only a polypro t-shirt between me and flesh. ‘Could’ being the operative word. But the tension that the heat causes is a better trade

When I pulled into the hotel Suukyi was reading 35. I am getting acclimatized. When just standing at 35 I no longer sweat. Even when I pulled off her bags I didn’t sweat much.

It’s a bitch to get her saddle bags off. Last year in Sikkim and Assam I had a couple of pretty good tumbles and busted the clamping mechanism that secures the bags to her. The clamping system is great as long as you don’t dump her doing 30 kph. I gerry rigged the one that snapped off in Sikkim. I had no choice. I was in the middle of the jungle. The other one I think I did in Canada as in was still functioning after the crash in Assam crash. Inspecting it in Canada I saw a future problem. I now have to crry four different tools to remove her bags. When removing the bags it’s a sweat fest for me. Today – not so much. Even at 35.

I saw two accidents today. Both involved scooties. Both victims had been removed but the crowd remained. I also saw a couple of overturned lorries too but these accidents happened days back.

I told both the couples I meet at the restaurant and the biker kids that I planned on arriving in Delhi mid-May. Both told me that it will be full summer by then and will be very hot. If Indian’s tell me it’s going to be hot, what am I going to think? Yeah, it’s going to be punishing.

I spoke with Mom and Dad the other day. I mentioned to them that I was thinking of returning to Chennai and transporting Suukyi and flying back to Delhi. Matta really wanted me to do this as did Cara. I called Manish. He knew I was thinking about this. He said the same thing. The next day, after I had my ride about, I called Manish and told him I love my India to much and was riding to Delhi. He was giddy as a school girl with fresh cottons. I also spoke with Mr. Singh too. He was soooo happy to hear me. Not so much that I was riding to Delhi, just to hear my voice. And I his. I am suspecting that, in their eyes I am an NRI leaning towards being a national. I am certainly not a gorha. And I don’t believe I am either.

I just ordered peanut masala and it is soooo fucking good. The taste reminded me of ceviche but on a plate.

You know what I see when I am in India. Reality. Don’t get me wrong; I am still and always will be a capitalist. But I see life in India.

A lot of people ask me why I always return. I have now been here six times and gave her 1000 days of my life. “Are you not sick of that shit hole?” Art. To some it makes no sense and is worth nothing. I'll leave it at that.

When I use ‘we’ it refers Suukyi and myself.

Don’t follow - Alice in Chains

I wonder if anyone listens to the songs/band I list at end some of my post. To me, at THE TIME, are very very poinent.

March 16, 2015

Another day in gods land.

I ordered pannier butter masala last night for supper. I wanted to eat it in bed while watching a documentary on the laptop. All was fine until one of my pillows rolled over onto the plate of masala. What a fucking mess. All I can think of now is that when the cleaning staff come to clean the room they are going to find to mother fucking pillow and assume I had the scoots something fierce and used the pillow as a pad. I thought about washing it in cold water but I don’t have detergent. Sometimes I buy a small bag. In thinking about dirty stuff I am reminded that I only have four pair of ginch. Cara does all our laundry. She loves to do laundry. I don’t know why. I think it’s because when doing so there is an instant gratification of a job well done. I dunno.

I didn’t start packing gear until the early morning before I left Canada thus Cara didn’t wash my shit until the night before. I woke up at 4:00 AM to get my gear together. Cara had put my wash on the dresser. Only four pair of underwear. What can I do. I’ll buy some there. I am down to my last pair thus I only good for a few more days. I seems to me last year going commando in my riding pants was not as bad as I though. Hells, do I even need panties for?

Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.

Suukyi is a legend where ever we ride.

I missed the 12:30 PM lunch cut off. Most hotel restaurants have a few hours break between breakfast, lunch and supper. But snacks are available. I ordered chill ghobi. Fuck me is it good. I just listened to Motorhead’s – Ace of Spades. This shit is so real it’s sick.

I am running out of experiences to write.

My next stop is Hampi. The bible reads it’s a nine hour bus ride from here [Bangalore] to there [Hampi]. It has to be wrong. But somehow I doubt it. My book was published a few years ago. I find that looking at bus travel times in The Book it’s a great gauge in determining my travel time. I know it’s about 180 KM’s on NH4 to where I have to turn north. This will take about three hours. And from there it’s another 120 KM’s north on a secondary road [two lanes]. This should take another three to four hours. Ah fuck, maybe the bible is right. My times include chai breaks.

As mentioned earlier I may go to the northern and southern foot hills of Kerala and Andrea Pradesh, respectively.

Hampi is an inland version on Goa. I don’t want to see this tourist shit but I do want to see the area. The landscape is to be phenomenal plus there is over 3,500 Mandiers in the area. The locals will be jaded. I dunno. I will stop there regardless. And the touts will be thick. Backpackistan – this ain’t my bag . . . Baby. Fuck, I am 47 years old now and this scene doesn’t agree with me anymore. There was a time though that I assumed this was a part of travel. Yhhaaaa yes, young and ignorant.

Touts. Most often I stop and talk to these fuckers. It’s a chance for me to get out of my head. I have not seen a gorha or gorhi since I arrived. I love speaking to the locals but usually the conversation is limited due to language barriers. But touts are a mid-breed. The always speak good English and want to talk. Of course, I know what their up to but I play it just for the conversation. When I tell them I know the scam some STILL try to get me to go to their ‘uncles’ shop’. At this time the conversation gets better.

I should get the opportunity to comment of young hippies I know that I will come across in Hampi. Suukyi will be the base/starting point for every conversation. It’s like dating a deaf super model that I introduced to a bunch of teens. She gets up stretches, yawns and signs that she going to take a nap and that I should be up in the room in 15 minutes – NO later. Wide eyed furious questions from all corners in rapid succession. This is Suukyi. I am not so cool with it. Suukyi loves it.

I am sure getting a lot of zits on my skull. It seems to be only in one patch on the left side. I don’t remember having this problem in the past. I hope I don’t have some sort of bug[s].

My repair job to Suukyi’s sleeping bag last night was weak. I used all the duct tape I had. What a waste. I only had a little. I can’t believe I didn’t bring more with me. I knew I was getting low. It separated. I didn’t have enough tape. No, think I will leave it. It only weighs three or four pounds but it does take up huge volume in my dry bag. Which sits high on Suukyi.

Slip slidin’ away – Paul Simon

I am traveling alone. When I use the term ‘WE’ it describes Suukyi and myself.

March 16, 2015

I have decided to transport Suukyi after all. Everyone here thinks it’s a good idea. The other day it was 35 and it’s only late spring. It’s only going to get hotter. I got the feeling that everyone here was concerned. Plus the hotel where I am at is on the outskirts of Bangalore. There are lots of transport agencies around here. The hotel manager made one call and the transport guy showed up within 30 minutes. 17,000 Rs. For door to door service. They will pick her up here and take her to Narinder’s yard.

I am going to stay here for three or four weeks. I am not too keen in hanging out in Delhi waiting for my flight to England. I fly out May 21, 2015. This hotel is soooo beautiful. Maybe I’ll stay here longer. It’s noon. I am sitting in the shade in the sprawling yard out back. It’s so beautiful. They have geese running around. There are also a half dozen or so chicks. They are currently all around me honking.

Riding the other day I burnt my wrists. I keep the cuffs of the jacket undone to get more air flow thus the jacket rides up a little. I should have known better as this was always a problem going to South America.

The shipping walla wanted to send the bike today. I don’t like the thought of being without transportation. I told him to pick her up in a week or so. Plus I don’t think Narinder wants her sitting in his yard until I return to Delhi to arrange with him to send her back to Canada. It’ll take about 10 days to arrive. I can send her out closer to my departure date from here in Bangalore. As a matter of fact I know he is not going to want to ‘store’ her. I think I remember him telling me as much in the past.

It’s a good thing I saved the large duffle bag that we bought in Chennai to hold my riding gear I kept at the hotel when I returned to Canada. There is only so much I can get into the saddle bags, which will be going with Suukyi. And there is also only so much room in my dry bag. I’ll fly business class back to Delhi which allows two checked bags.

The shipping walla said he was going to ‘pack’ her. ‘Packing’ can mean a multitude of things. In 2004 when I put the Enfield on the train she too was ‘packed’. This consisted of wrapping straw around the bike in certain areas and then cardboard over the straw. It was haphazard at best. It was just one of those acts that are supposed to make you all warm and fuzzy inside but really it was nothing. In 2103 when I blew out my knee and had Suukyi send back to Delhi from Guwatti I witnessed another ‘pack’ job. They came to pick up the bike from the hotel and there was no packing. The shipping walla was there and he told me that she was ‘fine as is’. I am sure I paid a ‘packing fee’ but by that time all I wanted to see was her on a lorrie. Then there’s the ‘packing’ that Narinder does to send her back to Canada. His packing is as good as AllCargo’s except they use fucking nails and hardwood. I have a bitch of a time freeing anything I send from India.

When the bikes, or whatever, arrive at the warehouse in Kamloops I have all fucking day to open the crates. It usually takes about an hour and a half per crate depending on size. I can’t imagine the frustration of the Canadian custom guys; they have to open the crate and confirm the chassis and engine numbers to that of the carnet. I am sure they are also searching for contraband. One year they pulled the water stopper from my center stand. They put it back but it wasn’t quite in all the way. I, of course, noticed it but didn’t hammer back in. The other day it fell out. Oh the memories. Last year they only pealed back a corner to make it ‘look’ as if they ‘did their job’. I assume by now they recognize her and know everything matches. But as far as contraband, they are not fools and NEVER should be treated as such. There may have been a dog that day. Who the fuck knows, maybe there is always a dog. The dog should be present at every carousal holding luggage coming from Vietnam. Vietnam is where a lot of horse comes from. The last time I arrived in Vancouver from India there was a dog. Ha ha ha I saw a few bags getting pulled off.

I wonder if I will be able to deal with the isolation that the hotel affords. I get antsy in Delhi after a month AND I have people to talk to. Here there will never be a gorha.

I should buy my ticket to Delhi as soon as possible to get the best rate. Another fucking decision.

My time spent with Speedy Cash seems like a dream. Also status quo is much more convenient than the company’s wellbeing. Rather I should write – our finial future. I didn’t speak to Sam. All his shit is pessimistic and full of holes.

Some may think I am an arm chair critic. And I don’t have to deal with the day to day bullshit that consumes every working hour of every working day of their lives. Currently there are 22 locations or is it 21, I can’t remember.

I am so far removed from everything now. But I know business. I know others see me as a meddling outsider who has no fucking clue. I am suspect that these individuals are so caught up in the day to day operations that may be they are forgetting the critical internals of the business. I am without a doubt viewed as a meddler. Maybe I am viewed as a meddler because the questions I ask they know they should know. In frustration one person actually told me to ask Carol on our cash position. This, to me, told me enough. I couldn’t let this individual go on the spot. I just about did. I knew that I am an outsider. What can I do. I went to my active partnter for advice. The 10 steps to his office I had cooled. This person is a really good friend as well as a co-worker. Knee jerk reactions are not cool. Regarding people management, this person is the best.

“Always know your cash position”. My Father always preached. I will never forget this.

“Always know your cash position”. This so relevant to any business whether its one or 300 locations.

I saw that we, the brothers, back when we had eight locations. We didn’t know to manage people, how to hire and how to REALLY expand. I remember mentioning as much and that we needed a CEO. I put this forward at one of our weekly board room meeting. Ego got the best and we didn’t.

Back to the day to day business. I write, not of persecution but my thoughts I that I have had held for quite some time. I don’t know why. This is my journal.

March 18, 2015

Today I am going to watch, “India’s Daughter”. It’s a documentary about the university student who was gang raped on a city bus in Delhi. Five were sentenced to death for the crime. Unfortunately one committed suicide in prison. I don’t think they are dead yet but I do know the appeals process in India is weak. Not china weak but still. I have been putting it off long enough. I hate watching this shit. I hate my adopted country being portrayed this way. Not to diminish the animalistic savagery of the crime. We have 1,300,000,000 people here. I look at the US who only has 300,000,000 and I know that their crime statistics, even with 1,000,000,000 less people is much more. HOWEVER, here crimes against women largely go unreported and when they do the whole country is mortified and put on trial in front of the publics ‘world court’. However, India’s recognition of their problem will only occur when the world’s people court becomes enraged. I can only hope that the poor woman’s family can strengthen themselves in knowing she made a difference. As someone who lives here I know the average Indian was and is mortified as to what happened to her.

I am quite sure of the date. I have written March 18 on the top of this post but I am suspect it may be the 20th. The geese are next door playing with the turkeys. The turkeys are none too keen of this.

Because I am not on the road I have nothing to write about other than my thoughts. This is where I get in trouble. I spoke quite frankly about business and cash flows the other day. I have yet to post it. I MAY need to ‘clean’ it up a bit. It’s one thing to speak my mind on certain topics but when it comes to business I need to bite my tongue. I am still benefitting but inputting nothing. This needs to change. How is it possible that I can suggest ANYTHING? But my assets are being utilized. If I was more a tuned to the day to day shit to have an opinion. I hate not having an opinion. I don’t even have to ‘work’ there; I just need to stop traveling for a while and simply show up to give my opinion once and a while. Not that it’s all bad. In fact I think it’s quite good. I just see a few things. This is all.

I also think that others my see me living the life of riley and thus who am I to say. I am suspect Jeff is now kicking himself to agreeing to give me a wage whilst I wait it out the inevitable. Deep down I don’t suspect this but there are times I do. Reality will hit home when they shave my head once again. This is inevitable.

I think about my determination when this happens. I do know that the mind plays a huge part on recovery. Plus I am such a wimp. I hate hospital so much. People die there or at least go to die there. I hate all the tubes that they plug into you. I hate seeing the people dying. Strangely enough, I have a lot more difficulty getting my MRI than I do getting the results. I don’t know why this is. I have thought about it quite often and for great lengths of time. I still don’t know why. The only reason I can come up with is that this procedure determines my future and to the extent I will have mobility on my right side. Getting the results is just a by-product of the MRI. I don’t know how many MRI’s I have had in Canada; I have been reduced to tears in at least half of them.

I read where the survival rate with my type of tumour is 30% after five years. However, I have also read where some live up to 20 years or more. I will be one of those.

I do need to remember to re-sign my will when I get back. I created a new one before I left to S.A. It will be seven years on November 11th, 2015.

Seven years. Wow. There are parts of in my memory that are so vivid and real. Some I have forgotten completely. I re-read my journal to remember the forgotten parts. The day by day accounts that are held within my writings become an adrenaline rush for me. I don’t know if anyone could understand this. They would have had to be there with me. Then, for, me, I am suspect I wouldn’t get the same rush re-reading my thoughts. A pen and paper where my only companion.

Fuck me, is it hot today. I am suspect that summer is here. I have been thinking of this too. We occupy the same date as Canada albeit we, here in India, are 12 hours ahead. Canada IS in spring and so are we. Not a cloud in the sky today.

I was going to sit by the pool today. However after tiding up my room [getting it cleaned today] I wasn’t out and about until 11:30 AM. It was already too hot for this Canadian white boy.


Danny is lonely, 'cause Mary's in India now.

She said she'd call but that was three weeks ago.

She left all her things, well, her books and her letters from him.

But as the sun rises on Mary, it sets on him.

And just dance, and just drink,

And just say the things I'll probably never get a chance to say.

Danny is not eating, he's drinking and sleeping in.

I saw him last night at the party, he's definitely thin.

He says he's happy, he looked pretty good but I think,

That as the sun rises on Mary, it sets on him.

And just dance and just drink,

And just say the things I'll probably never get a chance to say.

Danny came over last night and I cooked for him.

He talked about you, Mary, and how much we loved you still.

He told me he's packed up you books and letters and things.

As the sun sets on Mary, its rising on him.

And we danced, and we drank.

And I've seen something you probably never got a chance to see.

Don't worry Mary, 'cause I'm taking care of Danny,

And he's taking care of me.

This is a song that I listen to quite often. Even if it is Dido.

It’s Martini Time – The Reverend Horton Heat

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