A Travellerspoint blog

Goa - recovering, then partying, then recovering again!

Ahh, the beach!

sunny 32 °C
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Arambol is a small tourist town in Goa right on the beach, that comprises of a small main street lined with touristy shops and many restaurants and guesthouses with huts along the beach front. For the first few days we hobbled around and didn't get very far, however we were able to enjoy delicious seafood and gorgeous views, plus we were surrounded by friends that we had met along our journey and Bodhi of course! Sunderi had the time of her life, running free along the sand and making friends with the other dogs, in particular a boy dog whom Sarah named Raj. After a few days, when we felt recovered enough, we were able to enjoy the sea water, which was fabulous for our wounds (much to some other peoples dismay, grrr). Joss and Erez went to pick the bike up to bring it to Arambol and then we had the bike fixed up, which didn't cost as much as we were expecting, luckily. ASAP we put it up for sale, as we had decided, not solely because of the accident, that this would be the end of our motorcycle diaries. We wanted to be able to travel around with Bodhi on buses and trains - much more relaxing than travelling on a motorbike with so much less responsibility.
One of the days in Arambol, we walked around a path to the next beach, along the path were many guesthouses and restaurants. On our way back we stopped at Om Ganesh restaurant for lunch and Sunderi was throwing up all over the floor because she had eaten rotten fish on the beach - ooops! Suprisingly, when I asked if they knew anyone who would like a puppy dog, the chef came out and said he would take her. I made sure he was kosher and serious and then the next day we took her to the vet so that she could get her vaccinations. It was very sad leaving her, but the man and his wife are Nepalese and love dogs, plus he is a chef so she will get fed great food all the time. We were able to see her a few more times after this though, as we were in Arambol for another couple of weeks and it was really nice to see her growing and being looked after so well.
During our stay in Goa, Bodhi hired a scooter and we took Shanti for cruises along the beaches - literally on the sand! One day we made a journey to Anjuna markets, which are famous in Goa for being so expansive and full of people. Many foreigners also set up stalls here selling clothes and what-not for ridiculous prices! We had moved guesthouses into a place where we had a nice room and Bodhi had a bamboo hut looking right out to the beach. Staying here also were some Israeli friends we had met in Pushkar and Dharamkot, and because most of the organised parties finished at 10pm, we decided to have our own! A bottle of gin here costs $4 and a bottle of local coconut fenny costs $1.50 for 40% alcohol, and Kingfisher long necks were also $1.50! Yeah so we made our own cocktails in coconut shells, with pineapple garnishes and had a good time! Good fun on the beach at 4 in the morning!
We swam every day as soon as we woke up, ate the best seafood, reclined in hammocks, read books and basically RELAXED! But Arambol is a kind of trap - it's so good you never want to leave!
Finally we sold the bike with a little bit of difficulty as there were about 8 other Enfields for sale and not enough customers. We didn't get as much as we were hoping for, but we were happy it was sold and we didn't have to think about it anymore. Plus it was holding us back from going anywhere else. In the end Bodhi left on a bus to Hampi a couple of days before us, and once we had sold the bike we caught a train (cos the bus sucks - by train is much smoother). Arambol was an awesome little oasis, a totally different India again. When we left, we farewelled Erez because we wouldn't see him again, we had spent a month and a half together and he had become a great friend.
The train ride to Hampi was one of our best; it was our first journey off the bike in 2 months - a little strange but very relaxing. It was the most beautiful scenery meandering through the mountains with waterfalls rushing past, through long tunnels and beside chilli plantations. We arrived in Hampi in the afternoon and had to take a small boat across the to other side of the river, to the backpacker part of town where Bodhi and the same Israeli friends were staying (including Nina). Hampi is a boulder town, it kinda looks like a moonscape, with massive boulders creating mountains. We spent a week in Hampi, mainly because we all got gastro - more than once! The electricity there goes off at certain times of the day/night, so there was no knowing the condition of food. It was a big Isreali hangout and we were beginning to tire of the atmosphere. We hired some small scooters for a day and went up to Hanuman Temple, which is inhabited by monkeys. We only had to get the banana out of the bag and they saw yellow and ran over! We also visited a large lake/reservoir which apparently you can swim in, but the sign saying there a crocodiles put us off! One lunch we crossed to the other side again and went to the Mango Tree restaurant which funnily enough had an enormous mango tree in the middle from which was hung a big rope swing. They served thali on banana leaves and we had great mango lassi's - probably some of the best food we ate in Hampi, they must have had electricity 24hrs! And thats about all there is in Hampi to do, it's a very quiet town mainly populated by Isreali's at guesthouses smoking chillums all day and watching movies at night - so we were glad to move on. It took some organising to confirm a date we can see our sponsor child Dinesh, and once this was set we knew we had time to explore Kerela, which is something we had really looked forward to doing. We jumped on the earliest available bus and headed further south.

Posted by Sarah-Joss 22:13 Archived in India Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

Bodhi in Mumbai - Goin to Goa

Another Aussie on board, and the demise of Shanti the motorbike :(

sunny 30 °C
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We had planned to meet Bodhi at the airport, but started to get confused at what day it was, haha. Our phone actually had the wrong date, but we were sure we were there on the right day. When we arrived at the airport, we couldnt see any flights coming in from Singapore and there was no sign of Bodhi for a long time! To add to this Sarah was feeling really off and wanted to throw up, and Joss had the runs! MMMmmmm, So yeah, we were a great welcoming committee for Bodhi! "Look what you have got to look forward to!" We eventually realised we were at the wrong terminal and ran to the right one, just in time to see Bodhi's smiling face walk through the gate (see photo, its a winner!) Bodhi's dad's friend Ankush is a taxi driver in Mumbai, so he picked us up and drove us back to the hotel, where we arranged to be picked up the next day for a tour of Mumbai. Joss got to show off his bike to Bodhi and we had a welcoming party in our room, with an Italian and Carribean guy and Sunderi of course! The next morning we met Ankush and he took us around Mumbai to see Ghandis home (3rd time for Joss), Chowpatty beach, the Gateway, the washing ghats.... it was such a tiring day but we all enjoyed being together. We spent two days in Mumbai, making regular trips to the Oval Maiden so that we could wear Sunderi out by running around in circles! She found great pleasure in rolling around in the mud so that it made it very difficult for us to carry her home in a taxi! We parted ways with Bodhi temporarily as we were riding the bike down to Goa and he had to take the train. We left Mumbai around 6am and experienced such and interesting ride out of the city. It was Diwali, which is basically like Christmas for Hindus, so many children were lighting firecrackers on the road (one we ran over!), so it was a bit crazy! We also saw the slums waking up; people making their morning ablutions on the road outside their plastic shelters, mothers making chappatis on rubbish fires and whole families lying together on the side of the street. Once we were out of Mumbai, we stopped at McDonalds with the rich people (!) and kind-of enjoyed a non-breakfast menu. As we left we gave some money to some beggar children standing out the front, it was Diwali after all!
We kept on driving and had one of the best days, mechanically, but also enjoyed the beautiful scenery as we made our way closer to Goa. The dress of the women started to change into sack dresses or shorter lunghis and coconut trees became the norm. By lunch time we had made good progress and had heard of people doint the trip from Mumbai to Goa in one day, so we thought we would give it a go. We kept driving and it got dark and both of us were quite tired, but stupidly we kept going..... we though its only 100 kms away - but in India that really is a long way! We had just stopped for dinner and were driving along at about 50kms/hr when ALL OF A SUDDEN 6 or 7 dogs came careening out into the road chasing a cat; the cat was too quick, and the dogs too stupid - one of them froze right in the middle of the road and there was nothing Joss could do. It all happenned so fast; we hit the dog, the handlebars twisted, the bike tipped and slid along the road and we kind of rolled off, over each other and onto the tarmac. We were very lucky because having the luggage on the side of the bike meant the bike could only tip so far and not squash our legs, although Sarah's ankle did get twisted under the luggage. Joss came bouncing up straight away to see if Sarah was okay and Sarah knew she was okay but thought her leg was broken. Amazingly Sunderi was unharmed, her little basket was fully intact on the back of the bike - by far the safest seat! A group of Indian men saw the accident happen and called a doctor whilst Joss got the bike off the road. They tried moving Sarah off the road but she screamed at them to leave her alone and not touch her (thinking of First Aid training!), as Joss redirected trucks to the other side of the road so she didnt get run over! We rang Erez and Nina our friends in Arambol, Goa already; they had arranged a room for us expecting us to get there that night, as we had spoken to them earlier on in the day. Erez organised a jeep to come and pick us up and take us to hospital. By this time the doctor had arrived and to our luck, his clinic was just on the other side of the road - and his friend the pharmacist opened up his store on the opposite side! Sarah was helped across into the clinic and the doctor started cleaning and dressing her wounds. He didn't think her leg was broken, which was good to hear. Meanwhile, Joss was getting the luggage and everything off the bike and locking it up so that we could come get it at a later date. When he came over to the clinic we realised he needed patching up too as his arm and hip was bleeding. His wrist also felt sprained from going over the handlebars. So Erez and Nina arrived in the Jeep about an hour later (Arambol was 70kms away) and they loaded our gear and Sunderi into the Jeep and we left for the hospital. Once we were on the road, it became apparent how stupid we had been to think we could ride through all this in the dark. We were also lucky, as the doctor told us, if we had crashed 5kms down the road the people would have stolen all our stuff and not helped, and if Police arived they would just have wanted money. We got to the hospital around 4am and Sarah was able to have an x-ray straight away. The hospital was clean enough but kinda like something from an 80's/90's movie, everything was very outdated compared to Western standards. But the x-ray worked and revealed no fractures - thankfully! We bought lots of dressings and antibiotics for infection (grrr) and were driven to Arambol, where we found our hotel room at around 6.30 am. Wow, what a 24hours! We actually couldnt sleep and spent the next few hours remembering parts of the accident and talking about how lucky we were. Very lucky! We had managed to travel 480kms in that day, which was our longest day of travelling yet, before we crashed (and killed a dog, the one under the wheel not Sunderi!). But sweet recovery was on its way and what better place to recover than in Sunny, beach town Arambol.

Posted by Sarah-Joss 01:19 Archived in India Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Heading perpetually South

From Delhi to Mumbai - keep rollin' rollin' rollin'

sunny 30 °C
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Okay, so for some reason we cant add any more new blogs, so I'll have to put this one under the Himalaya heading.
So we left you last as we were just about to enter Delhi. Well about 50km out of Delhi the roads became congested, and even though there are 4 lanes, this meant nothing! Still in the big cities you have to share the road with horse-drawn carts and truckloads of dirt and wood. It was a really hot day and we started to get a little frustrated so stopped for icecream before tackling the inner roads to try and find Paharganj. Paharganj is the major backpackers hangout, really near the city centre, and is a maze of small back lanes and overhanging guesthouses. The main thing on the agenda here in Delhi (besides seeing the nations capital) was to get the motorbikes running smoothly again (if this is ever possible!) We found a guesthouse that would accept a small puppy and the boys spent most of the days at the mechanics in Karol Barg, whilst the girls perused the many market stalls and Sarah took Sunderi to the park. She really didnt enjoy being cooped up in a big city, so we had to take her out everyday. Delhi was so full of smog and pollution, when we had lunch or dinner at a rooftop cafe you couldn't even see 300 metres away! The middle of Delhi is called Connought Place and is a series of circular roads surrounding a big park - and this part of Delhi is spotless. Actually most of the Delhi we saw was pretty clean - they even had bins on the side of the road. One night we went to see a dance-theatre performance "The Pink Balloon" at a local theatre, and here we met the 'artistic' and 'well-off' Delhi-ites! There were women in jeans and shorter skirts, smoking cigarettes with their girlfriends, and couples even holding hands. The performance itself was....interesting. It had clever moments but on the whole it would have worked a lot better if the main dancers could dance! Another night, Erez, Nina and the two of us went out for a night on the town and found a bar that served very expensive drinks. Well compared to Adelaide prices they aren't that expensive, but on our budgets here they are! So we all had one drink, put up with the nostalgic 90's music for a little while and then decided it would be more fun to ride around on our motorbikes and see a bit of Delhi. Before leaving Delhi, we bought new motorcycle helmets (which came in really handy as you will see later) and a red basket for Sunderi to ride in on the back of the bike. She was getting too big to sit on my lap and it was much safer. Nina decided to take a bus to Pushkar, so it was just Erez and us who left for Agra. It was a shaky start as our clutch plates slipped up cos the mechanics forgot to put some piece in (duh) but apart from that the road to Agra was pristine highway all the way. At around 10pm Erez got a flat tyre, but again, there was a puncture repair place just down the road. It helped having two bikes riding together because we were able to ride back to him and tell him where the repair place was. We had also aimed to find the drive-thru McDonalds that Erez remembered was on this road, and we did, except it was about 12am and they were closed for cleaning. They did give us some water and some coke though and Sunderi was able to run around on their plush grass! At around 3am we rode into Agra and took the next hour to find a decently priced guesthouse at that time of morning! We slept until about midday and then set off to see the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. The fort was first and was a massive red stone structure, surrounded by Indian tourists and vendors selling marble Taj Mahal statues and picture postcards. We didn’t hang around for long, but were entertained by (or were we entertaining them?) a group of street children begging for money and ‘school pens’. We decided to skip the touristy front side of the Taj (and the 750rps entrance price) to take the more shanti option of the other side. A short ride over a bridge, along the river and down a path took us to a spectacular view of the backside of the Taj, which is a mirror image of the front as it was built symmetrically. There were no vendors hassling us here, only a few curious kids and the view was astounding! When we first saw it we were really amazed – all the hairs on Joss’ arms stood up! Its strange seeing something so famous in real life, and really, the photos that are displayed around the world must have been ‘photoshopped’ as the sky is never that blue in Agra – it’s more polluted than Delhi! We relaxed on the riverbank for a while and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the Taj. The next morning we left early, intending to reach Jaipur. The road again was multi-lane highway and we ended up reaching Jaipur by lunchtime. We really had no intention of staying there as we really wanted to get to Pushkar, so we rode on. Luckily the bikes were running quite smoothly and enabled us to reach Pushkar by dinner. We arrived at Hotel Lotus and they were expecting us so had saved the same room we stayed in last time – awww that was nice! Nina was also waiting for us and we were able to really relax and enjoy some shanty time here for a few days, as we had been travelling pretty hard since Delhi. Sunderi loved being here as she was able to run around freely all the time, playing with another dog Lolita who seriously acted like her mum! I was going to ask if they would take Sunderi, but they expressed their frustration with the dogs already there, so I changed my mind. We pretty much just relaxed in Pushkar; played a little chess, read books – um yeah, can’t really remember what we did, but it wasn’t much! We stayed a few days and then left to get to Mumbai in time for Bodhi to arrive – yay! It took one day of riding for us to reach Udaipur, where we stayed a night and then left early again hoping to reach Surat. That day we passed Surat at around lunchtime, so continued on, but were caught in a monsoon downpour so stopped at a roadside guest house. The guest house had cute, round rooms, where we stayed that night and dried off. The next day was our last day riding with Erez and Nina as they were bypassing Mumbai and heading straight to Goa. We had a few bike troubles and had to stop in the middle of the day in scorching heat to try some bush-mechanics! I had the biggest craving for ice-cream and as we were stopped down a little side road off the highway, a guy came riding along with icecreams in an esky on the back of his bike! Hehe, gotta love India! We bid farewell over lunch at a roadside dhaba, but we had Erez’s phone number so we could meet up again later. Riding into Mumbai was pretty similar to Delhi - lots of traffic about 50kms out. Joss pulled off the highway in Santa Cruz so that he could show me the Grand Hyatt Mumbai, where he had stayed on his trip to India in 2004 with work. We were so dirty and felt so out of place walking into the hotel, but surprisingly they let us in! Must be cos we are foreigners, although ones without a huge bank balance! We both used the toilets and they were absolutely divine - such a contrast to the one at the dhaba earlier that day, fly infested and a stinky hole in the ground! They were so clean and 'western' and I relished using the heated, white, fluffy hand towel! We found our way to Colaba and into a hotel by around 6pm. The cheapest room we could find was 700 rps, but it was a triple room, so we could share it with Bodhi when he came.
Next blog - the arrival of Bodhi and further South to Goa!

Posted by Sarah-Joss 05:09 Archived in India Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

Its getting cold in here.....

snow 9 °C
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SO! We are here and we are alive! We have had a few near misses and hair-raising experiences, but we are healthy and loving it still!
Last time we wrote we had only just bought Shanti (the motorcycle) so we have a lot to catch you guys up on!
Our first day on the bike was very memorable, we got a puncture! We were going about 65km/hr when there was a strange noise and the bike started fishtailing over the road. Joss (in his brilliance) was able to keep control and he brought the bike to a stop on the side of the road, narrowly avoiding a tree! Ironically there was a puncture repair place 100m down the road so we were saved as we didn't have a spare or the tools to fix it. We finally made it to Bikaner as it got dark and were very relieved to have a cold shower as the day was very hot, long and exhausting. The second day there we went to the Rat Temple, which is literally crawling with Holy rats. You have to take your shoes off and therefore you step through rat shit for the remainder of your time there! Mmmmm yummy! But we saw the lucky white rat so it was worth it!
After Bikaner we rode to Bathinda which is in the state of Punjab. It was so amazing to cross the Punjab border after being in Rajasthan for so long - it immediately became green and full of life. It was so nice to ride in the shade of trees for a change and not have sand blowing in our faces as much.We were shown a hotel in Bathinda by some Indian men we had met at a chai stop and then had dinner and drinks with them but it started turning a bit weird when one anounced he was the mayor, and then they tried to get us drunk and crack on to me... yeah we felt really uncomfortable. We had 2 hours sleep and then packed our things and left at 4am in the morning!
We fought our way into Amritsar that afternoon, there was so much traffic, especially around the Golden Temple which was where we stayed. The hotel was really crappy and dark, but we were so tired we had some lunch and then fell asleep for the rest of the day. The next day we rode 30km away to Attari and enjoyed the spectacle of the Border Ceremony between India and Pakistan - it was hilarious! There is a huge stadium built at the border, with both countries represented on each side; the Indian side was absolutely packed with thousands of colourfuly dressed people and the Pakistani side was pretty quiet with only men dressed very blandly - a huge difference. Each side was revved up by an MC and then the soldiers came out and had a yelling/singing-for-the-longest-time competition! Then they marched down the road with oversized steps till they reached the border where they stared and scowled at each other till the flags were lowered and everyone marched back and it was over. The most hilarious thing though was the crowd; they were yelling and doing mexican (or Indian) waves and punching the air.... hehe I bought a little Indian flag and tried to join in every now and again! That same night we returned to Amritsar and visited the Golden Temple. We had to cover our heads to be able to enter the temple grounds and leave our shoes at a shoe locker then walk through a shallow pool of Holy water to wash our feet before entering. The temple was amazing and sits in the middle of a large lake, it is completely covered in gold and we saw it at night so it was lit up beautifully. The surrounding temple buildings are all marble and you have to walk around in a clockwise direction. On one side is the commmunity dining hall where they provide free food for around 30000 pilgrims and travellers each day. We joined the throngs and sat 'Oliver' style in long lines to receive our food. After eating we were given the grand tour of the kitchens by a friendly Sikh volunteer; the pots were big enough to cook a full-body human stew! Joss even gave a helping hand and dished out Dhal to the pilgrims which he enjoyed as a way of giving and helping instead of giving money to beggars.
We left Amritsar the next day and had to take the biggest detour on our way to McLeod Ganj as a bridge had collapsed on the highway. The road was basically just dust and it was hard work dodging rocks and holes and other vehicles all fighting for the same narrow road. The road had started to become more hilly and we could see mountains in the distance; a very different sight. And then there was water! - big rivers flowing through the valleys and winding around the hills. Shortly after the detour we came across a beautiful waterfall near a chai stop and Joss was feeling so dirty and hot that he couldn't resist jumping in! A few people thought it was a bit funny, but it was one of the best things that had happened so far, being submerged in cool water and washing off so much dust. The road up to McLeod Ganj was so steep, Shanti stalled a few times and it was hard going with the packs on, but the view was astounding, it felt like we were in a different country! Sarah saw snow for the first time on the tops of the Himalayas in the distance! Riding into McLeod was like entering Little Tibet, such a change in the people faces and dress. On our first day in McLeod we decided to go see the Dalai Lama's house and monastery, and whilst we were there we chanced upon seeing him return home from Austria. He waved and smiled form the car and the Tibetans bowed as he passed. We also signed up to go see him give a talk, but didnt hang around too long as you couldnt actually see him, he was on a tv screen, and we couldnt understand what he was saying as he was speaking in Tibetan, the translation in Korean over the load speakers, and we had a FM radio with the english translation but reception was bad. We stayed in McLeod for the first couple of nights but then found a more quieter place up the hill in Dharamkot. In Dharamkot our hotel had a terrace that looked right out into the valley. Next door to us we met an Aussie girl Clare (from Norwood would you believe!), Lex from London and Sean from South Africa. This was a relief as Dharamkot is full of Israeli's. Not that we have a problem with them, the ones we have met are really nice, it's just that they are not very social as they all speak Hebrew and forget you don't understand a word they are saying! We took Shanti to the meachanics as the little 'cats nipple' thing that fits on the accelerator cable had come off, only a 10rupee job to fix, but it ended up costing 3000 rupee as many other things needed replacing. We also needed to get a new piston and block so Joss had to ride around doing 40km/hr for 500km's to run the bike in! It was once again nice to meet a group of like-minded people and we spent many enjoyable days together, not doing much really, just relaxing! On one day though, Sean took us to some hot springs 30km away from McLeod. We did a day trip on the bikes as Joss had run Shanti in, and Sean rode our bike and said it felt really good. (Sean and Lex both travel on Enfields) We had such a lovely day walking through villages to the hot springs, they ended being too hot and we could only stay in for like 5 minutes. More appealing was the river, that we ate lunch by and floated down in the rapids. On the way back to the bikes we saw some Indian men catching fish in the river and jumping off a large boulder into the water. We jumped in quick as anything, and had some fun! This spot was much deeper (Sean tested it - he's pretty tall!) so was better to actually swim in.
We met a couple of crazy Israeli guys in Dharamkot who had heard about a paragliding course in Bir that you could supposedly enrol in. It was pretty cheap, like only 1500 rps and lasted for a week but that was about all he knew. so we decided it was on our way so we would stop and check it out. Once in Bir we tried to find out more information but it was very limited. We spoke with some professional pilots from Europe and they said that they wouldn't trust learning from an Indian and their equiptment is dodgy. One man who worked with the Tourism department rang an instructor but he was in Delhi and would be a couple of days away. So considering all this (and the fact a tourist died recently from not being strapped in properly by his instructor on a tandem flight) - we decided to move on.
Riding through the Kullu valley on the way to Kesol was one of the most beautiful rides. The road followed a river all the way and at times there were huge cliffs on one side and sheer drops on the other. We nearly didn't make it! It had gotten dark and we were still 30kms away from Kesol but we decided to keep going, there was nowhere to stop. Our headlight slowly got dimmer and eventually the bike stopped, the battery was dead! We were on a hill with a drop on one side into the river and it was pitch black. Joss tried turning the bike around and roll-starting her but as the road was so narrow it was difficult to manage the weight and scary. We got to the bottom of the hill and discovered we could start her but then as soon as we turned on the light she would die. Sarah was flashing a tiny flashlight around so that oncoming cars and trucks could see us (and slightly freaking out!) We eventually found our small maglight and decided to sticky-tape it to the front of the bike and ride like this to Kesol as we didn't have many other options! Thankfully we got there alive! Joss drove really slow and we just got off the road everytime another vehicle came along. And we thought trucks were scary usually! Anyway, we got to Kesol and found a guesthouse with its own private hot spring! It was open air so we could enjoy this crisp nights and starlit sky. One day as we were walking to the mechanic (yes, we stop at a mechanic every town we are in!) we saw a tiny puppy just about to get run over by a bus. Joss quickly stepped into action and rescued her from a grim death. Safely on the side of the road we took her in our arms and fell in love - with an Indian dog. We thought, "Hmmm, I wonder if we could keep her...?" and just like the thought that led to buying a motorcycle, we pursued it! We named her Sunderi as she is ver beautiful! (in Hindi) We bought some powdered milk and oats to feed her and a little bowl for water and food and a shoulder bag to keep her in! She fell asleep immediately in the bag, curled up at the bottom, awww! We gave her a bath as she needed a wash and when we fed her she gulped it down so fast! Our first day on the bike she slept on Sarah's lap and this is how she travelled for the first few weeks.
We headed to Naggar to meet Duda and Drika who we had become friends with in Pushkar. We stayed at a family home kinda guesthouse, which was really lovely as the kids adored Sunderi and she was becoming more comfortable with us. From Naggar we rode to Manali which is a very Indian-touristy hot spot. We decided to stay a couple km's out in Vashist, on the other side of the river. In Vashist we had amazing views of the mountains , it was cold and overcast most of the time we were there. We would see clouds covering the mountains and then when they cleared they left behind the whitest sheet of snow. The next day we conquered Rohtang Pass on Shanti, it is 13 050 feet above sea level and was quite a difficult ride up there. It was really cold so we rugged up as much as possible and Sarah even hired some gumboots to go over her two pairs of toe-socks! On the way it started snowing and Sarah couldn't quite believe it, Joss had to point out what it was! The further up we climbed, the more snow we saw, we even passed big icicles hanging from rock ledges alongside the road. When we got there we had a mandatory cup of chai to de-thaw and then enjoyed playing in the snow. (see photos for picture detail!) Such an amazing day, a "Happy Day' as we would say! Once realising how much time we had before we had to be in Mumbai to meet Bodhi (our friend from Adelaide coming over for 2 months!) we started heading South.
On our way from Manali to Mandi the carborator was playing up and we had to stop on the side of the road. An Indian man on a 150cc scooter stopped also as he had run out of petrol. We offered some of ours and after the boys had siphoned some out he offered to tow us to the nearest mechanic 20kms away.....tow us?! SO, this man on his little scooter towed all four of us (bike and dog included) and 30kilos of luggage! It was hair-raising - even more scary than the flat battery experience! It was dark and once again sheer drops to imminent death! Every now and then the rope would go slack and then pull the bike in one direction, we nearly lost control a few times! Oh and the standard Indian traffic (mayhem) coming at you from both direction! But we survived, and Sunderi was asleep the whole time the little Angel! The cost of repairs was ironically 20 rps and this got us to Mandi.
After we left Mandi we saw an Enfield parked at a restaurant on the highway that was obviously packed up for foreigners. We decided to stop and say hello and met Erez and Nina from Israel. They were going the same direction as us so we teamed up and rode together towards Chandigargh. The first night we stopped at a hotel beside the highway with magnificent views from our balcony and got to know our new travelling companions. They had met each other in Kesol and were also planning to go to Delhi and then down South some way. The next two days were spent on the road together and it was really nice to be travelling in a bigger group; with two bikes for spare parts, and double the knowledge and experience. Upon approaching Delhi it became very exciting; the National capital of India.
To be continued in the next blog....

Still missing and loving you all,
Lots of Love,
Sarah and Josiah xoxo

Posted by Sarah-Joss 10:28 Archived in India Tagged motorcycle Comments (1)

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