Neelam and Hercules Part 2

After blastoff, we reached a dead end and asked a couple of teens(one of our best sources of info as it turns out) which way over the tracks out of town.  They pointed in the direction of “Mughal side” of the river and off we went. While on the bridge we spotted an elephant with a Mughal dude on top, acting all like the empire was still at peak.  Then onward to a bunch of industrial strangeness and deisel fumes, haze, and trash. We could barely see the road through the fumes. Not the best moment.

Outside of the tourist towns there are no tourists.  Zilch.  None.  So when we parked for breakfast and tea in a fly-ridden road stop we were wildly galked at.  Just when things started looking really dire, we escaped the city ills and got into the countryside filled with green and mustard fields as far as the eye could see!  A kindly gent sidled up to us on a motorbike and gave us an informal lead through the back roads. 

The bikes didn’t feel great, but it was still early to judge too hard.  The front end felt like it would detach from the back and the saddles felt like bumpy concrete beneath us.  The one thing they did have was momentum. 

The ride improved dramatically as we went through narrow roads, passing through tiny villages where we were met with innumerable dumbfounded stares.  Kids on bikes would see us, practice their limited English and play leap frog for kilometers.  Every passing moto would brake a little and both driver and passenger would look back.  We stopped to take photos – the longer we stayed the more people would gather.  Eventually about 30 people stopped, and we noticed the ringleader take special interest.

It takes a village...

He introduced himself and asked about our travels.  He said his brother was a reporter and hoped we would have several minutes to do an interview!  We happily obliged and went to the “office” of the reporter – a spartan room filled with stacks of newspapers and a bed in the middle. 

The hard hitting interview

We interviewed over tea and cookies.  After a few action shots, we went on our way, having declined an offer to stay overnight in the village. 

The route we were on avoided the highway, but dead-ended at the Ganges.  However, Abbey was positive that there would be a boat man to take us across – her confidence in this can-do society feeling strong.  Success!  We rolled down a sandy dune of a river bank past another cremation sight.  Granted, it was grey and hazy day, but the scene before us has the uncanny feeling of a crossing of the River Styx.

Our transport awaits

There was actually a crow cawing at the top of the bow.  Nevertheless, the journey was remarkably smooth and free from drowning. 

Neelam and Hercules all loaded

The home stretch!  The town we were shooting for was Gazhipur, the only close town big enough to have hotels, we were told.  We rolled into the chaos(which is every big Indian town) and looked for the hotel we had found on the map.  Full.  So we went to the next one.  Full.  And the next. Full.  After all 8 hotels had turned us away, we were beyond tired, sore, and dejected – and it was dark and rainy.  Next stop: police station.  We were desparate.  After a lengthy intake process involving passport inspection and copies(per usual), our friendly police chief started making phone calls as we sat there nervously drinking our chai.  After a half hour or so, we were told we would have a room waiting for us at the very first hotel we tried.  The best we could gather, towns outside the tourist realm are very wary of foreigners and our of fear will keep their distance.  We were then escorted by two armed officers to the hotel, where we went through another lengthy intake process and finally retired to our dumpy room, when we finally breathed a sigh of relief.  The fun didn’t end there, though.  The first bout of “Delhi belly” was in full swing…

One of the suspect meals

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Daddio says:

    Dehli belly-cool saying. Hopefully you can get some kind of freeze-dried food that you can digest.


  2. Lacey says:

    Love the stories!


  3. Melissa says:

    Hey guys,
    The blog is great. We are enjoying reading it on our small island of terra de bas. My in laws love it and are inspired to head back to Asia. How is the weather?
    I just think how Abbey has grown in her travels. Starting with our first trip to England to biking in unwelcoming land without lonely Planet to help guide the way. My nerves couldn’t handle all of your unknowns. My thoughts are with you two. Stay safe and appreciate every moment because (Alex reminded me prior to leaving to Guadalupe) it is a part of the adventure. Thinking of this made me more patient when traveling alone with the boys and brought comfort. Maybe my late realization has always been your driving force. Abbey probably learned this early on when her brothers were in back of the car biting crayons and when her suit case flew off the top of the car on the first Isolda trip cross country to California. Those stories are priceless. I never heard the story about getting to California and how perfect it was.
    Love you guys xx


  4. davebeals says:

    So great reading about your adventures… SO brave!


  5. Pollo says:

    Ran across this advertisement:

    Will it be on your route?
    You’re packing a lifetime of adventure in one dose!


  6. Daddio says:

    Oh yeah, the suitcase blowing off the car-we stopped and looked for it and never found it. It was her underwear case. The chicken soup is another memoriable story.


    1. Brad says:

      I believe I lost my suitcase more than once. And the chicken soup wasn’t my fault!


  7. Daddio says:

    Well it took the paint off our new car(at the time)when you dumped the chicken soup out the window!


  8. Irena McClain says:

    Traveling vicariously through your blog-great writing!


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