Well, we sold the bikes. We knew they wouldn’t be with us long, since we were heading into the hills, but we couldn’t hack the second day of riding. We left early from Ghazipur and headed due north. With no good alternative other than the main road, the going was busy and hot. With bums and hands sore from the prior day, we struggled to find a rhythm.
The plan was to ride to Mau, where we would then hop a train to Gorakhpur, the main transit hub of the north. Getting into Mau a bit after midday, we found the same busy, hot town that seems to be photo-copied throughout Uttar Pradesh. Two teenagers on a motorcycle rolled up to us and asked the standard questions we get from most folks. What’s our country? Where are we going? They offered to escort us to the train station, courteous young gentleman that they were. They got us tickets and answered some logistical questions about the train, but one thing remained unknown – whether the bikes could come with us. We were stuck with possibly missing the train trying to get the bikes on or simply ditching the bikes on the platform. So, with three hours to kill, we called it, and asked the boys to take us to a shop to sell Neel and Herc. Our new friends, Vihan and Vicky, did the talking. At the first place, the heavily bearded and beturbaned shop owner started yelling and waving at us. We moved on. The next owner was interested, so after some intense negotiations in a manly crowd, we parted ways, having recouped most of our rupes. The bikes were gone, but Vihan and Vicky weren’t done with us yet. The four of us went to the swankiest joint in town – a proper bricks and mortar restaurant complete with menus. We should have seen it coming, but after ordering, the selfie session hit – and it hit hard. After all, they were a couple of 16 year olds.
With the train arriving shortly, we autorickied back to the station. Parting was a bit sad, but thankfully Facebook exists to immortalize even the most fleeting of friendships.
The train got us into Gorakhpur after dark. A bustling, crazy hub of activity – the primary trade and travel city in the region.
We didn’t want a repeat of Ghazipur, so looked at the very first and most traveler friendly joint we could find. It was the worst! But it was damn cheap and it was four tiring flights up. Next stop: the death place of Buddha.