As I rode I had lots of thoughts about my ride in India. Thought I would post them as I have finished my time in India, and it was really great!!
People have been amazing. As I have only traveled a small part of northern India, but the diversity of the people has been amazing. With 1.2 Billion people in India, it seems like there is almost always people out and about no matter what time it is, until you get into the Himalayas and then the spaces seem so vast and empty (which I truly loved!!)
Religions. There are Hindus, Bhuddist, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, jewish people, and they seem to be able to coexist well at the time. Know that has not always been the history, but that is how I saw it.
Himalayas: The reason I have always wanted to come to India was to see the Himalayas Mountains. For me the ride from Manali to Leh was Stunning to say the least!! And fit my expectations perfectly. It was worth it for sure. Wish I would have had a bit more time, and been able to also ride the Spiti Valley but it was still closed due to snow slides.
Money: the Rupees was 54 to 1 USD, so you are always doing math to figure out what the cost is in Dollars. Finding ATM machines was not really an issue, in the bigger towns.
Bike: I loved riding the Royal Enfield despite the mechanical issues. If I were to do it again, I probably would have just bought a new one, then sold it. With the rental you needed to put down a deposit, which for me was $750 USD. I had not really planned ahead with my money (normally I have been using the ATM to get money as needed), otherwise I would have brought USD, Used them for the deposit, then gotten them back when I returned so I would not have to take out lots of cash at an ATM (and pay fees) or then exchange Rupees back to Dollars (and paid fees) ☹
Dirt, trash and Air quality
Trash is one of the issues that strike you as you travel around India. People just toss things out of Cars, trucks, and buses, or while walking down the street. There is trash everywhere, and you see it burning along side of the road as well. It is a cultural thing. It was hard to see especially in the pristine areas up in the mountains and out goes the trash. Saw a few signs about the environment and trash bins that say “use me”, but it appear early in the campaign to stop littering. Remindd me of the campaigns back in the 1970’s in the US with the Native American and a tear coming down his face, encouraging us to stop littering. With all the people and traffic comes dirt pollution. At the end of a riding day my face was covered in black…. Can only imagine what my lungs have taken in…
Relations with Men and Women
Was interesting learning about the “arranged” marriages and Love Marriages here in India. The men and women do not show public affection. But it was interesting speaking with Western woman who would be harassed by Indian men, because they somehow think they are available or loose. Had one British woman tell me she got tired of it and started really telling them off. Some of the young women travelers do not help the issue as they dress like they would at home and it is way more revealing than Indian women.
Topics of conversations with people that I met alone the road. Was amazed at how many people asked us about WWE Wresting stars. They are huge fans here. Of course Cricket and football are really big here as well.
Driving: Love it. As crazy as it all seems with trucks, auto rickshaws, carts, camels, elephants, cars and motorcycles, I loved riding here. There is a bit of a flow as long as you use your horn, and pay attention. The only thing that is a bit scary is the people entering the road from the side. They do not stop nor really look. Crazy as they just enter and traffic flows around them with a horn blast.
Time of year: HEAT in the plains was too much for me. 45-47C in Amritsar and similar in Delhi. If I was traveling to see other parts of India it was the wrong time. I planned the timing to be in the Himalayas. October/November would b more ridable for the plains!!
Riding with someone else. Really was great to have MoBill along for the ride. Probably would have been good to be riding with someone the whole time especially with the bike issues. But the key is another rider(s) that have similar agenda’s and temperament!
And Double Rainbows…..
And as Always the people that I had the fortune of interacting with along the road, really make traveling amazing… and I am grateful for these moments!!
And it is always amazing how people will help you when you need it…..
So …… Final Thought. LOVED INDIA!!!
And of course Cj, Richa and Ida Sofia were wonderful ambassadors for India and great friends for hosting both MoBill and Me!! !
Will be working on a checklist and “how to Ride the Himalayas in India”