Friday, 18 January 2008

Day 240 - Mahendranagar (Nepal)

Leaving Delhi was tough, even though I wanted to get out of the place, I think it had become to familiar and easy, even seeing a few western faces and talking to people in cafes made it feel like a home from home. But get away I did and finding my way out was really easy despite the lack of a map and any useful signposts, I suppose I just got lucky. I did have a distinct lack of energy though and it was all I could do to turn my legs, so I was thankful it was flat the whole way. The only 'hills' were flyovers and they reduced me to a crawl. I stopped at Hapur after just 67k. I had intended to go further but it became apparent very early on that I shouldn't go too far so I was sensible.

The following day I aimed for and got to Moradabed at 103k, I felt a little stronger and by the time I got there I had a tailwind and was fairly racing along, again flat the whole day.

Yesterday navigation proved to be interesting. I reached Rampur easily on the main road but needed to turn off on to a minor road. I think I turned too soon and ended up just following my compass through the busy bazaar streets of a town that was much bigger than I expected. I passed an area of butchers where meat was being hacked about in the open air. Thankfully I have become vegetarian for the last 2 months in India. I had meat about 3 times but each time I might as well have been eating veg as there was no meat in any of the dishes, just a pile of bones in a sauce. I eventually assumed I was on the right road as somewhere was 25k away, about right for Bilaspur, but Rudrapur was signposted as 40k away. I was on the right road but my 2 photographed maps showed different place names, Singh Nagar on one, Ramspur on the other, but when I got there it was in fact Radrapur. Lots of adverts by the roadside showed a modern city with new houses, cinemas and hotels, but it was just another decaying old town, may be I had just arrived a couple of years too soon! I reached Kitchha, signposted and on the maps, but then it all went wrong. I should have continued east to Sitarnagar, but there was no road going east, or at least it had been closed for some years. Roads heading north and south were definately not wanted. I asked and each time I was directed south then told to turn right, i.e. west, back the way I came. I ignored the advice and checked out all the other possibilities before giving up and following the locals advice. I ended up on a main road heading south, but it was the best of my options, then I at last reached a turning to Sitarnagar, so they had been right the whole time. Oh well! All that added quite a few kilometers on and I ended up going 123k, far further than I had wanted in my condition.

Today I made a short day, just 57k, then relaxed for the afternoon. My legs are feeling really stiff, like when you are unfit and then go running, and I still lack any real power in my legs. But today the main task was to cross the border into Nepal. I reached the Indian border town of Banbasa and expected to see buses and trucks crossing, but it was all most unconvincing as a little lane led away from the town, just used by bike and motorcycling. The route then crossed over a large river via a single tracked bridge and sluice gates. At the far side was an immigration office with one guy sat outide. I did the paper work and waited for him to do his official bit. Whilst I waited I ate a snack attracting the monkeys which he scared off from his neatly kept garden. I took over that job as I had encouraged them in the first place. Then there was a rough track and rough road leading into Nepal where I found their immigration post. I was the only person at both of them so passage was nice and quick. It was also the quickest and easiest visa I have obtained with the 3 guys there all very friendly and helpful and all too keen to relieve me of 20 pounds for a visa. That done I was on my way with a short stop at the bank, well little hut with a bank sign and a few rupees in cash, then about a 6km ride to Mahendranager, ridden with locals on either side chatting away to me, the first town with a good choice of hotels. Its too early to notice any real differences, but the changes are there but subtle. I have had a wander around town, nothing special, but lots and lots of bikes and very few motor vehicles...great.

I feel tired again today so I was glad of a shorter day and restful afternoon. It feels as though I am having to build my fitness from scratch. I am glad to inform you that I have no pictures of my new sleek looking body. Actually it doesn't look that sleek, more like a pile of old clothes with a had sticking out of the top!

And hello to you Blondebutbright. Now if we met in Chandigarh that narrows it down a bit. Your hair looks a bit too long for you to be Anthony, and I am guessing you don't have a beard so that rules out Narinder and anyway you are not wearing a brown turban. So that leaves Janelle and it looks as though your photo might have been taken at the Taj Mahal, but I am probably wrong. Its always good to hear that people are reading this trivial stuff. As I have said before, it makes it all the more worthwhile.


aoiffe said...

You said in your 'About me' blurb - 'My job went to India so I am going to follow it, but I don't want it back thanks'.
Well, I have been concerned that your extended stay in Delhi might be a front and that becoming 'at home' really meant picking up the old job!
Glad to hear both that you are on the mend and that you are managing to be kind to yourself and allow some gentler cycling.

Be glad you are not in blighty - according to Wall's next monday is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year - too much winter,Christmas cheer has worn off, too much Christmas debt and too many broken new year resolutions. And their suggested solution to all this - eat some ice cream!

Tony said...

Hello John. Your stay in Delhi reminds me of the scene at the end of "2001", where Dave Bowman finds himself bemused in an alien-constructed earthlike dwelling, before setting off on a further life with much greater knowledge. I hope you are enjoying developments!

Yesterday I tried to ride up the "gliding club" hill which your 300 goes down. Ignominious failure, in spite of 18 inch gear.

dad said...

Hi John, Have just rejoined you after a four week absence. Pleased to hear you are getting better albeit slowly. As my home computer now shows a list of the countries you have visited I tried to look at some of your photos. But when I attemped to look at pic No.1 I was told that the computer had performed an illegal operation and would shut down and so it did - 3 times. Oh well I was expecting too much. Happy cycling and a safe journey.