Monday, 14 January 2008

Day 236 - Delhi, still!

When I set off on this trip 7 months ago I was reasonably fit but somewhat over weight, as I had been for about the last 25 years. I had expected my body to change shape pretty rapidly, afterall it always changed due to weight loss even after one of my 3 week cycling holidays. But it never did change. I reached the Alps and thought "That'll sort it out"...nothing. I was a bit despondant but took consolation in the fact that I must be eating well and keeping in reasonable shape. Through the hills and mountains of Turkey I think I toned up a little, but before I entered Iran I teamed up with Judith and Andre and consequently put on weight. I think there were 3 reasons for that, I cycled less distance each day when I was with them, I cycled slower and finally Andre's excellent cooking and the quantity he cooked. So I put on weight, not that I complained, I had a great time in good company. But now when I stand infront of the mirror I am still amazed at just how different I look and how quickly it happened, but then a bit of illness always does have immediate impact. I don't know how much I weigh, but to me I look just puny, not an ounce of fat and my normally ill fitting clothes have room for 2 people, as well as me!

So I am on the mend, but weight doesn't seem to be coming back very quickly to me. Days are monotonous and repetative, but for some reason it doesn't really bother me. I still haven't strayed much more than a couple of hundred metres from the hotel and my days have been spent watching films and sport, on the internet, reading and socialising in cafes, it's not a bad life.
Having said that I am still looking forward to moving on. To be honest I have had enough of India and I feel a need a change. So what are my plans when at last I get away from this place. Originally I had intended to go to Calcutta via Varanasi, but that is a long way through Northern India, so I had decided to take the shortest route from Delhi to the Nepalese border. On reflection that has proved a good decision as with my prolonged spell here I don't know if I would have reached Calcutta before my Indian visa runs out. Before Christmas I aquired my visa for Bangladesh, that was fun. Visa applications are dealt with outside the main consulate at a little kiosk. When I eventually got to the front they said "You fly in", "No, I cycle in" I replied, "You fly in", "No, I cycle in", "You fly in", No, I cycle in, look, there is my bike over there, see", "Oh" he said and made a phone call. I was instructed to go inside where I was questioned about why I wanted to go there and the route I would take. I negotiated a 20 day visa as I was cycling as they normally only give 14 day visas. Excellent, sorted. No not excellent as when I picked it up I had 30 day but had to fly in and they wouldn't change it. They are strict on their borders and I know they wont let me in by road on my visa, still as least I wont need another Indian visa. So the upshot of all that is that I will be in Nepal 4 days after I leave Delhi, cycle to Kathmandu via Pokhara, then take a flight to Dhaka in Bangladesh, tour for 2 or 3 weeks then take another flight to Thailand, probably Bangkok. Easy!

On Sunday I ventured out on the bike for the first time, having done some maintenance the previous day. The new chain and cassette made the ride feel great, lovely and smooth. I also felt a sense of freedom and I suddenly realised I was singing as I rode along. People approached me, talked to me, begged, I was living again. A guy said something to me, aiming for a sell I guessed, "Pardon" I replied not catching what he said, oops, missed it the second time too, but on the third time it was loud and clear "I specialise in cleaning out ears", "No honest, I don't need mine doing, bye".

Well today is Monday and I am to push on tomorrow. My intention was a leisurely breakfast, then a bit of sight seeing on the bike that would have covered about 25km. The first part went well i.e. the breakfast but then I was overcome by apathy and just moved to another rooftop cafe, read a book and people watched for a while. Then I thought, is it apathy? To be honest I couldn't face the traffic, the constant squeeze at junctions (photo), the constant noise, what I really want is peace and solitude, fresh air, space and a quiet road leading into the mountains, leading into Nepal, tomorrow will be a new dawn. I have also thought about my time here in Delhi. I haven't done much, not strayed far as most of the time I couldn't, but it is the longest time I have spent anywhere, people in the hotel and in the streets recognise me, people at stalls I frequent say "see you tomorrow" and invariably they do. Delhi as unwittingly become the nearest thing I have to a home...crikey, it must be time to leave!

It's now 7pm. Normally at this time I feel as though I have an age ahead of me before I set off the following morning, but tonight is different, tomorrow morning feels so close. I don't know if I am ready but I am going anyway, if I don't move soon I feel I will become stuck here. I still don't feel physically strong, bu there I haven't done much exercise for the last 3 weeks so why should I?

So what of Caroline? Well she as last got to see a doctor on Friday, not that they could be bothered to come out mind you. She is now on medication and is making a very slow recovery. I feel somewhat bad about it to be honest, she has now been at home ill longer than she was out here with me. I wish her a speedy recovery.

All being well you wont hear from me for a while as it will bhe 3 or 4 days before I enter Nepal, then a good few days before I reach anywhere big anough to have an internet connection, but its flat for the first few days giving me time to build up a bit of strength before the mountains. See you soon.


BlondebutBright said...

Hi, it's your brief travel companion from Chandigarh, only this time under her blog name. Any idea?

Glad you had some time to relax in Delhi. I've read your past posts with interest and will continue to follow your journey - it sounds like quite an adventure!

S said...

I hope we get to see a photo of the new svelt you!

Caff said...

I agree with S........and I have yet to see a photo of the new fingers. There was a crash landing at Heathrow yesterday where the skill of the pilot averted a major accident. An eyewitness commented: "he deserves a medal as big as a frying pan". Just in case you heard this comment and have forgotten what a frying pan looks like it is about at big as the cog of your wheel chain!!!!! :-)