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Current Location : Johor Baru, Malaysia (Google Map)
Last entry date : 22 July 2008

An ordinary day on the streets of India

25/Jun/08 to 02/Jul/08

Even though the Wargah / Attari border was the only official border crossing between Pakistan and India, it appeared quiet that 25/Jun morning. There were a handful of Indian tourists on the daily bus to Delhi, and then there was me and my bike. All was quiet on the eastern front (of Pakistan). No visible sign of anyone rushing to get across the frontiers. The customs knew what they wanted to see ie my Carnet de Passage document. Within 2-1/2 hours the bike registration figures were checked and the Carnet stamped by both sides. India was all mine … at least for the next 2 weeks while I hope to make up my mind if I should continue riding up into Nepal or stop in Delhi to prepare my getaway flight into Bangkok Thailand.

As I make my way that early afternoon via Amritsar and Pathankot to Dharamsala (where the Dalai Lama has his exiled HQ), I realised  it’s a different kind of driving in India. Here, its quite folkloric – you see pedestrian, bicycles, cars, trucks, motorcyclists and animals … all competing for road usage (and I thought riding in Iran was difficult). I am careful to avoid running into the holy cow and other animals often left wandering on their own (and on highways). It’s especially chaotic at junctions and congested areas. Road rules anyone, please ?? “Can’t be helped” said an Indian man “There are too many of us”. Must be stressful for the Indian drivers to drive the way they drive. However difficult it seemed, a bit of horning helps to avert accidents as observed everywhere. Well, everyone (except the animals) is continuously hooting – its rather noisy on Indian roads. There is a joke that an Indian driver would not drive if his vehicule’s horn is out of order.

The 1st day driving in India was chalked down to “very tiring”. Too bad the Dalai Lama was away traveling. I was quite happy to have spent a 3 days visit here in India’s “little Tibet”, as did thousands of other tourists Indians and foreigners whom I saw during my stay. In this spiritual place filled with clouds and forest, the people calmly go about their lives. I had the impression I had a good rest. This rest quickly disappeared soon as I made my way down the unending winding hills to Chandigarh towards Delhi. It took 3 days to arrive into Delhi from Dharamsala. Plenty of stops along the way due to hot weather. On the map, it looked an easy “few hundred kms”. That’s when I decided that riding to the high mountains of Nepal will be for another time. I had better try to catch a flight out from Delhi instead of continuing to Katmandu, Nepal.

That 29/Jun afternoon I took up the centrally located cheap looking hotel near Canaught Circus in New Delhi, hoping it’ll be a short stay while I try to arrange an air shipment for Kuda (this loyal horse) and myself. Yves, the same French rider whom I met in Gilgit Pakistan, contacted me to find out where I was at 17.00hrs since he was still 300kms away from Delhi. To my surprise he turned up at 23.30hrs that same evening – my hero, of Pakistan mountains and Indian traffic (even at night ! Helmet off to Yves !). He now leaves his bike here in Delhi to return next year to do more !! Six days later on the 04/Jul we said goodbye. He left the same day from Delhi to France while I left with Kuda via the same Thai flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Well, not without first treating ourselves to some nice dessert at one chic Indian restaurant the night before. As riders, we both felt it was worth all the trouble and fun getting to where we were !

8 Responses to « How do you drive in India ?  »

  1. Hi Sheen,

    Like those photos you have taken ….. Hello Lydia, Pearl & Gem, welcome to JB.

    Peter

  2. Now then Sheen,
    Once again, well done man.
    While you are in JB, nip along and check out Falcon!!!!!!!!
    So, next stop Perth/Melbourne. If my sister was there, she would feed you, unfortunately, she flew to UK last week for a month. Maybe you can catch her on your ride back!!!!!
    Take care and stay safe Sheen
    Dave

  3. Siew Hoon & Victoria22 July 2008 à 9:01 pm

    Hi- Sheen,
    That was quick ! Again,an interesting update with beautiful photos – I like the one of you trying out the Enfield motorbike. You looked v.happy,enjoying it !
    Take care.

  4. Hi Sheen,

    The way you put it, it’s very funny.
    Looks like you had so much fun in India.

    Teresa

  5. Hi Sheen,

    With each city, the pictures keep coming up better and better, capturing the essence of the lifestyle and lifestyle of the local people. Again, wonderful pictures and I am sure you had enjoyed the experience too.

    Judie

  6. annie jeanmichel erwan gwen25 July 2008 à 8:41 pm

    bonjour la famille kua
    les photos d Inde sont superbes
    j attend avec impatience la fin du premier episode
    mais je pense que les retouvailles en Malaisie doivent se prolonger….
    bisous a tous
    annie
    bsalu gem c gwen jespere ke tou va b1 et ke tu passe de bonne vacanca avc ton pere et toute la famille a b1to ++

    gwen

  7. coucou gwen ben merci pour ton message, jte souhaite a toi aussi de bonnes vac 🙂 amuse toi bien

    gem

  8. Hai Sheen, well done, i actually just stepped into ur blog (u shld know how)as i was very curious…boy o boy… very professional indeed… keep it up n wish u all the best in ur future forays… i know for sure u r the sort of guy who likes adventure to keep ur adrenalin flowing… keep it up…

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