motorcycling around India

8-Nov-02

Hey everyone, here's another long overdue update on where I'm at with my world travels...

Two-and-a-half months ago I got on a plane in Vietnam and headed back to India, destination: Calcutta. It's really a much nicer city than its reputation might have you believe. I stayed just a few days as I was on a mission, and so I headed to Varanassi to see the famous river Ganges.

Wow, Varanasi was a crazy place. It is so out of this world that you cannot imagine what it's like until you see it for yourself. I cannot explain it to you in email, you must experience the chaos, the lurid sights, the incredible smells, the death that's all around you. It's the cycle of life and it's the most extreme place I've ever been too. On my third trip to India I thought I had come mentally prepared but it seems you cannot prepare yourself for such a thing. Some of my friends say it's their favorite place in India and they stayed a month. Me, I stayed only five days. I had friends waiting for me in Delhi.

It's nice to meet up in their city gain. I was in the market for a motorbike so wy friends went out in the pouring rain one afternoon trying to get a better deal, it's a bargaining thing. Cool friends, huh? Anyway, I bought a motorcycle in Delhi so I could drive across India. It's an old Enfield Bullet, a loud, heavy bike whose design hasn't changed much since 1945. It sounds like a Harley but it's built for bumpy dirt roads, and for carrying two people with a pile of luggage on the back. I've attached a picture if you want to take a look.

After hanging out with my friends in Delhi I took my bike and spent a month in Goa just to finish my book. The beach is a perfect place to write because nobody else is working there except me. I have about a week of writing left I'm ALMOST finished my book, which is to say that I have about a week of writing left to have a final first draft. It will be slightly bigger than the average book on the shelves. I've decided to finished it at home where I'll have more time. Stay tuned.

Goa was exactly what I was looking for. Beach, sun, sand, suntan. A perfect place to spend a few hours a day working and the rest of the time hanging out. It was the beginning of the season so the parties were yet to be in full swing but there were a few good raves that lasted until about 10am the next day. Too bad the October full-moon party was canceled, there were swarms of infectious police everywhere so we were all forced to make our own party.

Andrea met up with me in Goa and spent a week, then we went back to Delhi for a wedding. Along the way we took a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. How can you come to India without seeing the Taj Mahal? I've attached a picture of her and I there.

As I write this I'm on a flight to Australia, and in less than nine days I'll be back home.

A special, sad note:
My friend Sax from Belgium made a special point of coming back to India early so that we could hang out together for a few days. Then I went to Delhi; he went to the city of Mysore to meet some friends.

Sax was hit by a car and sustained serious head injuries. He is laying in a hospital in Bangalore right now awaiting two operations today, on one of his eyes and his nose. He's in rough shape. This was the start of his trip, he planned to stay six months. Now he goes home early, lucky to be alive. Anything can happen while traveling including something like this. UPDATE 28-Feb-03: Sax is doing better, he's back at home in Belgium and recovering. I should have updated this page earlier. He had great help from the family he'd met in India -- they never once left his bedside, in a city about four hours from their home. They took him this far so it would be a good hospitl, as they live in a smaller town. Sax, you're a lucky guy.

I end this email on such a sad note. Get better, Sax.

k

me on my cream Enfield Bullet 350
Sax, Andrea and I in Goa



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