Nerchowk to Riverside Temple 67km
I was riding uphill in the heat, not enjoying myself much. I was thinking how dirty, dusty, overcrowded, and noisy, this part of India is, and how the Indians always put too much chilli in the food. I was not in a good space. On top of that, I was missing my cycling buddy, my Himalayan daughter. She would normally be up ahead of me on the hill, inspiring me to keep going.
Two motor cyclists passed me, with a toot and big waves. They were riding Enfields, the same brand as our professional rider from last week was riding. I came over the summit, and the two Enfield riders waved me to a stop. I was happy to do so. All the usual questions .....where you from? Where you going? What's your name? How old are you?.......... Then..." we want you to come and stay at our home....it's 160km away......." Wow". Feeling as crappy as I do, this generous offer brings tears to my eyes. Yes, I'd love to crash at your place, but maybe tomorrow night......no problem, here are our contact details...... I keep being overwhelmed by the generosity of people.
I'm going through a "juice cleansing". Not on purpose. Yesterday a roadside vendor passed me a plum. Now my bowels are cleansing. I daren't pass wind. And with the cleansing, goes all my strength, and I'm finding it very hard to eat. "Shite". Not what I need. Heat, hills, lots of them, and diarrhea.
My next stop is at a small drinks stall. I try to eat some chips, but struggle to eat half a packet. I take 30 mins to drink a bottle of Sprite, and then I fall asleep, on the step. I think it was the "pot" fumes the young fellas were smoking that knocked me out. There's a lot of it here. Gibbo's landlords, two 80 year olds, have a marijuna hedge. They lease the cropping rights to some locals, and do very well out of that. The leasees, sell to the Israeli and other pot heads. It's illegal, but seemingly overlooked, because it attracts so much income to the region.
Another, almost 10km, and I need to find shade. I find a tree, and almost immediately a car stops. It's a young Indian pharmacist. He is very chatty, but I don't get to nod off, which is what I really want to do. He's really interesting, and we discus religion, corruption, and many other topics. Then we decide to move on. I stand up.....and faint. Damn. He picks me up, too quickly, passes me my bike, and scarpers. Where are my sunglasses? Prescription glasses, provided by my son-in-laws business, Shatky of Hastings. Has the pharmacist walked off with them? I hunt around for at least 10 minutes, becoming a little annoyed that I might have been taken advantage of, before I spot them 5m down a bank.....Yes. I'm happy.
Not long after, a mongoose runs across the road in front of me, with a snake in its mouth. Wow. But I'm knackered. I see some shade in a layby. A couple of kids annoy me. They can't speak any English, but keep asking questions. "Push off. I want to rest" are my thoughts. They eventually get the message, and leave. Then they send a cycle tourist to meet me.....which I'm not grumpy about. He's an Indian, and has only done 40km, but is as exhausted as I am. He reckons it's 40°C, and we exchange stories, before he cycles away. In the layby is a pipe with running water. Truck drivers are washing in it. I follow their example, and oh the relief. At the very back of the layby, is a partially built temple, with room behind it for a tent. That's me. I pull out my folding seat, and collapse into it. Yes.
And then, my Indian cyclist friend returns. He's decided he will stay here as well. We spend an evening chatting, sharing stories and plans. It's very very nice to have a kindred spirit for company. As we crawl into our tents, a huge storm hits. Powerful winds and torrential rain. I don't care. I'll sleep through anything.