Chidambaram to Kumbakonam – The Shit that Happened
Just to give a sense what riding bikes in India is like, here are a few things that happened in our 5 hours (75 km/ 47 mi) on the road today:
- We saw 4-8 people pooping (depending on which of us you ask). All of them were male, ages ranging from around 2 to 80 years.
- We gave a wide berth to two men arguing, one of whom was brandishing a machete. As we hurried to pass them, a large group of young men hailed us yelling, “Hello! What country are you from?!”
- While briefly stopped to eat a snack, a middle-aged man on a motorcycle pulled up and asked us for chocolate. He seemed disappointed and surprised that we had none to offer.
- We passed a group of children having their morning bath in a river, jumping off the sides of the bank and splashing in the water. It looked way more fun than bathtime in a house.
- We were each grabbed by a crazy man. He left dirty marks on my arm.
- A puppy ran under my tire. The puppy was fine, but I was really freaked out.
- We saw a beautiful apparition of four girls on bicycles wearing identical pink saris.
- Three different men, three different scooters – one was carrying a full-grown (quite large) goat, another carrying a German Shepherd, the third with around 10 full-grown chickens hanging upside down from a stick.
- We arrived at a bridge that wasn’t there – and instead found a bathing area.
- A man on a scooter pulled up alongside us to welcome us to Tamil Nadu. He managed to keep himself (as well as the other scooter passengers: wife and very sleepy baby) safe from oncoming buses while we rode abreast and chatted.
- We narrowly avoided splash-back from a woman using a hose and some straw to clean the poo out of a cow’s butt.
- Amongst a large group of goats sleeping on the road, one was actually a tiny puppy. (Not the same as the puppy that ran under my wheels – there are a lot of puppies here.)
India is many things; boring is not one of them.