I am planning to do another trans-continental run like we did last year for the Mongol Rally.
This one is about taking a motorised rickshaw (you know, the tuktuks they have in Thailand. And Brighton) from Kochin in Kerala to Darjeeling, which is so far north that it’s at the end of a little spike above India all on its own.
As before, the people whose idea it is – the same ones that were responsible for the Mongol Rally – have been fabulously over-optimistic and offer no help. They imagine that people will be able to do over 2,000 miles in two weeks (ie about 10 days if you are lucky) in a vehicle which ‘cruises’ at 22mph [how do they work that out? and what is cruising anyway, it has connotations of looking for sex?].
Normally that would mean 200 miles a day at 22 miles an hour (10 hours a day on the road in other words) but that does not take into account the time spent gawping – India is moderately gawpworthy so I’m told – stopping for a pee, stopping for something to eat, cows in the road and, er, traffic. We can’t use main roads as we’d be nailed within 5 miles of the start by one of those massive “Might is Right” lorries. That means we’ll have to go from town to town on B-roads and side-streets. I’ve seen it on YouTube: traffic doesn’t go faster than 10 mph except for suicidal spurts.
And of course this makes no mention of Delhi belly. Sure as eggs is rotten eggs we’ll forget what we’ve been advised and accidentally have ice in our G&T or order a salad washed under a tap (so easily done). With so much against us I suspect that what started as a Cross-India expedition will end up being written up as “Two Weeks Spent Travelling Around the Delightful and Interesting Town of Kochin in Kerala, with notes on the state of local hospitals and the quirks of Keralan mechanics”.
So why are you going, you might ask. Well, I’ve got to keep an eye on my stepbrother. And I’ve spent most of this year living with my grandfather in Cheltenham so it’ll be good to get out of the house.
Plus some of those Indian girls look jolly handsome in my back issues of the National Geographic.