Apologies. 3 days into the Rickshaw Run and I’ve posted nothing. I was hoping to update this via text messaging, however having left Cochin my phone no longer can send texts. Until now I’ve hardly had enough time to eat and sleep, never mind get to an Internet cafe. This post will also be brief as it is New Years Eve and I fancy a swift half.
We got under way on the afternoon of the 27th after some frantic last minute pimping of the rickshaw before the off. Unfortunately due to limited resources we were unable to follow the pimping design that Philippe produced for us (sorry mate). Instead our rickshaw has come out looking worryingly like the Swedish flag (much to the delight of Ingo who’s Rickshaw was parked next to us). Photos to follow when I get a chance although the might appear first on the official website, as Tom has nabbed a load off me (There is something quite surreal driving through India in a 3 wheeled Rickshaw only to be passed by Jenny with Tom in the back working on his laptop).
We’ve covered some 700km so far taking in the amazing Western Ghats. The mountain range covered in tea plantations was stunning and the roads we’re equal to many in the Alps. This was slow going, but back on the flat we started making good progress. We’ve been in convoy with 4 other teams. Mr Tom, Bombay the Hard Way (x2) and Shanti Shanti. All of these we’d met before and make great company. In fact I haven’t laughed as much for a long time. We’ve also bumped into Rich and the Curried Away boys loads. On top of that we’ve had a film crew along with us for the majority.
Tonight, we are hitting the beach for a party. Rumour has it there are 15 teams in Mamallapuram. Should be good.
Indian driving is by far the worst I’ve ever seen. We’ve been driven off the road by buses and cars, but this appears to be the norm. The biggest vehicle has right of way. It has been tough so far but at the same time I can’t begin to explain how fun this has been. Highlights so far include:
– Taking switchback hairpins in such a crap vehicle.
– Tom tipping his rickshaw onto it side while trying to “power” slide. (We all rushed to his aid only to see Tom’s head appear with a beaming cheeky grin).
– Watching the reactions of the locals as we pass by. Especially comical are the Rickshaw drivers who at first think there is a newbie in town trying to steal his customer, but then smile when they realise we are western tourists.
– Weaving in and out of traffic to getting one over the big bullies (buses & trucks).
– Formation roundabout displays.
– Being famous. The Rickshaw Run has been on Indian national television. People out there know what we are doing. We were even followed b a press car for several miles. Once stopped they pounced on us for some photos and an interview.
That will have to do for the moment. Hopefully I’ll get that phone fixed. In the meantime have a read over other teams text messages on www.rickshawrun.travel