The Great Mustache Debate

Well, we’ve arrived in Cochin. 3rd team here. We met up with some of the others this morning and are expecting more arrivals later today.

More importantly, I need to decide how to prepare my mustache for all the pomp that will commence in earnest on the 27th. I originally wanted a handlebar mustache, but these need years to perfect so it will have to be something a bit more simple. Suggestions in the comments section below please (or for the nerdy types, get creative in Photoshop). Winner can be proud that they’ve helped humiliate me in a foreign land.

Tips from Yogi

Wandering about a shopping mall (in a desperate attempt escape the noise, pollution and general madness of Jaipur) a shop keeper came up to us and started talking in Spanish. He asked if we’d join him for a tea so he could practice his Spanish. It turned out that he used to be a Rickshaw driver, then tour guide but now works in a jewelry store.

Before long the topic of the Rickshaw Run came up. Yogi loved the idea and after studying the map stated that Kochin to Darjeerling in 10 days presents no real problem. He then set about listing spares that we should take and gave me a crash course in rickshaw maintenance.

Best of all though was the following advice.

“To drive in India you need:
1. lots of horn
2. lots of brake
3. lots of luck”

Eager Brothers

This is something I spotted on the Rickshaw Run forums a while back but never got round to posting.

Three Americans flew to India, secured themselves a Rickshaw and then drove from Kolkat to the Pakistani border. What they did, and the experiences they had, I suspect are very similar to what we have ahead of us. The one key difference, however, is the time scale.

The only reason I’ve remembered this is because their rickshaw was parked up, presumably abandoned, not far from our hostal in Delhi.

We’re in the sub continent

While many of the Rickshaw Run teams met up in Southampton for some Rickshaw driving, Gins & Tonic and a good curry, we’ve been getting a bit a taste of the action too. We arrived in Delhi on Sunday morning. The place certainly abuses the sense, but you’ll have to read about the general feel of the place on mine and Espe’s respective blogs. This site is all about the Rickshaw Run, so that’s what I’ll concentrate on.

After fighting our way passed all the touts at the airport we jumped in the first Rickshaw in sight. It certainly was an experience. The traffic is manic. Bigger vehicles rule and keeping you finger on the horn seems to make any manouver whatsover ok. Roundabouts were also a bit scary with vehicles coming onto them having right of way but most impressbive was the way the rickshaws weave in and out of the smallest gaps. Shortly after stepping safely off the rickshaw and paying the driver we spotted this. A little disconcerning, I think you’ll agree.

Not phased, well not too much, the following day I managed to get one of the Rickshaw Wallahs let me have a go at driving one such beast. Not a motorbike rider I didn’t have a clue, but apart from snatching neutral by mistake it was all pretty simple. Right hand controls the throttle, left hand has the clutch leaver and gears. The puny brakes are controlled by a lonesome foot peddle while steering is done by the hanbdle bars. In fact the only thing I didn’t discover was the location of the horn… something I feel I will be needing quite frequently.

Curry Night

My mind is a bit mushy today so please forgive this poor writing…

Last night a whole group of us got together and went down to Lavapies to the Taj Mahal restaurant. This was a combined last dinner in Madrid / fleece my friends for charity purposes. There was a good twenty of us there so a huge thanks is due to all who came along. I had a fantastic night, and it seems like most did too. Along with a good feeding we did a Rickshaw Pimping Competition by passing pens round along with the Rickhaw Image. Espe and I were amazed how everyone took to it with such enthusiasm.

The results, I think you’ll agree were fantastic. It was a tough decision for the winners, but Raul and Ana won 2nd place while Philippe got first place winning a red hot chilli… See all the designs on the hastily knocked together pimp page.

Having arranged a good price for the meal and covered the a large portion of the drinks bill on my Buen Menu card, the bill came to less than €20 a head. Most people gave more, leaving all the extra to charity. On top of that I was touched to be presented with a leaving present from my colleagues at Sun in the form of a huge donation to the charity… In effect, they’re buying me a Rickshaw, and a man can’t really ask for more than that!

All in all, a fantastic night, and I’m very happy to say with last night taken into account we’ve now hit the minimum charity donation for the Rickshaw Run. Thank you VERY much people!

Final Quiz

Last night was our final pub quiz in Madrid before we leave. It was a great pleasure to be joined by Alberto, James, Ana, Jon, Nathan and Sarah. Despite the fact that I answered very few questions, for me it was one of the most enjoyable quizzes I’ve ever been to at Moore’s. Our team “the final humiliation of Andy featuring James” came fourth, which was not bad at all considering that we were only 2 points off the three teams that were joint for the lead!

Best of all though, is the money raised for charity. A huge thank you to Pete and Donald who have allowed us to use ALL the proceeds from the quiz for the last five weeks to go to Mercy Corps. A whopping, and rather funky, grand total of £222. Jolly good show!

Charity Bums

I’ve been discussing with the company I work for if there is anything they are willing to do to assist in my fund raising efforts. A few weeks ago an email went round asking for charity projects with which they could help out. I proposed what we were doing with the Rickshaw Run to them, however today I received the following mail from the charity coordinator… I think something must be lost in the Spanish to English translation:

“Your project to the CAV has been denied since we do not have bottoms”

This is not intended as a dig at the Sun, as the company will be matching employee donations, nor at those who make mistakes when speaking a foreign language (a problem I know too well) but it was just too amusing not to share. Any suggestions as to what the intended response was?