It’s taken me 12 years to return to this part of the world on my bike mainly because of the journey to get here, it’s not a long flight, about 9hrs, but it’s followed by a 14-15hr drive (overnight bus or taxi) from Delhi on some terrible roads to reach the Kullu valley here in Himachel Pradesh. The right season for riding in the mountains also means that Delhi is an uncomfortable place to connect through… swelteringly hot and humid, and of course very smoggy. I’m happy to be back though. I have friends here. 12 years ago riding up the Rohtang La from Manali, on my way to Ladakh, early on a misty morning I met a chap on a mountain bike, Chris. He’s been living here for 30 years now.
Anyway, we stayed in touch and now I’ve finally made the effort it’s great to catch up and enjoy the company of his network of friends while doing some local exploring. Contacts also very handy for sorting things like sim cards, which because of efforts to control terrorism normally require documentation and local authority to get hold of.
It’s good to be back in India, but I had forgotten a little bit just how the place works.. it’s an amusing place to travel that requires a rather laid back approach to life but is never dull and I do feel particularly at home up here in the mountains. It’s ace. It is also a wonderfully ironic nation. For example there is a chain of car dealerships called ‘Competent’.. so one will see many cars with a Competent sticker in the back window… I did enjoy that while watching toe-curling behaviour on the roads on the way up here.
Anyway, keeping this short… internet connection is very unreliable, just this post has been a mightily painful experience! Not sure how it’ll be on the road ahead.. so if i go quiet for while don’t worry, I’m probably still alive ;-) Leaving town tomorrow, heading east over the Jalori La, not high at something like 3400m but the 2200m of elevation gain is by all accounts something of a wall…
The locals love my Surly ECR by the way :-)