After soooooo long without leading tours, they are now coming thick and fast, recently with a tour each week and for good measure a short cycle ride with a little known girl.
Grabbing a dosa for breakfast on the island is becoming popular
Todays tour was for Tilley and Jessie friends from the UK who I know through a very good friend Emma. Also on the tour was someone who will remain ‘nameless’ for a little longer.
They are travelling throughout India and I’m exhausted hearing about it, but its sounds that its been fun and as with all of us learned so much from the wonderful experiences that INDIA provides to us all.
Spotting the sheep, flowers, goats, butterflies and birds, not to forget the general craziness, has always been a popular part of the tour, a new interest has become the dung beetles. They’ve also met Kaveri, or at least the goddess, and the mini version of her will join us for breakfast.
Today we had to contend with the guide running out of petrol en route to the island, a political demonstration and our route blocked by trees. Nothing is ever straightforward in India seems a slight understatement.
MyCycle Tours will be available again in September.
The bad behaviour becomes more apparent as the traffic increases., that will get worse as we become more ‘developed’.
Where to start…
The chaos at junctions when the lights turn green, as many are in the wrong lanes and there are more lanes than the markings indicate. The erratic driving which is not always because they’ve poor driving skills, most drivers are on the phone, but it’s not smart….
The lack of awareness and perennial indifference carry some of the blame, but it begins early on at the driving school and how people get their licence is a wonder to behold.
Many driving schools bring their learners through Siddarthanagar, our layout, for lessons, it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even begin to tell you and I’ll leave my grumbles about what they’re taught to do with the horn, to the next posting.
Here’s examples that friends have told me about their tests.
An American friend had both a two wheeler (motorbike) and four wheeler (car) test on different days.
The examiner instructed him to drive up the road, round the roundabout and back to the start. He passed.
Next the examiner got in the car. Already an improvement. “Drive ahead, turn left , straight, turn right, stop.” My friend thought this was serious. “Stop here” The examiner got out of the car and entered a hotel (restaurant) leaving a few minutes later with ‘a parcel’ (takeaways) for the office. “Drive back to the RTO (office). You’ve passed.”
A neighbour’s daughter just paid the bribe, probably through a middle-man I’m not sure whether she’s actually driven to this day.
Another friend went to the new ‘automated’ track designed to put you through a series of situations and manoeuvres. The examiner gets in the car, you move forward, pay your bribe and you’re off. The examiner uses the (dual drive) pedals to ensure you brake properly and even helps you steer by lightly holding the steering wheel. Once again, it’s a pass.
If that wasn’t bad enough one proposal is to delegate the issuing of driving licences to the instructors. Really?
This Facebook posting following a column in the ‘Star of Mysore’ is what got me going. I’ve cycled, and ridden scooters, Enfield, van, Jeep and Manjula’s beautiful Ambassador on local roads.
The biggest challenge?
It’s a toss up between the ‘rash’ driving and constant pot holes, even on newly repaired roads it sometimes feels like you’re driving sideways.
Kaveri (also anglicised as Cauvery) is named after the holy river, one of the seven holiest in India, a Hindu goddess, who is known for her strength of character and giving nature. As usual the stories vary.
The Kaveri river rises in the western ghats in Kodak (Coorg) passing through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before reaching the Bay of Bengal.
On its journey east it splits to form three islands, one of which is Srirangapatna, featured on our main mycycle tour.
The river helps feed the irrigation systems especially around Srirangaptnam and is source of conflict between the two states.
We’ve already established a few goody rituals. Stopping for Pani Puri or rice bhath on the street or an ice cream at our usual cafe or as today the whole lot plus roti, dhal and fruit salad back at my house.
She will often ask for a parcel (take out) of what’s leftover her her teenage auntie back at her grandmothers.
A generous foreigner is too good an opportunity to miss and it is summer camp.
She isn’t greedy but is keen to share her good fortune.