A welcome delay

Trip Start Jan 27, 2008
Trip End Apr 06, 2009

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Well, I brought Rocinante in for a checkup to Karma, the local enfield expert, and he noticed the same clacking that I did at higher speeds. As I suspected, and he confirmed, the engine is "katam" (finished). I may have to eat rice and dal for the rest of my days here in india, and drink the cheap and crappy local hooch, but at least my bike will be all set in the drivetrain department. Karma will change out the main bearing, piston, lifters and rockers, among other things, so it is basically a rebuild. Should cost about 7k rupees, or almost 200 bucks, a lot of money for a shoestring traveler, but I have to bite the bullet, so to speak rather than having the engine go completely "katam" in the deserts of Rajastan. Better safe than sorry.
All in all, I'm not at all disappointed in having to stay here a few more days--in the afternoon every other day, Dayalu and I and sometimes his friend Raj go over to Vashist to bathe with a bunch of other men in the natural water of the hot spring pool there. In the evenings I am expected downstairs for "rat-ka khana," literally "night eating" with Mata-ji, Pita-ji, and Dayalu, sharing food and whatever rudimentary jokes we can communicate sitting on the carpets by the small wood stove which is central in the room. Mata-ji piles my plate high, and I eat it all, even though I am packed full--the food is delicious, and I come from an upbringing in which it is unthinkable not to clean your plate. We have had a local stewed chicken, Dal (a cooked lentil sauce), and another dish made with salted mutton, all served with the ubiquitous "chaval" (rice). Mata-ji makes sure everyone is good and full, then she makes her own meal and eats it, going outside after to do the dishes with remarkable quickness.
In the fall, every house has a sheep, but by the time the snow comes, the sheep is "katam!" Made into dried salted meat which sustains the family through the winter, this Kullu jerky provides a necessary protein supplement to the mostly vegetarian diet.
The nights are calm, the village life simple. We sit after the meal, smoking bidis, talking, Mata-ji hand-spinning wool onto a handmade bobbin all the while, with the two young neices spying on us through the window, curious about the tall "Gora" who has come to stay. Mata-ji helps me with my hindi, teaching me some local words, and correcting my grammar and pronunciation, while the fragrant odor of the resinous wood they burn for heat floats in the room. Warm it is in the small room, warm in temperature, and in feeling. It is nice to have my own village family here. The legendary Kullu hospitality is real, the simple and quiet life at the top of the valley is a good one, full of love and constant work.
Around ten or so, Pita-ji reclines on the small bed, and Dayalu and I take our leave, he going to bed, and I usually remaining up on the cold porch of my room, studying my hindi reading, writing and grammar by candlelight until the night becomes too cold and I have to climb under the thick covers to sleep.
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purpleboy on

How do we send the checks?
Bro' I guess we must pass the hat! - Rick

chakoxkanyon on

All things are possible...
when you've got love.

Way to go Josh! Looking forward
to meeting her. Disregard my last
e-mail to you concerning the Maui-beauty
in Ahmednager! tee-hee...

Safe travels and have some food/gas on us,

Love, ScottNancy

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