The Road Calls.
Trip Start Jan 27, 2008
30Trip End Apr 06, 2009
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Falling into a bit of a routine here again in Manali, I tore through a couple of classics in 5 days or thereabouts, Oliver Twist, and East of Eden. Good stuff. Don't quite know why I tend toward literature when up here, but it's good to finally read the books I faked my way through in school.
Rocinante is running strong, the box maker finally got the necessary parts (or more likely stopped drinking for a day), and I'm packed. As much as I itch to get traveling again and lie on the beach in Goa, an ice-cold King's beer in hand and a belly full of giant tiger prawns, this place still has a hold on me. When one travels, one often finds places that appeal to some innate sense of comfort or peace, and if there for a long enough time, one begins to attach to such a place as a second home. The children all smile, the locals say hello, my own family is sorry to see me go. Dayalu has not written up a bill telling me to pay what I want. Of course I gave him a handsome sum, I know they are poor, and though not rich by western standards, what little I can do will go a long way for them. Besides, he is a newly married man. I joke that when I return next time he will have twin girls! He would rather one of each, but I think that on my probable return in September, if anything the bun will still be in the oven, so to speak. They are going to have to build a bigger house or an addition if they keep on this way, methinks.
So it is more of a fare-thee-well than a proper goodbye, I know I am returning most probably this year, so not quite as heart-wrenching as last time. I love these people.
A number of months and many thousands of miles on my previous visit I think has stripped me of any apprehension this time round. I'm not flying blind this time, or not at least quite so much, so there is more excitement to fire up my single-cylinder machine and go down the road to see what is there. A large part of the journey this time will be on roads I have not traveled, but is that not the way, to go down roads one has not been on before? In travel and in life this concept is extremely important.
In Delhi, I'll toss back a few with the Bullet Wallas, guitar in hand and fully practiced with about a hundred crowd-pleasing classic rock songs. I've been brushing up. Laura of the Wallas can make a decal of Dali's "Don Quixote" in white on black (negative color from original) and that will sit on the surface of rocinante's broad 22 liter tank. Fully decorated, engine fresh, good tires and all the rest, I'm more than ready, but this is, after all, India, and to be slightly over-prepared is not always enough to cover all unforeseen circumstances.
Yes, I do promise to take lots of pictures on the way down south--the reason I haven't been posting too many here is that I have been here before, and when one is fully familiar with a place, the tendency is to be a bit lax in firing off evidence to the homefront. Heck, if you want Manali pics, go to the previous blog, and you'll find tons.
We shall see what is out there again. Pray to Gonesh, the great elephant-headed deity, the remover of obstacles, that I may have smooth sailing. I'll check again when I reach Delhi.