The long road to Hampi: Part 1
Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
90Trip End Oct 01, 2006
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Another thing you may feel is tired. Really tired. I've taken to calling the Royal enfield the "ayurvedic massage bike" as it's vibration takes a lot out of you after 6 or 8 hours. I'm more used to it now, a week later and holed up in Mysore, but I was a little less used to it then. .
About halfway to Hampi, Rocinante suddenly lost power and stopped running. Of course, switching to the reserve tank on the fly is old hat, so there it went
So here she comes, just over the next rise, like a lighthouse on a foggy night--Petrol station. Brand new and shining bright orange it was, and pulling into the (always) unpaved lot I looked at the pumps, all diesel. The man said, No Petrol as if it was normal for a place that had "petrol" (that's gas for americans) on the sign in big block letters, even listed above diesel. So I mime "low on gas," and say, "where petrol?"
He points in an indeterminate direction across the road, and tells me simply,"dhaba."
Not knowing much hindi and even less Karnatakan, I at least did know Dhaba, this means restaurant. I also order water in these three languages as well: Pani, water, neero, so this is the routine I gave them at the dhaba, and they brought out a 2lt bottle of water.
So with lunch served, and a dozen hangers-on I was well sorted. The fuel came over from across the street after a shout from the cook in the dhaba, one oil bottle and one pani/water/neero bottle, and went into the tank just before my lunch was served.
As usual there was the town (in this case nothing more than 20 shacks and a petrol, or should I say DieselOnly station), and the town linguist, who is the one who knows more english than the rest. The "linguist" is the one who was NOT sick the day they taught English here, probably the very same day they taught metric system in America. .
So the linguist ran through the usual questions, and I answered the best I could, using my usual jokes. An older man came over as I was eating, and made a show of wrapping his head in a large orange turban, then sat down across from me at the little table
I made a big show of taking out my red bandanna and tying it around my head easy-rider style. I pointed to it, then to Chairman's turban, and then untied it, making a motion that it was too short, needed to be longer to make a turban. Chairman guffawed, and the rest of the courtesans joined. Indians do like a good joke. Come to think of it, they like bad jokes too. They certainly seem to like to laugh and smile. They're probably just laughing at me, but does that really make a difference? They certainly do not mean anything personal by staring or laughing, in fact it is the furthest thing from. .
I know I'm getting sidetracked a bit here. .
So filled up with water and food, and Rocinante good for another 70 km or so, I went and made my prayers to the motorcycle gods before starting her up, and went off, the dhaba by this time filled with the whole village, at least the men anyway, waving and smiling, and doing the head-nod thing as I took off. I always do the "prayer" before starting--sort of lift my hands up to the sky like the Buddha asking for a gift, drop them down onto the petrol(gas) tank, then cross both fingers
Rocinante's and her ilk are good fodder for sign jokes as well, such as the old favorite pantomime of driving, something goes boom, pulling over, fixing, and restarting. When combined as such, the "prayer" even elicits more laughter, though whether they are just indulging me in something that I think is funny and they have no idea of, I just can't be sure. But then again, what is the difference, really? Jokes are good.
Perhaps 10 km away from the village there was a petrol station, this time with petrol. I filled her up. 800 rupees. Youch. But worth every bit. There is no other way to travel.