Trip Start May 23, 2008
Trip End Jun 22, 2008

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Really slept very badly given how tired I was, and unfortunately, was feeling even worse than yesterday, when I had started to feel unwell. Was woken about 8.20 by the mechanic - I am not sure if I misunderstood yesterday, or if the 100 rupee tip helped, but he took Dolly's keys and returned with them about an hour later, saying he had topped up the petrol, so after the next 200km (roughly one tank of petrol) we were to go back to mixing the oil and petrol as before. They had also refitted the stereo - and it has been working like a dream since!

It was Sharon's turn to drive, fortunately, and I somehow managed to doze in the back of Dolly as she took us south along NH7. We got to Nagpur and I perked up a bit, and was kept amused by roadside signs such as "Control you nerves on curves", "No dreaming while driving", "Better Mr Late than Late Mr..." and, my favourite, "Impatient on road, patient in hospital". There was also some 3D sign, with the front of a car and someone hanging out of it, with a slogan along the lines of "Even Guns N Roses full blast couldn't keep him alive"!

After a late lunch stop at which we were treated to a great thunder and lightning show, I took over the wheel, but only drove for about an hour before checking to see that the exhaust, which was getting ever louder, was actually still attached! We couldn't find a mechanic in the first town we drove through, so continued on to Hinghanghat, where one of the first stores we came to was a workshop, and the mechanics beckoned us in - clearly they had heard us coming!!

It was a great place to stop for a break, the whole family, mum, dad, three sons and a daughter, came out to chat to us, pulled up plastic garden chairs and were soon offering cups of chai. They took the exhaust off (again) and carried out all sorts of work on her, including oiling the accelerator, brake and clutch, before taking her on a quick test drive (with us still sitting on the chairs but ALL our possessions in the back of Dolly) round the streets of town, with one of their own choice of CDs blaring out the stereo. It must have looked a sight!
We were both quite tired by this point, I was still feeling utterly rubbish, but they said there was a lodge in town, which they would take us to. But after about 20 minutes of faffing, we excused ourselves and made our own way along the darkening streets to find it ourselves.

We stopped at the first lodge we came to and Sharon popped out to check it out. Meanwhile, someone was asking me what we were doing, I explained that we were looking for somewhere to stay. He said there was somewhere better round the corner. Sharon returned saying it was 'ok' so when I mentioned another place, she very quickly suggested we try it. We followed the guy in his car round to another lodge, where the owner/manager appeared to be out for his dinner. I was exhausted by this time and just wanting to lie down, so wasn't really interested in the guy "humbly suggesting" to us that 10km back was a much better lodge. I said rather bluntly that we couldn't go back, only forwards and as it was dark, we really didn't want to drive, despite his very kind offer of either driving us there or following behind us. Finally, before the owner of the lodge returned, he took us along another street, to where he worked, as a manager in a textile factory, and promptly disappeared inside. About ten minutes later, he brought out the managing director to meet us. Finally, he drove about another 200 yards, stopped, jumped out his car and announced that we were outside the dormitories of the factory, where we could wash, sleep, eat (but only vegetarian food) and drink water, all "for no charge, courtesy of the managing director". I could have cried with relief!! The building itself looked very derelict, but inside was great. I was too knackered to eat, but Sharon had four waiters catering to her every need as she sat at a glass topped table big enough for 8 people! Dolly was parked up back at the factory next to the MD's Audi - what a sight!!

It's amazing, earlier in the day, I commented that really nothing much had happened that day. Little did I know we would enjoy the company of the family of mechanics and end up sleeping in local factory accommodation. I really NEVER know what will happen next!!
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drew68 on

Go ahead!
I can only dream (but not when I'm driving) about what is coming next!

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