Always ask a policeman

Trip Start Jun 25, 2013
Trip End Dec 25, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel Central Park

Flag of India  , Andhra Pradesh,
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The last couple of days have turned into a bit of a blur if I was being totally honest. As is quite often the case I've slipped into my own little world and just been happily riding along mulling things over and before you know it it's time for more tea.

That however has been problem #1 because for reasons unknown there was no chai available at any of the dhabas I pulled up at. No tea ??!?!!!!! How the bloody hell am I meant to do without tea - I can go days without a beer but bike riding without a tea stop? That's like having toast without butter, a bike without an engine, a bloody Mary without Worcestershire sauce - it's just plain old wrong!

I did think at one point that there was another force at work and I was being cursed for not persevering in my efforts to reach darjeling - the home of tea. So there was no tea and a distinct lack of stuffed parathas and channa massala.  The food stops have been mainly biryani affairs which aren't my favourite . I for one am looking forward to the German bakery I am sure to find south of Chennai and also for the lovely south Indian dosas served on banana leaves. Yum yum  ;-)

This, unusual (for me)  food topic leads me nicely onto my next subject. Whilst riding through the 100's and 100's of miles of paddy fields I recalled a previous thought that I set about discussing with Richard. When you next buy your hygienically sealed and nicely packaged rice give a thought to the lowly paid and hard working farmers bent over, knee deep in water, planting and harvesting their crops. At no time during my many 1000's of miles riding through similar scenery over the years have I ever seen a toilet nearby - makes you think doesn't it.

So the coastal 'plan' of sea to the left etc went spectacularly wrong within 5 minutes of leaving my last Blog posts hotel. It looked like a super sunny day and off I went and before you could say 'you're trespassing' I was in a security guards office being spoken to. I must confess I was wondering about the guard looking chap I'd ridden past a few minutes earlier. After much silliness and confirmation that I wasn't on India's most wanted I wobbled off once more having promised not to be naughty again.

This then left me in my 'follow your nose' mode and oh how I  laughed when I found yet another security guard blocking my way. This place was like the Milton Keynes of India and I was more confused than usual. It wasn't even apparent which was the way out and apparently I'd managed to access Indians largest shipbuilding yard and also working  port. Hey ho! 

After what seemed like a lifetime I found a major public road heading out of the silliness and was overjoyed to see 3 policemen on a small island in the middle of a 4 way intersection. I learnt many years ago that when asking directions here always ask many and go with the majority. Under no circumstances are you to gesture in any particular direction either. Anyway, 3 old bill and clearly their patch so all good - or so you'd think! I had a rough idea where the main highway was but thought I'd ask them to check - all 3 picked a different direction (including where I'd just come from)before entering into a heated discussion about it. I left them to it and went in my choice which neither of them had nominated. Within half an hour I'd made it to the highway.

Whilst that was good it was also bad because the highway was closed for some sort of protest or strike. I approached the blockade and with a smile and a wave was allowed to get through the crowd. Being a ferangi clearly has its advantages on some occasions. 

These blockades continued on throughout the day and I had no idea why but each time I was either waved through or managed to find a way around.

The last blockade  was the silliest though and a group of youths had blocked the road and just seemed intent on kicking off and joining in the fun. A 3 Wheeler auto was trying to get through and with great shrieks of excitement they punched his vehicle and swung at it with sticks. These were clearly just like the mindless few we have in the UK and as a result I drove towards their bikes which they'd used to block the road. It felt slightly wrong but they were clearly just idiots - one gave me a small tap with his twiggy stick but I managed to grab it as he did so and it snapped. Oh how we all laughed. The moral of this story though is that scooters and small bikes when parked are intrinsically unstable and unsuitable to use as roadblocks. 

The people that overtook me after this  little incident were all smiling and waving so guess it was a good thing and the road block didn't remain in force too long after.

I reached Eluru just as the sun was setting to my right - it was a beautiful sight. The hotel wasn't too friendly a place and the town had a slightly edgy feel but it was fine for one night. I foolishly turned the tv on this morning and ended up watching Honour among men before loading the bike and heading south. I was advised to stick to the highway for this bit due to the many river crossings and inlets. 

The highway ran inland and at one point it felt to me like being in Death valley USA - it was quite surreal. After another non tea stop I decided on attempting to find a hotel in Ongole which was an hour or so away.

So, it was the first hotel I saw as entering the town and boy is it good. Clean sheets and wifi but most importantly room service that does pots of tea.

I think I  might stay for a day or two   ;-)
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