Hi there friends and family,
Wow crazy times! Trump, big earth quake in NZ, and India in currency crises. This blog won’t be like the rest, instead it aims to inform those who are close of our situation.
We arrived in Delhi around 6 days ago, coincidentally the same day the government spontaneously announced ALL high value Indian currency is now deemed “Black Money” – no one will take it/trade it, only option is to take it to a bank and deposit into an indian bank account. No ATM’s have any cash. All banks have at least 250 people waiting outside, and are only open for deposits. All in all that’s been a real ball ache, but not the end of the world.
Getting to the main point. Yesterday we nervously packed our gear and bikes into Zanskar’s little wagon and we were off! Shit Delhi is crazy, traffic is out of his world, but we felt confident if we could only make it past the city limits we we’d be right. We said our farewells to Z and Rana outside a small chai shop, made some final adjustments, then got on the road. The first six kms were great, road quality was near perfect, traffic seemed very accomodating, 1000’s of friendly curious faces smiling and waving; we were stoked.
Six kms up the road we stopped off at a shop to try top-up the phone via credit card, and naturally as you could expect and as we were warned a HUGE crowd started to form around us. All seemed cool, plenty of people taking selfies etc. Then a man who spoke English grabbed our attention. He was warning us of the road ahead, saying that it was very dangerous and we should not continue instead turn around and head for Delhi and the tourist hotel. No exactly what you want to hear on top of having an all body sensory overload. Needless regardless of this mans warning, we forged on. We soon realised a contingent of the mob surrounding us was following on scooters, they were all around our two bikes. One scooter with 3 dudes (18yrs old’ish) was insisting we take a turn up ahead down a side road… Ah no thanks. The same scooter then drove next to Anna and grabbed a big handful of her arse! Hooning off with evil looking grins on their face. Needless to say, that was enough to pull a quick 180′ and boot it back to the city.
Absolutely terrible feeling for Anna, she is a super tough chick but no one can stand up to being blatantly sexually assaulted on the street. Following this experience there was a real feeling of un-safety. We were desperate to find a hotel to lock ourselves away and process what the fuck just happened, but of course there were zero hotels in a 15km radius… So we dug deep and resided ourselves to riding back through the chaos to safety. People who have been to Delhi, even people who live in Delhi, will tell you its a cesspit. Well they mostly likely only experience the inner city, because the outer districts are far worse than cesspit! Riding through bedlam, with the sun beginning to set, no obvious destination, no data, what a situation to get ourselves in. The next hour or so is a blur, cycling Delhi at night, finding numerous hotels non existent, one dude even tried to tear one of Annas panniers off! We finally had some luck and scored a very plush apartment room, with some very helpful owners who brought us some dinner.
All is good now, we caught a taxi back to the fort (Rana’s house) and shook the nerves off.
Our plan now is to head up to the mountains with Zanskar in the car. There we hope to get involved with village life at 2000m, doing heaps of tramping, cooking, and chilling. We shouldn’t need much money there also, so good to let this currency situations settle down. Just taking one step at a time now, but looking at continuing via standard methods of transport (bus/train), leaving bikes in Delhi to be picked up on way out to Myanmar for further cycling adventures.
So that’s our news…
We will be in Wifi range for the next couple of days and keen to skype with those who need to know more.