India Road trip – Take 3: Dausa to Ranthambore Tuesday 10 September


Next day (Tuesday), we headed off in the direction of Ranthambore to our next stop, the tiger reserve.  The guys at the dodgy Dausa hotel assured us we would have to ride like the wind in order to get there before the sun set.  It was not so.  By 11 am according to, google maps were very nearly there, so Gaby took us on a detour of adventure and discovery.

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lunch stop after leaving Dausa

These were some scenes we encountered on our way to Ranthambore from Dausa

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The beautiful, colorful women of Rajhastan

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Such lovely people we met along the road

You don’t actually find women sitting around relaxing, having tea, socializing etc.  Its a peculiarity, but I guess its cultural, and some may say some form of gender inequality.  I’m not sure where the women are.  Maybe just stuck at home, or working in the fields, I’m not sure.  I don’t know enough to make a judgement.  Gaby is all for going against this kind of thing, why, because we aren’t really part of society, and also to kind of see how these men would handle it.  They can’t really do anything to us.  Not that they’d want to, but agh, you know what I mean.  Its nice to live outside rules.  And it gives people something to think about.  So here we are sitting like big bosses at this hangout, waiting for our tea.

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tea break – see if you can spot the two of us sitting like big bosses with the manne

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veggie stand accross from the tea stop

I saw this man burning up a pile of garbage.  Gaby says this is the way the get rid of the dirt.  And in winter, they burn the dirt to keep warm as well.  I should start to call this India posts “Gaby says”.  She is a treasure chest of info!

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next to our tea stop, the national means of garbage disposal demonstrated

The adventure of discovery:

After the tea stop, we were basically at a fork in the road, carry on straight on the tar road, or take this ‘offroad’ detour to make our lives exciting (potentially nightmarish) .  And you can basically guess where we went.   We went off the most wonderful stretch of tarred freeway in all of India to drift, fall, hop, and fall about on a unofficial dirt road.  This offroad detour was a kind of a sand quarry.  I am ever so sorry I did not take a pic of the first kilometer of this detour.  It was really really really soft sand.  I did not find it fun at all at first.    I was the first to fall over and I told her I could not ride there.  Santosh was off like a bullet through butter (like all people in India, this guy really has no clue about danger/impossiblity)  and so Gaby and I were left to pick up the heavy beautiful Enfield and she convinced me to try just a little bit more.  I was a bit frustrated that we came this way, but after picking up the bike, she convinced me to try just a few more meters, and if I really didn’t like it then we could turn around and go on the tar.  She knew what she was talking about.  I guess she knows better than I do that if you decide to NOT give up, there’s a whole world of fantastic waiting for you.  And it was so.   And true as cookies, after a few more meters, I was quite comfortably drifting like a pro in the sand, and so was she.  It was nerve wrecking though, we were riding in truck wheel tracks, and sometimes the tracks were quite deep, and there were hard ridges in them which would set you wobbling inside the wheel track, ‘hooking’ the sides of the bike on the edges of the wheel track.  This was one of the setbacks of the bike, but only on the offroad.  It definitely is too low to be completely perfect (for offroad).  We climbed big rocks too.

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Offroading in a sand quarry

At some point there came a point where there was a river/lake,  and some chaps were hanging around by the river, there was a caterpillar digger and a couple of these colorful trucks.  The guys told us that the way to the other side was to ride over the river.  Without further questions or worries, off went Santosh!  And as one could have predicted he got pretty much stuck halfway across the river.  I started to worry that this was the end of our two wheel adventure, because I had never witnessed a bike getting stuck that deep in water, and I had never imagined that it might be able to start again without alot of work.  Here’s Santosh in his predicament:

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River swimming – Santosh getting stranded in the middle of the lake.

Gaby seemed a bit pissed at Santosh because he was supposed to be looking after us and not getting us into trouble!  But after two minutes, it all just seemed funny, and we entered a kind of a ‘what the heck’ euphoria.  I think that this was probably the best couple of hours of the whole roadtrip.  Here is a pic of us finding it funny while one of the river bank guys helped Santosh push his bike to the other side.

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Living in the moment – not sure if our trip was over or if by some miracle Santosh would manage to get that bike riding again

While Gaby went to investigate the state of Santosh and the possibility for a better route across the river.  Some chap on the river bank was trying to convince me that they could load our bikes up in this Caterpillar digger and take it to the other side.  Did I mention that nothing is impossible in India.  Even if its impossible they will try!  If you ever visit India you will see what I mean.  They do things you never dreamt was ever possible.  Taking the bikes over in the digger seemed a bit far fetched though for some softy like me, and they weren’t my bikes.  I wasn’t altogether sure if Gaby would think it a good idea at all.  Here’s the guy trying to convince me to let them take the bikes over in the digger for ‘no money’

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The Indians trying to convince me to let them load the bikes in the digger and cross the river for ‘no money’

After much miscommunicating between all of us, Gaby convince them to rather use the truck to take the bikes over.  Why this wasn’t our first thought, I’m not sure.  So here’s fotos of the Gaby and the guys loading the bikes up and taking them over to the other side.  Those guys were fricken strong I tell you.  And so is Gaby.  Note this first picture the phrase ‘horn please’ … hooting is really encouraged.

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Why can’t they put it on the truck? … duh, why didn’t I think of that!

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Gaby and the guys loading the duke. Teneis muchos musculos!

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loading up the Enfield

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offloading on the other side!

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river scene

Santosh actually managed to get his bike started again.  After kickstarting for about 30 to 40 minutes that is.  The Enfield is one amazing bike!  After that, all was really well again, and we swam in the river abit.  Really, I think these were the best moments in the trip.

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one of the best memories on this trip

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river swimming. Boots and all!

After our exciting experience in the river, we trekked on.  This was such mindblowing terrain.  Really rural.  Challenging, but good fun.  Some people we passed told us there was a palace to be found not too far away, so that was our next quest, to find the palace

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Just after the lake episode – let the search for the elusive palace begin!

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Gosh, what a landscape.

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searching for the elusive palace

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still searching for the palace

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A beautiful coincidence of human and nature

After about an hour or so looking for the palace we came upon this little village and stopped for tea (with all these tea stops you’d swear we were English).  They people were really friendly and very curious about us, as we were about them.  We had our tea and smoked a bidi with the locals.  Then, when Gaby checked the map of where we were on her fone, I noticed something interesting.  A ‘stones throw ‘ away from were we were on the map was a village called Koushali.  Why I found this interesting is because my family’s original surname is Koushali.  I’m convinced that this was where my family comes from.  And when I looked around me, I noticed but these people’s facial features were very similar to my family’s.  Maybe not from the exact village, but I think we originate from that vicinity.  This clips is from when we just arrived and Gaby explained about us not finding the palace.

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lets have tea in this village… and forget about the palace

This guy sitting with Gaby smoking the bidi offered to ride with us to show us where Koushali was.  He became somewhat of a nuisance after a while because we did not know how to get tell him that the trip was over for him.  Once in Koushali, we found some people washing goats in the river, chilled for a bit, and then went on to Ranthambore.  This guy was still on the back with Santosh up until Ranthambore.  Gaby and I went to the hotel to settle in and let Santosh handle sending him back home.  We asked Santosh later how he got rid of the guy, and Santosh said he gave him 100 or so Rupees and said thank you .  I hope they guy got home alright.  We were quite far from his village.  But knowing an Indian, he made a plan.

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smoking a bidi with the locals

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Posing with my ancestors

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scenery on the way to Ranthambore

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stopping to take in the view

Less than an hour later we were in Ranthambore.  First thing when we got to there, we found a  nice hotel… To be continued

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