Having spent two weeks in Delhi I’m ready to move on again, this time without my bike. I wanted to travel to Southern India and Sri Lanka on my bike but the traffic, monsoon and distance has put me off so Anamika, a friend here in Delhi has kindly let me leave the bike at her house and I fly south to indulge in Sri Lanka’s delights for two weeks.
Whilst Oli and I knew each other before this trip we hadn’t ridden together, our inaugural ride out was at night across Delhi! Having not ridden the bike for over a week it felt good and whilst pretty crazy and very congested at times I really enjoyed it.
Ganesh Chaturthi Festival honours the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesh and the last day of the festival saw people celebrating on the streets with music, dancing and powder paint being tossed into the air. When Indians want to party it’s a spectacular event.
So, Oli and I rode down to South Delhi to Anamika’s and packed our bikes away for two weeks then headed to the airport for the first time on this adventure. It felt strange as we left the air conditioned taxi and walked towards the terminal as for the first time I didn’t feel like a ‘overlander’ anymore, I just merged into the mass of everyone else entering the airport.
The flight had a stopover in Mumbai and what an amazing piece if design and architecture Mumbai Airport is, it opened only 7 months ago and has to go straight into Mumba’s ‘must see’ places.
As we walked around the massive departure lounge there was the usual mix of businessmen and holiday makers and as we sat in a bar drinking our Kingfishers at £6 per pint (yes, that’s £6 per pint in India where the same money can buy you a room for the night, 3 meals or 75 cups of tea) I was taken back to a past life when I was the guy drinking a beer in the airport waiting to get the last back plane home! It’s interesting how quickly and drastically one can change a lifestyle.
As we walked around the departure lounge we were just another two people in this amazing building, nobody rushed over to talk to me, ask me why I was there with a motorbike, how much is it worth, you mean you rode from London to here? No disbelief or smile at my answers.
We were through Colombo airport and in a taxi by 5.45am and heading the short distance to Negombo on the coast. We pulled up outside a hotel and I could smell the sea in the air and all around were palm trees. I was in ‘The Tropics’.