Since we launched our contest to win a blog trip to India with G Adventures the entries have been flooding in. We have really enjoyed reading them so in this final week of the contest will be sharing some of our favourites on this blog. There is still time to enter so if you fancy being our roving reporter simply email us with details of your own great adventure before 6pm Monday 14th November. Full details can be found here.
We love this account by Candace Rose Rardon of her 2 weeks in a Tuk Tuk.
I should’ve brought a raincoat, I say to myself on the road down from Shillong. I should’ve brought goggles. Or gumboots. Or something. My teammate Citlalli sits in front of me, leaning into the handlebars like a far-sighted person straining to read the fine print of a newspaper. But she’s only trying to see out the windscreen.
The windscreen of our three-wheeled, two-stroke auto-rickshaw—otherwise known as a tuk tuk.
We’ve been told that its motor is the equivalent of a backyard lawn mower, and yet here we are setting out from the northeast corner of India, bound for the most western edge of the country—Jaisalmer, in the Rajasthan Desert. Some people call this 3,000km journey the Rickshaw Run. We call it crazy.
We’d also been told that the monsoon season would be over by the time the run started, but someone, somewhere, got the forecast wrong. Terribly wrong. As if the torrential downpour is not enough, our windscreen wiper has decided that now would be an appropriate time to stop working. To help Citlalli navigate around other cars and crater-sized potholes, I stick my head out the side of our rickshaw—which turns out to be the equivalent of having a bucket of water continually thrown in my face.
The rain lets up a few hours down the road, long enough to let us make it to Guwahati in Assam, and to Siliguri in West Bengal two days later, and then onto Varanasi, where the rain returns with a vengeance as we navigate our way into India’s holiest city at night. The roads are more like rivers, dark raging currents that threaten to tip our poor tuk onto its side. My hands grip the handlebars as though glue is keeping them there. When we reach our hotel, I have to peel each finger off one by one.
More determined than ever—or perhaps we’re simply mad—we carry on the next week, battling eighteen-mile traffic jams in Bihar, breaking down in the middle of rush-hour Agra, and dodging cows outside Jodhpur like we’re merely having a go at bumper cars.
Which I guess we kind of are.
But there’s no rain the night we pull into Jaisalmer, twelve days after leaving Shillong—nothing but a rich golden sunset that illuminates the walls of the ancient fort and lights our path across the finished line. We seem to have carried the road with us, each village we stopped at, each person we shook hands with, even each tiny cup of chai we drank every morning. It takes everything in Citlalli and me to hand over the keys to our tuk tuk and not beg to do it all again. Because we would, without a doubt—monsoon rains and all.
Except next time, I won’t forget my raincoat.