Having rested in Goa, it was back on the road as we kicked off week two of the Rickshaw Challenge and, thankfully, days 9 and 10 ended up being relatively stress-free, with some beautiful scenery along the way. Although we did manage to lose two rather important traveling documents.
Here’s the diary of the two days, as written at the time.
Day 9: Candolim (Goa) to Murdeshwar
Distance: 222km / Google Maps Estimate: 4 hours, 54 minutes.
Another relatively stress-free day, although a long one.
We did run out of fuel at one point, but, thankfully, it happened as we drove onto the petrol station forecourt so we were able to push it the whole of 10 meters to the pump. A nice midday workout.
All was smooth until we hit Murdeshwar, where it took us around 30 minutes to get to the hotel, although we could see it around 500 meters up the road.
The mobs of people visiting the giant Shiva statue and temples brought traffic to a grinding halt and drove frustration levels to the limit.
Thankfully, we made it through the crowds without running into anyone and avoided bumping into any other vehicles (or animals).
Google Maps Estimate: 4 hours, 54 minutes.
Reality: 10 hours, 07 minutes.
Start time: 08:55, Finish time: 18:02
Day 10: Murdeshwar to Mangalore
Distance: 157km / Google Maps Estimate: 2 hours, 58 minutes.
After 10 days of traveling by rickshaw, with the end in sight, both of us felt quite tired today so our plan for the short drive was simple. Put the foot down and get to the destination with no faffing.
We set off at around 8:30am and only stopped twice, both times for petrol. The first time was planned, while the second was accidental.
Around 10km from the hotel, just as the traffic lights turned green and the traffic around us took off, our green and red machine cut out. Initially, panic set in as I thought after having gone a few days without a breakdown, our rickshaw had failed us yet again.
With no fuel gauge and our odometer broken, we had no way of knowing how many miles we had clocked up since our last top-up, although I knew we were close to empty.
I hopped out and measured the fuel with the dipstick, all while the traffic flowed around us. Needless to say, there were stares aplenty from passers-by, presumably bemused at the sight of us standing in the middle of the road beside the stalled rickshaw.
We had two spare liters of petrol in two two water bottles in the backseat. We poured them in and hoped for the best. Luckily, it was enough to get us up and running.
For the first time during the Rickshaw Challenge, we were the first to reach the hotel, rocking up at a little afternoon. Our no-nonsense plan had worked.
Then the drama hit.
While checking in, the receptionist asked for our passports – standard procedure. What wasn’t expected, however, was the fact that our passports were not in any of our bags. Bollix.
I emailed copies of the passports to the hotel so we could at least check in and not have to sleep in the rickshaw. At the same time, we tried to figure out where our actual passports were.
We weren’t asked for them when we checked in last night, so we figured we’d left them in Goa, some 400 odd kilometers away. That would be a slight detour.
A text to Princely to update him on our situation and the possibility of now moving to India permanently. Thankfully, he was able to confirm with the hotel in Goa that we had, in fact, left them in the safe in our room at the hotel. Phew.
Now, how do we get a hold of them?
Thankfully, Princely was able to organize for our passports to be couriered to Chennai. Now we just have to trust the postal service to get it from Candolim to Chennai in four days time, when we’d reach the finish line. What’s there to worry about? I mean everything runs like clockwork in India, right?
Google Maps Estimate: 2 hours, 58 minutes.
Reality: 3 hours, 45 minutes.
Start time: 08:32, Finish time: 12:17