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Old 09-11-2009, 05:38 AM   #1
rogerdodger OP
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A Royal Enfield, a massive country and a 6 month Visa.

From Bangkok I took a flight into Kolkata. Last year I'd taken the same flight and been able to get a ticket for $50, this year I paid double. Just bad timing, looking online this ticket comes up again in November. I was on a tight schedule to get to Manali at the foothills of the Himalayas and jump on the road to Ladahk. From what I'd heard the passes through Ladahk to Leh can only be crossed in a few brief weeks of summer. So far Id timed it perfect, landing in the sweltering heat of early July, just as the monsoons hit. But I still needed to get to Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh, 1,500Km away on the other side of the county. And I still needed to buy a bike.

Since this was now my 3rd time in Kolkata it made it more of an easy task to go to a trusted travel agent, buy my train ticket to Delhi




Then settle in at the tourists gathering point, The Blue something or other restaurant. There I met Honey an interesting Filipino girl who had traveled extensively. She took interest in my train trip to Delhi and immediately announced she would come with me. Humm, ok cute girl why not. The next day we boarded our train for Delhi riding 2nd class sleeper for the 18 hour trip.


Not a bad time for an Indian train that was crossing this vast country. The train trundled along and Honey and I had long deep talks the way travelers do, opening our souls and spilling all the deep secrets. Our other carriage mates were a group of Muslims from Myanmar on a holiday and sort of pilgrimage.


They were a fun and happy bunch, pulling out a mat and laying it across one bed they did their prays one after another. i asked Honey how they knew which way mecca was and one of the pulled out a compass! We all shared food and made small talk and then slept the erratic sleep, lulled and shook by a train at night moving across a country that never sleeps.

Delhi was hot. The train stops at New Delhi Station close to the tourist section of Paharganj. A area of dirt roads and crumbling buildings, beggars, filth, heat and sweat. This can't be a capital city? Cows roam the streets, eating plastic bags and rotting vegetables.




It seemed that Honey and I differed in our budgets for rooms. We'd agreed to get a room together, but she wanted cheap, really cheap. I like cheap too, but when its 42degrees I like AC too. After the train journey we were both tired. Honey found a place for some ridiculous price. So ridiculous I got my own room next to hers. I wasn't in a mood to be sweating and tired and trying to share a place with someone that had started to bug me. Earlier when boarding the train I'd offered to help her carry her massive suitcase onto the train, now it seemed it was my job to carry the damn thing at every stair and difficult spot.

Karol Bargh is a area in Delhi I'd heard about from everyone to buy a bike. After I got settled in my room and taken 5 showers, I ventured out to find this motorcycle hot spot, Hell the whole town was a hot spot. It was crazy hot and the only reprieve was riding on the air conditioned metro train. I took the train to the Karol Bargh station expecting to find bike shops everywhere. Nothing! and no one knew what I was talking about. motorcycles sieb? no sir nothing here. Eventually I found someone that told me to just walk up this road and Id run into the shops. i walked for miles and found nothing and eventually, frustrated, returned back to my squalid hotel.

Honey had been sleeping and I knocked on her door as we had early said we would get together and discuss our next plan. She about bit my head off telling me that she was use to men making the decisions and why hadn't I bought a ticket to Manali yet??? WTF! Were we dating? i don't remember any conversations about that, I certainly don't remember any sex, which if i remember correctly usually comes with dating. Its certainly usually the precursor to the shouting and arguments. I put it down to the heat which in our windowless rooms was unbearable.

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Old 09-11-2009, 07:01 AM   #2
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Before any one else asks, we need photos of Honey! Oh and BTW nice start this sounds interesting - I'm in!
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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I second the need for Honey pictures.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:14 AM   #4
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Yes , show me the Honey....
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:19 AM   #5
arn
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Lot about Honey, little about bikes, or enfields.

It's moving towards a ride report, I'm not sure which kind.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:21 AM   #6
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Honey Yes, pics are necessary.


BTW, paharganj is not the real delhi but its a budget travellers paradise.
Depends where you are staying though. But anyways, please show us some pics.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerdodger
Honey had been sleeping and I knocked on her door as we had early said we would get together and discuss our next plan. ... WTF! Were we dating? i don't remember any conversations about that, I certainly don't remember any sex, which if i remember correctly usually comes with dating.
Since you brought up sex, why are you and Honey sleeping in separate rooms? Pictures please.
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:49 PM   #8
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I'm in -



I'm sure this is going to be a heck of a trip...
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:35 PM   #9
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Good so far,

But no bike, and no Honey.
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:02 PM   #10
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Sounds interesting. Which Royal Enfield did you get? Do you just sell it when you are done with the trip?
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:37 AM   #11
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Honey had been sleeping and I knocked on her door
I just love this metaphor..
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:13 PM   #12
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Geez calm down you horny lot. Don't worry Honey will be popping in and out of this story for a while.

Its been raining here in Manali now for 3 days straight. One small road threads its way up the valley from the south through this small town, it continues, winding its way north west up into the mountains of the Himalaya, over the passes and into Ladahk. The passes are closed in with snow now, buses are stuck, the road south has been closed with landslides too. So here i sit in Manali with snows all around on the mountains.





But just a month ago it was sunny and hot. I had arrived at midnight with Honey still grumpy after 17 hours on a bus from Delhi, in which time I realized I was traveling with a deeply disturbed girl, and I needed to do whatever I could to get the hell away from her.

In Delhi after my abortive mission the day before trying to find the bike shops of Karol Barge, at 5.00am Honey came knocking on my door to drag me onto a bus to Manali. It was probably the kindest thing she did for me, well other than the time we were out walking and she got really horny under the prayer flags in Mcleodganj. I'd met a guy in Thailand who had warned me about buying a bike in Karol Barge and told me the better deals were to be had in Manali. As it turned out he was totally right. I've met lots of travelers on bikes they bought in Delhi and they all paid too much, or bought bikes that needed major work done on them. Honey and I arrived in Manali at midnight. We'd left our guest house that morning trying to find the bus stand where the buses took off for the north. In the usual Indian confusion and miss information we found the private bus stand only to be told that the buses didn't leave until 7.00pm. Next hop in a rickshaw for a ride north to the government bus terminal and there we find also the nice luxury Volvo buses also don't leave until late in the afternoon, or we can take the locals bus that leaves in a couple of minutes. We look across in the direction of the bony finger pointing to our bus, a clapped out Tata, with puke still freshly dripping from the open windows. We climbed on board for what was to be a slow and arduous journey. Riding out of Delhi the carnage from the previous night was still strewn across the road.




Trucks and cars that had been involved in accidents were abandoned on the road and at the sides of the road. It doesn't help that although this is a divided highway the term "divided" seems to have been lost on the Indians plying this route. Our bus switched from side to side of the highway and traffic came past us on the wrong side of the road too. For a lunch break the bus driver saw no problem in making a u turn at a gap in the highway and then driving the wrong way down the road.







I don't want to harp on about Honey more than I really have to, so I'll just say that on the bus a strange argument broke out between us. I pledged that when we got to Manali she could go one way and I'd go the other. But seeing that we arrived so late at midnight, I felt bad just leaving her alone to deal with the guest room hawkers that were the only people around at this hour. We ended up getting a room together, things between us still a little strained. During the night the inevitable happened, there was snuggling, groping and then some wild thrashing around. Crap! had I just let my penis lead me into more trouble? Could I ever get rid of her now? In the morning we checked out of the over priced shitty guest house the tout the night before had led us to. I wanted to go up to Old Manali, a small village that the Lonely Planet said was the more laid back tourist area, and Honey was going to find a place still in the same area of Manali. Perfect! She came with me for breakfast into Old Manali and then when I'd found my perfect little guest house she decided she was now going to stay in a cheaper guest house just up the street. Ok I'll give ya a little shot of Honey for now


Old Manali was buzzing with Enfields. Thumpedy thump they went up and down the tiny crowded road outside the little cafe Id parked myself at.The riders an assortment, ranging from competent travelers to stoned hippies.











did i mention pot grows wild here?


One Israeli kid had just rented a bike from up the street. he stalled it outside my cafe and was trying to start it. A local, kindly came to his assistance and showed him the procedure. I later found out that there is a technic for starting Enfields, and its nothing like starting a little jap bike. The local got the bike started but now the kid was revving the hell out of it and wondering why it wouldn't move forward. From the hand gestures, I made out that the Israeli was under the impression that this was a automatic scooter! the local was trying to explain that he needed to hold the clutch in while the local stomped it into gear. I could see what was about to happen and was frantically scrambling for my camera. I'm not callous but really I was too far away to shout "stop" and really if this kid was stupid enough to get on this bike without having a clue how to ride it, then he needed this lesson that was about to unfold. Sure enough he dumps the clutch and gives a big ole twist of the throttle. The bike lurches forward and he fights with the steering and turns directly into a food stand. Luckily no harm, but hopefully he wont be renting a bike in India again.


Indians like a fuss, so when this kid hit the stand within seconds he had a crowd.


During my time in Manali I couldn't believe how many times I saw similar things happening. Im amazed no ones been killed yet.

I'd been in Old Manali a few hours there were Enfields everywhere.



and I started seeing posters of bikes for sale. Travelers finished with their trip and selling their bikes. I looked at one and still not really knowing much about them, was glad that a French guy I'd met earlier came with me to check the bike out. Alex actually runs one of the Enfield tour company's out of Delhi, a really nice guy and runs a top operation. It should be for 2 thousand Euro. But for people on a schedule with that yearly two week holiday these trips are the best way to go. There's no way I could roll into India, try to find a bike, and find all the information you need to take on this challenging trip to Ladahk in a couple of days. If you want to check out his site you can find it here. http://www.vintagerides.com/index.php?lang=en

Alex, much to the annoyance of the big Israeli selling the bike, warned me off it. "Over priced and in need of too much work". Another poster I'd seen describing a '92, bullet 350 with disk brake and luggage racks looked good, but said that the bike wouldn't be available until the following day. I took down the number and called it a quits on bike hunting.

In the morning I called the guy and amazingly got straight through to him. Richard an English guy was staying in a guest house just down the road, and I could come down now and check out the bike. I got that feeling from him, that he was someone I could trust in a deal like this. I rode it and thought these Enfields ride like pigs!. Gear lever on the opposite side was confusing at first with a few times hitting the brake pedal instead of the gear lever and worse hitting the gear lever when i went for the brake!. But the price was right, the bike had everything I wanted and I got him down a few thousand to 23,000rp, a price I found out later was a really good deal. She was mine and now the adventure could really begin.


rogerdodger screwed with this post 09-10-2014 at 06:51 PM
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:41 AM   #13
arn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerdodger
I rode it and thought these Enfields ride like pigs!. Gear lever on the opposite side was confusing at first with a few times hitting the brake pedal instead of the gear lever and worse hitting the gear lever when i went for the brake!.
They do.

So why not hire something that that does not?
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:59 AM   #14
rogerdodger OP
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Originally Posted by arn
They do.

So why not hire something that that does not?
As i write up the rest of the story, you'll see that as geriatric as Enfields are, they do grow on you. A big plus is almost every mechanic in the country knows how to work on them and has the spares to fix them. Originally I was going to get a more reliable Pulsar, but as a foreigner you can't come to India and not do your trip on an Enfield!
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:01 AM   #15
Chanderjeet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn
They do. So why not hire something that that does not?
The eternal RE argumenter
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