Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 290 Bijapur - Solapur

I usually try to arrive at my destination well before sunset and it nearly always works out.
But on the one day when I have a job interview call in the evening the god of puncture, the god of thunder (Thoooooooorrrrr!!!) and the god of hotel room capacity utilization joined forces to keep me from arriving on time. But they didn't succeed, ha!
I left Karnataka and arrived in Maharashtra - which did not welcome me in the best possible way: a few meters after crossing the border bridge I had a puncture in my front wheel. Fortunately it was just a few hundred meters to the border village where I could ask my way to a bicycle repair shop. Before I could unload my panniers I was surrounded by half of the village population. Thus I removed my front wheel under massive surveillance. Once the bicycle repair guys were working on the puncture I had time to chat with the villagers - kind of difficult as none spoke English but we had some good laughs. After I had eaten a very very small watermelon they sold at the next stall, the tube was replaced with an Indian one, I could assemble my bike amidst the crowd and get back on the road. For about 5 minutes. Because then I realized that my front tire was loosing air again. I started swearing at the bicycle repair guys for selling me such a shitty tube and went to the next gas station that had a pump. There the same procedure again: half of the nearby restaurants customers staring at me removing the panniers, turning the bike upside down, removing the front wheel, replacing the tube with one of my spare tubes (after checking the tire for any thorns or glas shards [nothing found]), putting everything together again, getting back to the road. This time I was seriously annoyed by all the spectators, so at some point I told them to get lost - which of course was only partially successful. Anyway, I was back on the road and had to hurry to make it to Solapur on time. The closer I got the less promising the sky looked. First just some dark clouds, then more and more lightning (quite nice to look at actually) and finally once I drove into town rain. Few, but very big drops. If rain in Germany is plingplingplingplingplingplingplingpling, this one here was PLONG! PLONG! PLONG!!! Fortunately not for very long.
Next task: finding a hotel - in most towns this is not a problem, but here: first one full, second one at >2000 rupees more than twice above even my stretched budget limit, third one full, fourth one full, aaaaaargh!!! Finally at the fifth one, Shri Krishna lodge hidden in some side street, I was lucky. Just ten minutes before my call I was finally settled. After the business was done I treated myself to a dinner at the expensive hotels restaurant - everything very good, especially a fantastic cheese naan. Ok, short introduction to Indian bread: chapati & roti are relatively thin (and there seems to be a difference between these both which I never found out), naan is thicker and often comes as butter naan, cheese naan, garlic naan or other varieties, paratha is layered and sometimes stuffed, e.g. as aloo paratha with potatoes, dosa is more pancake style and is usually an own dish (not used as 'cutlery' as the others), puri are small, puffed out breads, usually eaten for breakfast. These are just the ones I learned to differentiate so far, I am sure there are hundreds more.

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