Aung San Suu Kyi and me travel blog

 

The kid who helped me with my luggage


November 13, 2013

Everything is filled with wonderment and enjoyment. I am finally traveling after leaving Canada 45 days ago.

Suu Kyi is carrying too much weight but everything she carries are the necessities to carry us around the world – nothing more – other than a few souvenirs. I picked up a softball size piece of sandalwood from the burning ghat that Raul and I went to the other day. One should be burnt with sandalwood but many can’t afford it so there are vendors selling small pieces of it near the ghats. I paid 80 Rs.

I can almost fix anything with the meager tools I carry. I have used every one of them and not had to buy a single piece – other than the die last year because an Indian chap was ‘helping me had cross threaded a hole he was trying to put a bolt into.

To cut down on the unsprung weight on the front end I removed one of Suu Kyi’s front disk brakes. She came with two. I should have brought another set of shoes. I will buy an extra pair at the next BMW Motorrad shop. I am mindful of using the rear brake more because of it.

The lack of pre-load is ridiculous . She sags four inches when loaded and I sit on her. That’s a lot of lost suspension. I will have Geoff order me a yet a bigger set of custom springs for the front and a huge custom spring for the rear.

I am writing at a dabha/truck stop/chai walla in a town called Naugachia . I think that’s the spelling. My eye sight is going I can’t quite make it out on the map. My Hindi is getting better. I can understand a lot more than I can speak.

I am finally writing in my note book again. This is great stuff. One, I remember a lot more and two, it avoids the uncomfortable staring contests with 15 Indian men watching me drink chai. Brilliant. For some reason I think of my good friend Brett E. when I pull out the note book. He sure is in such a better place now. So is my friend Brett T. I am so happy for both of them.

The road out of Khagria was all new AND with a shoulder! This is both good and bad. The Indian will drive as fast as the road allows him.

This area of Bihar is very very poor. It is getting better. Now, a lot have shoes. There is widespread flooding here because of the cyclone that hit Orrisa a month ago. Many people that live here live in round grass huts. The square ones are grass too. There are a lot of brick kilns but they must be shipping the bricks elsewhere.

I am starting to see larger and larger banana plantations. They are not in season. I don’t see signs of the plastic bags used to cover green bananas to make them ripen quicker as I saw in Central America. Maybe they don’t know this trick yet. I hope they never find out.

There is a gecko in the can. I wish he would eat some of the spiders.

The Sultan Biri bidies are better than 502.

No one will ever fuck with my shit when I stop regardless of how big the crowd gets. Most only come to my shoulder in height, the tattoos, long hair and best of all Suu Kyi make most stare in wonderment. I tried to get a little girl to sit on my lap and she ran away crying. The sound of Suu Kyi scares the dogs.

People always ask the price of Suu Kyi. I tell them I bought it for two lak Rs. [20,0000] but the show room cost is 10 lak [100,0000]. I tell them there was lots of damage when I bought her and I spent a year fixing her. I am a bike mechanic walla..

I am now in a room at a hotel. I hope I don’t get bed bugs. Mosquito bites and other mysterious bites I don’t mind but bed bugs are the worst. I hate those fuckers. With a capital ‘F’. 46 in a dingy hotel in the middle of Bihar, India, alone, worrying about bed bugs – again. When is this shit going to end? I hope never.

I saw the remnants of the worst head on crash I have ever seen. Full on impact. Lots of blood. It must have happened yesterday. It was a smallish bus and a truck loaded with lime. I should have stopped to take pictures.

I don’t know the name of the town I am staying at. I left at 8am and rode until 3pm. I drove around until 4pm looking for zap straps. Didn’t find any. I went to at least six shops. Frustrated I said fuck it, I will find them sooner or later. I did find a new bicycle tire tube though. I want to fix up the front end a little more. Leaving town I saw a hotel so I thought I would spend the night here. It’s out of town a little thus less looky loo’s. Next to the hotel is a small car shop that installs stereo systems among other things. When I was putting Suu Kyi in her sleeping bag I looked down and saw a broken zap strap. I went over and asked the guy if he sold these and he said yes! WOW – good luck. I took the headlight off, to get better access to one of the breaks and wrapped it up with my new live rubber, zapped it up and all the wires too.

The room is a shit hole. The guy said 650 Rs. and I turned to walk away and I heard 500. OK – I’ll stay the room has carpeted floors. When I am I transit like this I will stay in any dump. Even outside if there is a mosquito net but if I am staying for a few days I want hot running water, AC and a TV that gets BBC or Al Jezzeria. The mattress is so thin that a micro thermarest lite would be better. What can I do?

I stopped for chai at one place today and ended up having four. The fucking guy said 60 Rs. “Hey Baba come on now – 60 Rs.” I gave him 30 Rs. I had a following of at least 50 people and when I was walking back to Suu Kyi I was muttering to myself, “60 fucking rupees, what the hell.” The English speaking follower over heard me and said, “Did you pay him 60 Rs. for four chai?” I said, “No, he wanted 60 but I only gave him 30!” I pointed in one direction, panch rupeea [5 Rs. – the real price] and another direction panch rupeea and another direction panch ruppeea and then at the shop - 15 repeea??? My follower and several of the crowd who understood me got pretty upset. I couldn’t see the chai walla but I knew that this was not good for him. While I was having my chai the English speaking lad was asking me questions and translating to the crowd. They always ask, “What do I think of India?” I always say nothing – I just stand up, have them stand up and give them a big hug and a kiss them on their shoulder and tell them that they are my brothers and sisters and thank them for allowing me into their country to experience their culture and way of life. EVERYONE loves to hear and see this – it IS the truth. It IS the people that make India, India. As I hopped on Suu Kyi the English speaking chap reappeared and handed me 10 rupees. I didn’t see what happened between the crowd and the chai walla but I ended up only paying 5 Rs. a glass. The difference between $0.25 and $0.08 is nothing to us in the west but it was the principle. I thanked everyone and wished them the best of luck for everything they do.

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