Holy cows. Many times before this trip we talked to people and agreed “Yes, it will be hard.” Such a simple statement….but until you are here….in the heat, the insane traffic, and the masses of people, there is no way to comprehend it. An Indian man rode up next to us on a motor cycle and said “Ah, India. Maximum village.” And that is truly what it is.
When we decided to start our journey from Agra, it was because New Dehli seemed too big, unsafe, and unmanageable. What we quickly realized after our first few pedals was that Agra was a huge city as well, hectic and difficult to manage, even if it’s smaller by Indian standards.
We managed to navigate the traffic and make it out of the city to the countryside, where we finally got to see rural India. But no matter how rural, it never failed….when we stopped to take a break, we were immediately surrounded by people. And that is how its been, every day since. Nevertheless, they have mostly been kind, helpful when they can be, and good natured.
It’s hot here. Really hot. 105 degrees on average. Every good shady spot on the side of the road is taken up by a truck stop or kiosk with random stuff. It’s amazing how the people here can just take the heat……they’re tough. AC is as rare as internet, and electricity isn’t a constant. But everyone has a cell phone, and they all want pictures with us.
The roads have been really good, surprisingly. We have learned to ride on the left side if the road and pedaled the main road from Agra to Kanpur, and luckily for us it is full of all types of traffic…everything from people walking, to other bikes, to donkey/camel carts, boars, camels, motorcycles, rickshaws, buses, trucks….and maybe about 10 other types I can’t think of at the moment. But they are all used to each other, and once you learn the system it all works.
The best part has definitely been the people. Very curious, cooperative, questioning, and quick to help when we need it. That is of course if they can understand what we’re saying…there has been a serious language barrier that has been frustrating for both sides. But we are learning Hindi, one word at a time.
So far the bicycle has been our Vahana, as it always is… transporting us from crowded tourist cities, off the beaten path to meet some wonderful, genuine people. We’re not sure what this fabulous and frustrating country has left in store for us, but we are eager to find out.