... so how come I'm still in Nasik? Well, I've been feeling pretty smug for some time that I've not had a bad gut during my last 3 or 4 forays into South East Asia/ Asia, and that somehow cycling & drinking lots of coca cola was helpful. Rudely shattered last night, and since then I've been spending most of my time, when not on the loo, lying on my bed reading & watching TV & generally feeling sorry for myself.I've taken a bit of a gamble rushing out to teh internet cafe to write this.
I went for a test run yesterday on my bicycle to see if I could at least find the right road to Pardi. I enquired of a bunch of youths on the outskirts of Nasik whether it was indeed the Pardi road; they assured me it was & were very helpful - offered me a cup of chai, some food, invited me for dinner and drew me a map (unfortunately the usual map conventions of north, south and so on didn't seem to apply). Nevertheless they explained that there were 2 hotels between here & Pardi, showed me roughly where and even wrote me a note in Marathi (they don't use Hindi where I'm headed & are unlikely to speak any English) to show to people if I get stuck (hopefully it doesn't say "you get fucked mister!"... ). They also wrote the names of some of the towns in Hindi, including a number not listed on my maps, which may be helpful if I get lost - apparently there are a number of crossroads on the way (indicated by spirals on their map). They were a little discouraging in shaking their heads, saying that a lot of it was a forest area, quite hilly, and that it was a bad area at night that I was heading into ("you'll get robbed")and that the locals were into "black magic" and other bad things. Gulp.
Again, they wanted my personal details (and looked a bit sorry for me when I explained I had no issue) and were rapt when I took a photo of them all ... there must have been a dozen or so crowding around by the time I left.
You do begin to feel like a celebrity - a group of school kids cycled alongside me while I was out riding yesterday, asking the usual: "who is your favourite Australian cricketer?" and "what do you think of Tendulkar?". Me: "fantastic!", of course, although I have toyed with being mean and asking "who's he?". He's the number one sporting hero here for sure. And with all these autograph requests, I'm beginning to feel like Shane Warne. Luckily no-one's asked me to play cricket yet.
Well, gotta run, if you know what I mean.