Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Day 21 cycling: Udaipur to Ranakpur
Distance: 102.88 km
Ride time: 6:27 hrs
Average Speed: 16.31 km/hr
Maximum speed: 49.1 km/hr
Total cycled: 1969 km
Between towns distance: 1769

It was good to get back on the bicycle after a week's R&R in Udaipur. It actually rained last night in Udaipur, and occasional drops fell on me as I cycled, taking the edge off the heat. I really enjoyed the ride & the scenery on the way, despite some hilly bits. The first part of the journey to Gogunda was along the same stretch of road that I cycled into Udaipur. The last 15km was largely downhill, as Ranakpur is tucked away in a wooded valley. The Jain temples were good to see, but I'm not sure that they were worth a 100km cycle, especially as I'd already seen and been impressed by those at Delwara (Mt Abu) and elsewhere. I stayed at the relatively lavish Ranakpura Hill Resort for 2 nights, after having managed to beat them down to Rp 700 for a quite nice room. They even had a swimming pool, which I sat alongside for an hour or so trying to even up my odd cyclists' suntan.

People were very friendly, waving, smiling and calling out, but the kids became exceptionally tiresome after a while, with their "one pen, one pen!" cries (and the occasional "one rupee!" and even a "shampoo!"?). The children will see you coming from the top of a hill, and start screaming like banshees as they hurtle down shrieking "one pen, one pen". At first I thought I was mishearing; that perhaps it was Hindi for "welcome, stranger on a bike, to our village", but the outstretched hand, the occasional tugging at the bicycle, and even running behind me for several minutes with hand outstretched dispelled that thought. Several times I cycled past obviously better bred children who would calmly, with one hand behind their back & the other imperiously outstretched, request "one pen". And this occurred almost the entire way from Gogunda to Ranakpur (and to Khumbalgarh). People who know me will know I'm not a cynical man, but I did begin to wonder if the delightful "bye, bye" that many people said as I cycled past was not perhaps "buy, buy".

1 comment:

One Rupee said...

Lucky you! After all these "hello, one rupee, one pen" you still remember your name, I am all mixed up and just can't recall mine anymore. Worst of all since I arrived in Goa it has mutated to "taxi", so checking in in a hotel has become a nightmare: before signing in I ALWAYS have to consult my passport to make sure I write down the correct name...