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.
But SOMEONE GET THESE PEOPLE A PEN!!
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".