Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bishnupur - Sat. Feb 20 2010

Day 8 cycling: Midnapore - Bishnupur
Distance (DST) = 77 km; Total Ride Time (TRT) = 4hr 54min; Average Speed (AVS) =  15.6 km/hr; MAX = 26.4 km/hr; cadence = 68rpm. Total Distance (ODO) = 593km
A slight hiccup this morning at Hotel Hindusthan when I went to pay the bill. No wonder it was so luxurious - apparently I stayed in the 'special' room which cost Rs1500! My error for not actually confirming the price before I took the room I guess; I'd assumed I'd taken the Rs800 one. After some discussion, it was reduced to Rs1350. 
The delightful Highway 60 of the previous day had disappeared - the road to Bishnupur was mostly bumpy, potholed bitumen, and occasionally just stone & dirt, and I often had to move onto the gravel shoulder to let trucks & buses pass (the last 15 or so kilometres into Bishnupur was quite good) . A strong breeze & a few low hills at times conspired to make it slightly harder riding but it was compensated for by better scenery - the road passed through forested & farming areas, as well as the occasional village. There were quite a few stands of eucalypts on the way - they seem to be insinuating themselves all over India. Enough to sometimes feel like I was cycling through parts of Victoria. Two of the larger towns I passed through - Chandrakona Road & Garbheta - were quite a contrast. The first struck me as a dusty, grimy, traffic-fumed place whereas the second seemed quite pleasant & relaxed. Both towns had lodges - I know which I'd prefer to stay in.
Bishnupur Tourist Lodge was apparently full & the adjacent Heritage Hotel, with its extremely bright & colourful new paint job, was incredibly noisy as they were grinding the marble staircase. I wasn't persuaded by their assurance that the work would only continue until 7pm, and so found a spot at ... well, I'm not sure if it's Udayan Lodge or Hotel Bishnupur as both names are painted outside. At Rs200 it could be described as plain, or basic - no power point even. It's a strange old building, reminiscent of an orphanage or religious institution or even correctional centre.
After a wash & a bit of a rest I found this internet place - unconvincing from the outside. but it obviously is. The mossies here are full-on; I had to apply some Rid Sunblock Plus (containing insect repellent) to be able to continue sitting here. 
While walking here, I passed a signwriter painting a fairly large sign on a fence advertising "The Institue of Advanced ..." in English. Needless to say, I couldn't help pointing out that he'd left out the third 't' in Institute. The piece of paper he was copying from had the same error - lucky for him I guess. A man crossed the road, and of course a crowd developed - I think this fellow had some responsibility for the sign so it will be interesting to see if it's been corrected on my way back (Luckily it wasn't for the Institute of Advanced English).
I've arranged for a man & his pedal rickshaw to show me the sights of Bishnupur tomorrow.

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