Welcome Home & Mexico City

As a boy I would collect rocks that looked like spaceships. Small, blue pieces of granite about the size of a Halloween tootsie roll. I didn’t make rocket noises or pretend to fly them through the air, nothing that fun. To me hiding them from the world was what I did. A rock,  to me was something that would last forever and knowing that I would always have a spaceship shaped rock hidden, waiting for me would make me happy. So when ever I get down, or seem to loose focus I know there are rocks waiting for me….


Moon over eastern Himalayas

America. Feels more like Scandinavia compared to the third world. Clean air, water and large human beings in big cars. What a rich world we live in. It is hard getting used to waking up in the same place. Each morning I find myself packing up my sleeping bag and putting away my tooth brush only to take them out again later in the day.

It is too early to know what my next move will be. A part wants to keep going, Africa, South America but another side tells me to try normal life again for a while….

My mother surprised me with a last minute trip to Mexico City!! Sunday we drive to the Mexican border, walk over the line and take a cab to the airport. We will be there a week .

Though back in America I will continue to post and as long as I pay the annual website fee this blog is my spaceship rock.  Happy holidays!!


The Seven Sisters: Cycling a few of India’s North Eastern States


India’s North East is extremely different from the rest of the country.Neighboring China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh the seven sisters states are countries among themselves. In the last two months I have cycled through 5 of the states and have witnessed pagan festivals, mobs of tribal Christians, and miles of tea estates. Though part of India, the majority of people here don’t look Indian and trace their ancestry back to the  Mongolians. This is where India becomes South East Asia!


Another hard  and dirty day on the road. I am also wearing a white shirt. Imphal, Manipur


Made to order Paan. The paan shop is the Indian equivalent of a cafe.


Local Pan Shop. The NE States, especially Nagaland and Manipur have very good Paan (Areca nut wrapped inside of a betel leaf). Here is a picture of my favorite recipe called “Gua”. Areca nut, coconut, loose tobacco, raisins, cloves and lime paste wrapped into a betel leaf. It has a very refreshing taste that is both slightly stimulating and mildly psychoactive.


The contents are wrapped together is the fresh tasting Betel leaf then chewed. 


Some Christians in Nagaland. I am surrounded by Johns, Marks, Matts and Lukes.


Local Manipur lady busy at her loom, making traditional a blanket.


I am back in the jungles of south east Asia. Rats, fried cockroaches and bats are again sold on the road side and Christmas songs echo from distant churches. Its been a hard 7 days of cycling through mountains and long valleys, and am now in the city of Imphal the capital of Manipur state. Cities in the North East are awful, and filled with trash, exhaust and dust. But the mix in culture makes things interesting. Tomorrow I departure to America, and am looking forward to breathing clean air. Hope to see you all when I return!




Courage among the beast


DCIM100GOPROIt is difficult garnering up the courage to cycle when the view outside looks like this. I spent a rough night in a Nagaland guest house with no air conditioning, and suffered the consequences of a headache and burning eyes when I left the window open for air in a city like this. This is by far one of the most polluted cities I have seen, Dimapur, Nagaland the commute hub of Nagaland. Here, trash piles fill the streets and in local markets I find stacks of rotting, unwanted meat products and fish gills. Everything is stained an orange red color from the dried spit of  local chewing tobacco and the atmosphere a constant haze of burning trash, exhaust and road dust. I find it hard to imagine what life must be like for those living like this every day, and feel sorry for the children that take their first breath here. Why am I so lucky that in 6 days I can board an airplane and in less than 24 hours be in paradise, while millions of people just like me live like this?


A few weeks exploring Bhutan


View from Sengor Pass, Mongar District east Bhutan


A small country broken into districts by large mountains. Most district capitals are located in long beautiful valleys.

I spent just over two weeks exploring Bhutan. And in retrospect I have very conflicting views of the remote country. My first two weeks in Bhutan were spent cycling with a young local named Kunzeng, who following me in a small station wagon as I headed east from Indian/Bhutanese border city of Phuentsholing. He invited me to his home village where I had lunch and breakfast with his grandmother and I spent two days with his high school friends in the Jakar valley. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience of what Bhutan was really like. Staying with locals and camping around fires the Bhutanese seemed to learn more about me than I did from them. Because of the extremely expensive visa , $250 a day, the typical tourists that Bhutanese see are old, retired, rich couples who spend much of their time in the resorts. This was a new experience to my Bhutanese friends, and I was constantly told that they had never met someone like me.


Kuenzang and Jigme my friends in Jakar, Bumthang valley.

When I was not staying with locals I slept in small roadside guest houses filled with Bhutanese truck drivers. I was introduced to the local vice early on and spent many evenings drinking rice wine cooked with scrambled eggs and smoking the local hand rolled hash.From dawn till dusk I was alone on the roads and could explore at my whim.  The mountains, rivers, and valleys are stunning and in many ways I couldn’t have found a better cycling destination. However, I was completely dismayed by the treatment of Indians who make up the majority of Bhutan’s work force. Bhutan’s roads are built and maintained by an all Indian work force, and they live in communities of shacks built out of old oil barrels next to the road side. Their tools are extremely primitive, Indian women and children pound rocks all day with hammers to make gravel, and men make road side fires to bring large barrels of tar to melting point.


Here is a stake of oil barrels near a roadside Indian village, After empty the Indian labors will flatten these barrels out to make paneling for their homes.

In the many rice farms I encountered Bhutanese no longer use yaks to till the soil, and instead use petrol fueled power tillers. Saying that the old method was causing “too much suffering to the animal”. Meanwhile the Indians are breaking rocks with the bare hands to make the roads smoother! The Bhutan/India borders are wide open with Bhutanese going out to buy cheaper Indian products and Indians coming in large numbers hoping to find work.


Lhuntse Dzong. A Dzong is an administrative building half monastery, half district office. Each district has its own Dzong in a similar design. Buildings around a square courtyard.


Fall orange plants found above 3,500 meters


Bridge across the famous “Burning Lake”, Bumthang county.


Rice fields near downtown, Paro city.


This is the most common site in Bhutan, Indians fill all the labor positions, and live in small shacks  near the highways. My Ortlieb panniers completely came apart and was sewn together by this cobbler on the streets of Phuentsholing in west Bhutan.


Bhutan’s highest pass, 4,000 meters. Trongsa/Bumthang border


Roadside Stupa protecting travelers from the mountain spirits.


More of the beautiful eastern Bhutan. Anyone making the trip should put the east on the top of their list.

I was lucky to obtain an official guest invitation to Bhutan so was able to skip the formalities associated with a typical tourist visa. However my brother was not so when I arrived in Paro two weeks later we got to experience what it is like to be a tourist in Bhutan. Being a tourist in Bhutan means that you have to stay in a government regulated hotel, eat a designated restaurants and visit places deemed tourist worthy. You are also give a guide which will be with you all the time. After two weeks of Bhutanese freedom having to have a guide and to follow regulations made Bhutan seem more like a museum exhibit than a real country. We went to all the tourist places, ate buffet meals in hotels, and spent too much time being followed by our guide. However being with my brother made things OK because we could at least share our views of the tourist imposed version of Bhutan.


Standing below the famous Tiger Nest Monastery outside of Paro city. Many tourists only walk as far as their cameras are allowed and never venture inside the monastery.



Bhutanese visiting the Dzong must wear their official attire called a “Go”. Tour guides will usually wear their GO as do the older generation and other members of the government. The majority of people in the cities however wear western clothes.


Bridge built by famous Tibetan bridge builder.


Typical courtyard inside a Dzong.

My brother and I tried in vain to visit something not on the tourist map, we even came up with an idea of going to a textile school. However this too was filled with tourists taking photos of Bhutanese children making sculptures of Buddhist deities while playing video games on their cellphones. I feel that as a tourist Bhutan will show you how it wants to be seen by the rest of the world, as a small country with a strong culture that continues to teach the old ways. However this is only sustainable with; an extremely small population (about 700,000 Bhutanese), a large exploited Indian workforce, and extremely expensive tourist visa (the revenue generated from tourism is second only to Hydroelectricity).  For example a typical Bhutanese meal consists of several types of dried meat, all coming from India. Slaughter houses are banned in Bhutan so all meat products which make up the majority of Bhutanese meals are shipped into the country from India. Butcher shops are all run by Indians and all the meat products contain large amounts of chemicals. Alcohol however is sold throughout the country and many Bhutanese start drinking at noon.


This was probably the best thing that my brother and I got to see/do in Bhutan. Totally off of the tourist path we met some locals who invited into their puffed rice factory.



Brothers look to the Himalayas for respite from a facade.

To me the real Bhutan and Bhutanese culture is in the east where few farmers still use yaks to plow their fields and old women kit clothes on wooden looms near the roadsides. These people make only a few dollars a day and subsist on trading rice and vegetables for other necessary goods. I am now heading to explore the eastern states of India Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and will be home for Christmas.

To Bhutan


A pretty picture, this is cow dung mixed with hay stuck to long reeds. After drying the product is used in the kitchen for cooking fuel.


Fresh harvested rice drying in the sun.


Nepal’s southern valley, known as the “Terai” region is very fertile and full of swamps. The mosquitoes couldn’t get much worse.

Tomorrow will be my last day in Nepal, continuing east  will cross into the Indian state of Bengal before entering Bhutan. In my month traveling Nepal I have really gotten to enjoy the company of many kind individuals and have spent days traveling in the remote Himalayas. The weather could have been a lot better, and though I traveled through many northern regions looking for views of the great mountains, I have only seen Annapurna and Everest. (Each was seen for only a few minutes before being obscured by clouds).K2 should be visible from Darjeeling but my luck with weather so far has not be great. Will write again from Bhutan!


I will miss these treacherous mountain roads. A few days ago 6 trekkers died in a landslide not far from my location.


Local rice mill. Rice is the staple in Nepal and sells for about $0.40 for a Kilo. I personally find the rice very bland with a dry texture that makes the rice spread all over the plate . Meals here in Nepal usually consist of a small bit of vegetables and maybe a bit of beans paired with a huge helping of rice. If the Nepal only knew of the fragrant and sticky rice found in South East Asia!!


My grandfather tells me not to cook in my tent. This is a local lady cooking over a wood fire in a small mud cottage. This meal consisted of cooked corn meal and goat jerky, the jerky is drying over the stove.



Sunrise, one of the clearest days I have encountered in my 30 days in Nepal.


Hindu Godesses, Goat Sacrifices and Kathmandu


Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu. The Stupa was badly damage in last years earthquake and has been under construction since. It is located on the ancient trade route from Tibet and was built around 600 C.E.

Kathmandu is that invokes thoughts of exotic Buddhist and Hindu monasteries, surrounded by snow covered mountains. To me its a city of memories. During my family’s Buddhist pilgrimage in 1992 we spent a least a month in the city; visiting monasteries and traveling about the busy narrow roads. As a boy I clearly remember circum-ambulating the Buddhist Stupa in Boudha, eating Tibetan dumplings (Mo Mo), and playing with my brother in the courtyard of the small guest house we frequented. At 8 years old, Nepal was so different from the other foreign countries I had visited and was shocked to see beggars with leprosy sleeping on the streets, and little children without parents looking through trash for food. At the time, in America, my school friends were talking about BMX bikes and baseball, and here I was on the other side of the world looking into the eyes of children my age who would spend the rest of their lives living on the streets.


Downtown riverfront homes

The city seems to have changed very little in the last 25 years. Roads are still in extremely poor condition and power outages occur daily throughout. Looking down at Kathmandu from the mountains above the city looks as if it were on fire. The whole valley which makes up the city and its districts was covered in a cloud of thick smoke from vehicle exhaust and burning trash. Upon arrival I descended into what seemed like a wasteland and slowly navigated my way through a muddy dirt track filled with pot holes and trucks carrying loads of gravel. Soon I progressed into a more downtown area and found myself in a large market full of goats. Almost as if this were some sort of petting zoo, people were moving all about inspecting the bellies and backs of these four legged creatures and leading them around on rope leashes. Buses and cars drove passed with goats tied to their roof, I even saw a lady holding a goat on her lap as she squeezed on to the back of a moped.

My first stop in the city was the Myanmar Embassy and after the 30 minutes of pedaling through the city to get there I was greeted by a friendly Burmese Ambassador who asked me if I wanted to use their shower.  After a few inquires I was told that the Indian/Myanmar border permit which I was hoping to get would not be issued to me and that if I wanted to get a Myanmar visa I would have to fly into the country (No Myanmar on this trip).  Worse, I also found out that I had arrived the day before the Hindu holiday of “Dashain”, (a 7 day festival celebrating the Hindu Goddess Kali’s triumph over evil). This was one of Nepal’s largest holidays meaning all businesses would be closed, hotels would be sold out and prices of everything would be doubled.


Early morning pilgrims Boudha

The population of Kathmandu is close to 1 million yet when pedaling the streets it would be easy to fool your self into thinking was 10 million. The traffic is terrible! The entire country of Nepal still does not have a reliable source of electricity so there are no traffic signals! Intersections are therefore large round-abouts with traffic going in all directions.  I have found that this can be OK during non-rush hour periods but during all roads are backed up for miles with local traffic police trying to guide traffic. This turns the small dirt sidewalks into runways for motorcycles trying to cut the barrage of vehicles. Pedestrians have little choice but to jump out of the way as the bikes honk their way through groups of people. Other than the intersections the traffic problem can be attributed to the lack of bus stops! Throughout the city buses stop in all lanes picking up and dropping of passengers making the traffic even worse.
All this chaos is made possible by the use of the horn. “Honk Honk”- I am here, “Honk Honk” – I am turning, “Honk Honk” – get out of the way. I have quickly learned the distinction in sound between the horns of trucks, cars and motorbikes, and have found that it is not uncommon for a truck to honk once as a warning, then push you out of the road. Side and rear view mirrors are rarely used, and it seems that it is the drivers responsibility to “Honk” when caution is needed. In Kathmandu the automotive horn may add more to the safety of the people than seat belts!GOPR8512.JPG


A smaller Buddhist Stupa “Little Boudhanath” a few km south of Boudha.

Pedaling into Boudha, the Buddhist hub of the city, I found the historic Stupa  surrounding by wooden scaffolds. Last years earthquake had extensively damaged the Stupa and it was no longer possible to walk up to the temple mount. The square surrounding the Stupa however was exactly as I remembered it. Full of Tibetans selling jewelry and butter lamps. The same restaurants that were frequented in ’92 were still in business and the little guest house was still there, but completely  booked for the holiday.


Nepali women light butter lamps on the early morning streets of Boudha.

Boudha seems to be the only place where businesses remained open as outside  everything closed, temples filled and sidewalks became covered in goats blood as the Hindu majority prepared for the holiday. The once busy streets became quiet and the honking slowly faded. Unexpectedly my rear skewer which holds my wheel on broke! Trying to find an open bike shop was like looking for something open on Christmas! Pushing my bike I soon passed a motorcycle garage where I became friends with the owner. “You will not find a bike shop till next Friday” he said. “But I can give you a ride back to Boudha on my motorbike”. Putting Esperanza over my right shoulder I climbed on to the back of his bike and we took off through the city. We passed miles and miles of closed businesses and it looked as if the city were abandoned.  Soon we reached a different part of town where everything was open, shopping malls, clothing shops, Trekking gear warehouses, etc. “This is the foreigner section of the city” He said “it’s called Thamel and many Muslims live there”.  That explained the open businesses, and we soon passed a bike shop that sold me what I needed. We continued on weaving through traffic with my tires spinning in the wind, and I wondered what life would be like living in the busy city.


I have spent the last three days in the city and have managed to alleviate the problem with my laptop. It still rains everyday blocking the views of the mountains but tomorrow I am headed on a circuit to the base of Everest. From there I will pedal back into India and into Bhutan. I will write again soon!

Himalayan Intimidation

I don’t think I would make a good mountain climber. I am reckless and have too much attachment on reaching the summit. I have always been fond of mountain climbing movies and books. As a boy  watched the film K2, countless times with my father, and always dreamed on going on a Himalayan expedition. Later I would read books by Krakauer, Messner, and Vestures, and learn of tragedies associated with these great peaks. It seemed to me that the only climbers that come back are those that have the disciple to turn back when things become unsafe. If that were the case I should have turned back  on my first day when in the remote Himalayan roads things began to go bad.


First paved road in 10 days

It was the morning of my second day, the once smooth paved road had become a large puddle and after pushing through endless mud I finally came upon a somewhat dry descent. Excited at finally being able to ride I picked up speed started splashing through puddles. Soon however I came upon a large muddy section of the road and decided to ride the thin smooth shoulder that had been used by pedestrians. Still riding fast I lost balance and slide off of the road. I jumped off my bike and fell for what seemed like a while before landing in a large muddy field, upon hitting the ground all I could think of was that my bicycle was headed straight for me , I quickly moved and “bang” my loaded bike came crashing down and landed right where I had fallen. Luckily my legs were tucked in and I avoided being hit by the  falling mass of 65 kilos. Things happened so fast that I looked around to find that I had fallen ten feet into a muddy corn field. Unscratched but covered in mud, I looked at my bike to find that one of my pannier’s hooks had broken and that my racks were bent from the impact. I slowly put things back together and waited for someone to cross the road above. Soon I heard the sound a man yelling at cattle and I yelled up to him from below. He peaked out over the edge of the road and saw me covered in mud below. I motioned to my bike and luggage and he quickly threw down a braided rope that he was using as a whip. Using the braided rope he pulled my panniers and bicycle back to the road. Walking around I found a few foot holds and climbed back up. A bit shaken I got back on the bike and continued down the road. A few hours later I realized how lucky I was and decided that I would drink the stream water directly, rather than waiting till evening to boil it.


steep muddy roads with no barriers

Two days later, after some of the hardest cycling of my life, and some extreme gastro intestinal disturbances I came around the corner of my mountainous route to find that the road had collapsed in a recent storm, leaving nothing but a steep track over a 50 meter fall into a raging river. I sat for a long time and contemplated what to do. I thought about turning around but couldn’t imaging riding all the difficult roads back again. I walked the track a couple of times and each time I told myself that it was too dangerous and that I would turn back, yet… each time I found myself sitting and waiting by the bicycle thinking things over.


Sometimes there is a bridge across rivers

Finally an old man showed up carrying a large bag of corn meal on his head. He watched me walk the trail and asked me in sign language if I thought he could do it. I gave him a throat slitting gesture and said “dangerous”. He repeated the word “dangerous” as if he knew what I was saying then tightened the bag on his head and proceeded to cross. I sat by the bike in safety and watched as he navigated his way on the rocky trail. Most of the trail was not too dangerous as there was adequate walking space, however at about halfway  there was a steep section that were straight up the mountain near a small stream here the track became muddy with loose rock. This was the section that was directly over a 50 meter fall into a raging river. When the old man got to this section he literally stopped and began calling to me to help him. He would put his foot up the trail then it would slide down and he from his voice I could tell that he was trembling.  At first I didn’t know what to do, as if I went out there what could I do from below him? He would try to pass me his bag or he would fall down on me then we would both fall.  Worried for my own safety I hesitated and did nothing.


Roads become rivers

All of the sudden an old lady showed up on the other side of the trail.  She called to him and he handed her his bag of corn, she quickly grabbed the bag and climbed to safely, the old man quickly following her. They were gone over the ridge for a while, and I thought again to myself “Do not do this”.  Then just as she had shown up before she appear again, this time with a baby on her back and a small goat on a lease in front of her. I watched as she with ease picked up the goat and crossed the loose vertical precipice to my side. (Both arms were cradling the goat and the baby seemed to be asleep on her back). When she approached me she gave me strength, I can do this I thought, and I decided that I would have to make 4 trips back and forth in order to get all my gear to the other side.


This is the trail formed after the road was washed out.

I decided that I would carry my bike across first as this was probably the most difficult thing and wanted all my strength. I thought about tying a rope to the bike and pulling it across but quickly realized that if it fell rope or no there was no way I would get it back. Removing all the panniers and putting the bike over my left shoulder I jumped around. With one arm holding the bike I could have my dominate right arm free to assist in case of struggle. I began to walk the trail and soon was at the small stream that marked the point of no return.  Across the stream was where the man got held up, the point where it was too difficult to turn around, especially with a bike on your back. I found myself repeating a Buddhist mantra,”Om Mani Bhimi Hum” which I only do when I am extremely scarred, I took on last breath and pushed on. My legs worked well, and the adrenaline must have provided me with extra energy for as I climbed the steep section seemed easier and was shocked when I found my self standing on the other side with the bike still on my shoulder. I walked back across and to my amazement I found the old lady, the one with the goat and baby standing near my panniers. She made a carrying gesture to me then grabbed my two rear panniers (the bigger heavier ones) and started across. I grabbed my two small front bags and followed her across. On the other side I tried to give her money but she refused and smiled at me, she then pointed at her head and made a crazy gesture and laughed. I was now on the other side and there was no way I was going to turn back.


Local man selling lunch on the remote roads.


Phewa Lake Pokhara


Strangely enough I met a few Brits volunteering at a school


Endless green quite valleys

I am now in the second largest Nepali city of Pokhara. My laptop was destroyed en-route and my gear is in poor condition. My health however is fine and I will soon be in the capital Kathmandu. I will be there for several days waiting for a Burmese visa. My posts will be sporadic for the next few weeks as internet cafe’s are sparse, but I am OK and have survived the Himalayas.


Enter: Nepal and the Himalayas


Local breakfast, fried curry potatoes

I have finally departed from the low, swampy jungle lands on northern India. Camping along busy roads each night in a hot, breeze-less marsh surrounded by mosquitoes, I patiently waited to cross into Nepal. Nepal is culturally very similar but lacks the extremely dense populated areas of India. Traffic is less, locals are less inquisitive and the Annapurna mountains range in the distance. I am now a few days ride from the Annapurna circuit trail and plan to cycle to the base of the holy mountain.


Cacauphony of horns, black snot, animal behavior and Hindu Ashrams


Under a hot sun, traffic, trash, cows and noise for miles.

India is by far the most difficult country for cycling. The traffic alone would scare most from taking the streets on a two wheeler, combined with the summer heat, pollution, terrible road conditions and masses of people you get an experience like no other. India is a world of its own, unique and always surprising.


Girl wandering through traffic looking for Indian Rupees.


Food stalls on the Ganga river, Rishikesh

My first impression was absolute chaos as I made my way through rush hour on a muddy, dirt road packed with vehicles. Motorcycles zipped through, cows blocked lanes napping in the shade, beggars tapped on windows seeking food, and cow shit…. everywhere. Meanwhile the sun burns through the clouds and temperatures sore, the humidity is 100% and every gas powered vehicle around you is honking. The locals have become so accustomed to the noise that it no longer seems to bother them, and I find that they rarely look before crossing the street. Without a bell or a horn this makes things extremely difficult as I often have to yell to keep people from crossing the road in front of me.


Everyone seems o be wearing a Turban here, but there are very few Muslims.


Things get better with altitude, Dharamshala 6,000 feet


Temple of the Dali Lama, Dharamshala is his official residence away from Tibet.

It is quite shocking. Cities consist of miles of traffic, with shanty towns built out of cardboard and plastic along the river. Everywhere you go a holy building, be it a Muslim Mosque, Hindu Ashram or Sikh Gurdwara peaks out of sprawl and can be seen from a distance. Devotional music (Kirtan) played on harmonium, tabla, bell and voice echos through speakers in grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies. Hindu ascetics, with long beards, dreaded hair and long orange robes walk the streets barefoot seeking alms.


Sikh Gurdwara, Langaar, meal time


Women rolling dough for deep fried Puri

Within all this I have found sanctuary in the Sikh temples known as Gurdwaras. Here travelers are welcomed and given a safe place to sleep as well as an evening meal free of charge. The Sikhs are often surprised to see a foreigner on a bicycle but quickly invite me in, often times giving me a room to sleep in. The Gurdwaras are usually large cylindrical white domes easily seen from a far, upon entering your head is covered with a turban or bandanna and feet and hands are washed before entering the main hall. Inside the main hall a holy text called the Gurbani is placed on a table covered in bright cloth.


New Sikh friends.

Religious Sikhs forego cutting their hair, as it is regarded as holy. Men and women cover their extremely long hair with a turban (white, yellow and orange being the norm) or shawl and always carry a small sword or knife called a Kirpaan at their side. Men often tuck their extremely long beards into their turban. Their practice includes reciting the Gurbani, playing and singing Kirtan, and prayer. I have found them to be generous, kind and honest. I often look for Sikh businesses as they will not inflate the price for a foreign customer.


Public water fountain

Everywhere else bargaining is a must! Fruits and vegetables are all purchased on small roadside carts. My first day I was charged double for everything, still thinking prices were cheap. A kilo of eggplant costs $0.50, tomatoes $0.20 and onions $0.10. Local food is abundant yet monotonous. Breakfast is some sort of toasted bread, or scone with a cup of super sweet milk chai, lunch and dinner consist of chapatis (whole wheat tortillas), Dal (Legume pulse with spice), mush boiled vegetables, and white rice (Basmati). To get good vegetables and ample protein I have to cook for myself, boiling eggs and mixing Dal with eggplant. Yogurt has become my go to during hot afternoons when I am hungry but can not take the rich Indian diet. The locals have quite a sweet tooth, with shops selling sweet fried dough balls, and Chai, Coffee and black tea always being loaded with sugar. As a result the typical Indian body has small legs, skinny arms and a large belly. On hot afternoons you can see Indians eating buttered chapatis and rich curries in the shade of a small restaurant. To me their diet caters more to a cold atmosphere, rather than the tropical. I miss the sticky rice, bamboo shoots and roasted meats of Laos.


Huge  batch of Choley. spiced Chickpeas

Everyday is a sensory overload, with smells of spice, composting waste, incense, smog, and sweat. In cities and towns I often find myself surrounded by locals touching my bicycle, pulling on panniers, and grabbing brake levers. Disheveled kids often chase me down small streets and catch me before I enter busy intersections. There is no doubt to me that India is by far the most challenging, but there is also much to offer in culture, religion and history.

I am now in the holy city of Rishikesh, made famous to west by the Beatles trip to India in the late 60’s. Foreigners travel the streets looking for Ashrams, Gurus and yoga teachers. The Nepal border is 400 km away, and I look forward to a respite from the heat, and chaos of the cities.The foothills will soon make way to the Himalayas.DCIM100GOPRO