Midway in to the trip and certain patterns were beginning to emerge. First the daily drenching from the monsoon rains. By now we were heading up the West coast into Goa and the rain was relentless. Team Iced Tea & Notorious Bhaji’s smugness at having one of the few rickshaws fitted with an electric windscreen wiper soon faded when it lost the will to live and decided to flop upside down and polish the headlight for the remainder of the trip.
Then there was the filling station rigmarole. At the fuel stops it seemed at least four attendants were required to perform a fill up. One to pour the fuel in, one to measure out the oil, one to count out the money, and one to watch what the other three were doing. Just one fill up could take half an hour. On one occasion Team Iced Tea & Notorious Bhaji decided to take matters in to their own hands and promptly grabbed the hose from the pump and filled their tank. The attendant stood quietly and respectfully until theyhad completely filled the tank and then informed them that they’d just put diesel in. It took them another half an hour to drain seven litres of diesel from the tank and another half an hour to get the attendant to fill up again. Oh how we laughed.
The other familiar sight was coming across fellow teams parked up at the side of the road with all manner of mechanical problems from punctures, to exhaust failures or snapped cables. But then there was Team Smokey and the Pandit. Better known as Team Catastrophe. Not content with the proud accolade of first crashers they then took things up a notch by having a head on collision with a motorcycle.
Thankfully the motorcyclist and his passenger escaped with only cuts and bruises. The rickshaw came off far worse and was actually undriveable since the front had been bashed in so far the handlebars would not turn.
Of more concern to the motorcyclist was the fact that he was on his way to his own engagement party. He settled for 1,000 rupees and made a rapid exit. Unfortunately for him, by Hindu tradition, the crash was a rather bad omen for his pending marriage.
Team Catastrophe enjoyed another day in the press car.