For breakfast, I went to the same place I had dinner at yesterday. Was joined by a guy who soon started asking questions, too. At the end (after 5 minutes when he had finished his tea), he gave me his phone number and wanted to know mine. He offered me that I could call him whenever I had a problem or needed some info about India.
A hot and dry but successful cycling day followed. Successful because I managed to find my way out of chaotic Bhiwandi, as well as find a hotel in Wada. The ride through dry and inhospitable looking land was painless if a little exhausting. It seems the Australian sun creme doesn’t cope too well with the Indian sun.
Everyone passing by looks curiously at me. Every now and then someone on their motorbike would slow down next to me and start asking questions: Where are you going? Why? Why are you cycling? One of these guys apparently had a break after talking to me and passed by again a bit later, exactly at the time when I had a break myself. He stopped and asked concerned: What happened? I had to convince him that I just wanted to drink some water.
Then there was the odd shout: ‘nice body’ or ‘handsome’, from boys! I might have misunderstood them, though (but I doubt it). I don’t think they were gay (homosexuality is illegal in India). I saw quite some guys walking the street holding hands or one having an arm over the other’s shoulder. Again, I don’t think they were gay. I guess it is just a sign of friendship.
According to the map there should have been some mountains on the way to Wada, but fortunately it was at most hilly terrain and it would have been an easy ride at milder temperatures.
One thing I learned today: when you’re lost or need an english speaker for some other reason, just stop near some people and look confused. Folks will gather around you and eventually someone with a fairly good command of the English language will come forward and ask how they can help. If that doesn’t work, the next best thing is to look for someone who looks important. Police dudes are a good bet for directions, but business people are good, too. Asking a random guy usually doesn’t yield any results.
First bucket shower today. Important lesson learned: be done ‘showering’ before the bucket is empty. Quite a few times I was standing in front of the bucket shower in Madagascar, but never really figured out how that was supposed to work. Only after leaving Madagascar I read about it. Easy enough now, even for me.
After the shower I had some food (veg. Pulao) and a chai, and then went for a stroll around the town of Wada. Only walked along the main road, but was the main attraction nonetheless. Need to explore smaller streets as well next time. I noticed that there were much more silk-wrapped chocolates (read: girls, thanks Seonie) out and about than in Mumbai. Quite a pleasant sight in their saris (traditional dresses).
When eating in a restaurant, the waiter fills my plate with the first portion, and even insists in doing so, and will also re-fill the plate as soon as it is empty. For some reason they don’t seem to do that for the other guests. First I thought that was just something they did in the somewhat posh hotel in Mumbai. But it happened in every place so far. Needs a bit of getting used to.