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ExploringRTW
29-10-07, 03:06
Back in India - 19th - 25th July

Both bikes and all passengers crossed back into India effortlessly. The imigration and import officials having a good understanding of what was required and acted fairly professionally. It was a new experience for Tom as this was his first time of crossing a border with another motorcyclist on this whole journey since he left Switzerland.

It was getting a bit late and Tom, Sylvia and I fell towards the natural progression for us all today of finding a Hotel, get some Dinner and discuss our respective next steps.

After getting some petrol, cash & finding a reasonable Hotel we went into the local town to find some Dinner. We’d taken the advice of a local boy who’s choice had been collaborated by his friends.

After finding the restaurant and parking the bikes we sat down to eat. What we hadn’t banked on was being treated like celebrities by the locals and people flocking round the bikes and us to get a glimpse of three travellers and their machines. The restaurant happened to be in the vicinity of an off-duty Policeman who fended them away from us and kept control over them as they inspected our bikes. We tried to reward him with a Chai but he didn’t seem to want anything. The restaurant wasn’t a restaurant as such and was more like a bakery serving deep-fried savoury items. We made the best of it we could and our hearts cried as we introduced yet more unhealthy fat into our systems washed down with full-fat Coke. We shook the Policeman’s hand to thank him and left for our Hotel.

We went back to our Hotel and Sylvia and I shared some Mango & Bananas with Tom that we’d bought in Nepal. About 10 mins after us all settling to eat the fruit the lights went out and the fan went off-Our first power cut back inIndia. We lit some candles and stayed up for about 30 mins and then decided to retire for the night.

Lying in bed Sylvia and I took a while to get off to sleep in the heat and humidty. At one point I considered taking a cold shower but never quite made it. At about 3am the lights came back on, just when you need them, and the fan started working again. In the end my sleep wasn’t that good but Sylvia said she’d had enough.

Looking through the Lonely planet guide the previous night/this morning I spotted Rishikesh, the world’s centre for Yoga, and a town that the Beatles had visited back in 1968 in their visit to the Ma Harishi .The main attraction though for Sylvia and I was the plentiful Internet terminals the town boasted. If all went well in organising our next leg we would have been able to join Tom in his high-riding adventure in the Indian mountains and Armish so he decided to stay with us. We all rode to Rishikesh and Tom decided to stay a few further days with us.

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Rishikesh, the centre for Yoga....and fog !!

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I asked the Brokers John & I used in Mumbai for a quote to ship my bike to Australia and continued to refine the spread-sheets I’d started in Nepal so we could analyse our costs properly. The quote coming back from the Brokers was very high and came in at $6,000, double what it’d cost John to ship home. Owwww-errrr !! I then asked them to give me a quote for the UK, they said the same as Australia. I referred to the $6,000 quote at which I discovered that they’d included two companies quotes for the actual shipping, and hence doubling the price. Even looking back at their e-mail again, it wasn’t clear.

So Sylvia and I spent a few days, much to the amusement and re-assurance of Tom, looking at our options.(Re-assurance to Tom as he himself had found himself re-considering and changing his own plans.) Our options were to fly the Dakar to Bangkok and tour east Asia for 6 months, to send the Dakar to Australia and tour Australia and NZ for 6 months, or send the Dakar home and buy a BMW Adventure in Australia for Australia & New Zealand. All three options had their respective merits but we finally decided on Australia/NZ as we wanted to return to Europe refreshed enough for finding work and starting a working life again.

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Tom, possibly attempting to advise us on what to do. He actually favoured continuing to Australia with the Dakar.

We both knew Asia would be lovely and interesting but also hard work. Having made that decision I decided to send the Dakar home. For all its reliability, ruggedness & economy in running it, it hadn’t inspired me for most of the trip and I didn’t want to spend the remaining 6 months not particularly enjoying the riding, especially with the huge distances involved in Australia. The trip for me was always about visiting other Countries/ Cultures AND riding the bike itself.

After countless hours on the Internet and visiting various German bakeries, Tom had decided for the third day running that it was definitely time for him to go(we could see he was serious this time as he’d packed his bike up !) and so we had one last breakfast at our favourite bakery and said farewell to him.

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Tom crossing back over the pedestrain bridge.

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The three of us after our German breakfast in one of the local bakeries.

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Tom finally leaves us.

Sylvia and I’s next job was to investigate how to obtain an Australian Visa, expecting to have to apply for it in Dehli. We were delighted to find out that for certain countries you can apply on line, and we were in those countries listed. We did however have one more consideration and that was of the expiry of my Indian Visa on the 6th August. The information on the immigration web-site for Australia led us to understand that turnaround was normally 2-3 days but could take as many as 10 and that we weren’t to book our flights yet. The current date was something around 25th July !! We waited 2 days and had no response. We looked on Expedia at the air-line availability one night on the way home from dinner. We were horrified to learn that there were no cheap flights left when we’d hoped to leave India and that the remaining ones were 1200 pounds each, instead of the 240 we’d seen the previous week. After about 10 mins of looking where the cheap flights were remaining we found one on the morning of the 6th, the actual expiry day of my Visa. Even though we didn’t have our Visa’s yet we couldn’t run the risk of losing the flight and/or having to pay so much more, and so we booked it !! We sweated a bit as we booked it but knew it made the most sense.

The following day I received confirmation of my Visa and so breathed a sigh of relief. Sylvia however had to wait a further day for her confirmation.

Mike.