Udiapur to Gokarna

hi all,
so after saying our sad good byes to Matt Rob and me spent one more day in Udiapur and then took the same bus as Matt  (to Mumbia) the following day. it was defiantly a sad goodbye, ive always considered Matt one of my best friends and with this shared
experience we have had i see him as my brother, and have valued him as a travel partner over the last year although i wasnt always the best at letting him know it. So Matt take care of yourself make the best of the new adventures awaiting you back home and thanks for an amazing time.the bus ride was long but we both managed to sleep through alot of it and in the morning we were dropped off on a
random street in the centre of Mumbia. after unloading our bikes we found a reasonably price hotel (not easy in Mumbia) dumped our stuff and went for a wonder. Mumbia is a strange place, the centre feels very un indian, the city is kept very clean and there are very few beggars. which seems to leave it with abit of an identity struggle. the centre is westernised but 5 minutes cycle ride and your in the slums. and the polarisation of wealth is quite shocking, the proximity of the very rich and the very poor makes the difference seem even more extreme and unjust.though some good research on robs behalf we found we could take a ferry off the MUmbia peninsula to the arabia sea coast, which ment cutting off over 100km of horrible city riding. the following day we cycled to the ferry port, had our photo taken by the Gate way of India and left MUmbia or the beaches.the ferry dropped us off and after carrying our bikes up the steps to the wharf we cycled south, in a totally new climate to the on we left behind. we had reached the tropics..the temperature and humidity where high…which can mean only one thing, topples ridding (which we did not knowing the coastal region was Muslim…even when we worked it out we still didnt mind, far to hot to worry about cultural insensitities). we camped that night behind a sea wall in some forest and went to sleep with the sounds of crickets and other nocturnal insects. in the morning we went for our first swim in the Arabian sea before we set off. during the day we heard of a ferry (launch) the would take us across the river and cut out a days riding. the ferry took us across the mouth of an estuary and on the other side we got supplies and the cycled over the hills blocking our way tot he beach. it was getting late by then and we were both tired and hungry but the friendly waves from the local women collecting the evening water from the wells gave us extra energy to get to the beach an camp. we found an amazing beach, no tourism and only a few local wondering around. putting up our tents and using our stove and really just being two gringos attracts attention and after a long day its hard to have the energy to answer the same questions and smile and be polite. unwittingly we discovered a helpful way of retaining our peace and quiet. a group of men came over and stood and stared at us (nothing unusual) not saying anything or ecknowledge our presence just staring. so we carried on as normal, which included
changing out of our cycling shorts (getting naked) the indians reaction was perfect. in shock the stand and stare curiously at their naked fellow gender… after about 2 seconds, you can see the slow realisation that they are staring at a naked man and although curious its something that makes them feel uncomfortable, and with that they turn abruptly and start walking away. as they retreat they take a few sneaky looks back struggling with the curiosity. its hilarious and worked a treat every time,
we are both very thankful for discovering it.
we had to leave the coast the next day and head inland. it was alot hotter away from the sea breeze and at the top of every hill climb i was dripping with sweat. by the afternoon we realised we would reach the coast again untill morning so we looked for a spot to camp. descending a hill we both spotted a reservoir and though it would make a good spot to swim and wash and camp. ew had to go through a small village, where we filled up on water from the well. its crazy the wells are left uncovered so all sorts of detritus can end up floating around, just a siple thing like covering the well could imporve the standard of living alot. a pretty girl filled up mine and robs water bottles with an old oil container, and smiled and waved at us as we went ot find a camp spot. we swam and washed in the reservoir which was no ocean but still nice. as we set up camp a friendly guy came over who spoke excellent english and chatted with us for 15, then warned us about the snakes and left us to our evening routine.

the next afternoon we were back on the beach, from the top of a hill saw the perfect beach to camp on. on the beach however it didnt look so nice, but we couldnt be bothered to move. as we were setting up a man came over and sheepishly told us we should camp there, i asked why not and he replied in a mysterious tone that he could tell me. that response flared my curiosity so i probed further (imagining stories of dispersing campers and strange goings on) turns out he just though there were bad people around and it was dangerous. rob said it was fine and if anyone came he had a machete to defend himself. he didnt but he though just incase the guy was scopping us out to come and steal our stuff at night he might think twice if he though we had a machete. Any way the only thing that troubled us in the night was the encroaching spring tide. in the morning we noticed we where on an island and had narrowly missed being soaked.

the next camp spot was even worse, a beautiful beach but unfortunately not big enough. we had a half rest ady there and spent the afternoon on the beach swimming and relaxing. in the evening we put our tents about the high tide mark, but not learning from the previous night and all of my previous experience of camping on beaches we didnt leave enough room fro a comfortable nights sleep. in fact around 1 am i woke up to the sea lapping at Robs tent. so we moved all our gear over the sea wall and into a lumpy field behind. in the morning we descovered the sea wouldnt have got us but i would have been very close.

we had 15km to do in the morning to get us to a launch, which was going to cut off 70km. when we got to the launch we were told there wasnt one for 5 hours.  Rob wandered around the village trying to find a private boat to take us, and i sat and watched the bikes. as i was concentrating on minding the bikes and fully laden bike rolled up, then another and another, 6 in total, a group of friends from belgium on a 2 week cycling holiday, who were also trying to get across the river. they have more buying power than me and rob and had a boat reading with in 15minutes. after the launch we cycled on until the afternoon untill we found a beach. learning from the previous two nights we looked long and hard at the beach and both decided not to risk it, and instead camp in a field behind the beach.

we spent a few more days cycling down the coast before we got to Goa. it was a stunning cycling good roads, and beautiful scenery, and swims to start and end the day, and star gazing at night. it felt pretty perfect.

we reach Goa in the morning and had 15km to do to get to our first planned spot (Arunbol). when we arrived we went straight to a cafe and drank a beer and ate, and it felt good. it was abit of a wired place, and it was neither of our cups of tea. we did meet a cool english couple and we cycle out of goa back north to a beach called Paradise. we camped there for a night and had a fire and drank beer and enjoyed being with good english people.

we left Arunbol after a few days and started the cycle south to Gokarna to meet Matt and C and S. it was a late start by the time we had breakfast with the english couple and i had to repair a fantom puncture. we still managed 85km where we wanted to stop to check out the ship that had run aground and was to expensive to be brken up so its just left there. we dragged our bikes onto the beach to see the ship, and we were welcomed like celebrities firstly just indians but then some westerners came up and chatted to us. one woman told me i made her proud to be british which is funny because later on that evening the people we met in that town made me very ashamed to be british. we ended still on the beach when the sun dropped so we decide to look for a hotel. we found a cheap one and out neighbours where form London. we ended up agreeing to for a drink with the daughter and her firend…big mistake we had to endure a evening with Vicky pollard, and then to top it off we met (rather they forced themself on to our table) a couple for Manchester who were the inspiration for ‘Shamless’.

in the morning we got up and left early and we werent sorry to leave. after we stopped for lunch my gear cable snapped and i couldnt fix it after spending an hour by the side of the road. so i had to cycle the rest of the day with only one gear, which wasnt so bad just meant i had to push up a couple of hills. that evening we got to a small town and decide to stay there for the night.

in the morning i trie to take my gear shifter apart, and it turned out a part of the gear cable had sheared off inside the shifter and was jammed. i manage to remove the cable buy in taking it apart i realised i had no idea how to put it back together. so i took the other shifter apart to try and retrace my steps but i was still none the wiser. so now both my shifters werent working and i had lost the coolest part of the day for cycling.  i decided i had to get going if i was going to get to gokarna that day and i would just put up with the one gear (and as Rob said if i did make it to Gokarna in one day with one gear i should feel suitably proud of myself). Rob decided he was going to stay there one more night so it was to be my first day cycling alone and it felt good. after 30km i met a Scotish couple coming the other way who were cycling up the coast of india, we chatted for a while but i still had a long way to go, so we shared tips of the roads ahead and then sai our goodbyes. after another 20km i stopped for lunch and met a swiss guy who was cycling around the coast of india to nepal (he started in Kabul ….nut job). we were both heading the same way so he suggested we cycle together, i was ken stay alone as it was my first day, but couldnt say not. after cycling for a while he came alongside me and we chatted, he explained about his last crash with a lorry. as he tried to show off his fresh scars he shifted his weight on the handle bars which made him completely loose his balance and crash into me. i coushened him and he managed to stabilise himself but i was was going down. i hit the tarmac fairly gently and slid with the last of my momentum. i was a fine and kind of enjoyed the rush of adrenaline and the fact that it was my first proper crash in 11 months… i was starting to build up a bit of a fear about coming off, the less it happens the scarier it is. he was really apologetic and kept asking if i had pain anywhere. it was pretty funny causing me to crash because he was explaining about his crash and to have my first accident in 12months and it be caused by a fellow cycle tourist.

we cycled to gether untill the turn off for Gokarna, where we swapped details and went our separate  ways. it was getting dark and i still had 10km to do, so i put my lights on and got exited for the home stretch. i got given the wrong directions and ended up going 6km out of my way. by the time i found the top of the beach i was nakered, and i loads of pain from the sweat running into all my sores, i needed a shower and some food. the only way down to the beach was down a steep path  with big steps, and when i got down to the beach i had to drag my bike across the sand before i found the others.

eventually i found Matt and C and S and we at and the listened carefully as i unloaded my first day of cycling alone. and then i was my turn to hear about their life for the last few weeks. it was great to see them again and good to see Matt looking good and ready to get back to england. we spent a few days together and then on the morning Matt was to leave we cycle with him to the bus and said our last sad goodbye.

so now C and S have gone to Varanasi and i am still here in Gokarna waiting to think of a plan of where to go and what to do, not easy now all decisions are down to me and no one else.

sorry for the long delay with the blogs, its a common theme that all blogs end in India, but i and determined to be the exception to the rule, they just might take a while in the making.

thanks for being patient

lots of love

jack

6 Comments »

  1. han said,

    These blogs are getting way too emotional for me!!!! Cant belive your time together has come to an end, who would of thought after standing there that day listening to the two of you arguing just before you were about to leave you would of lasted this long and made it this far, well done guys you did good!!!!!!
    I hope you keep them up Jack, they really are a great read and something to give me to do rather than college work, not that i need an excuse!!
    Miss you loads, be careful and keep in touch, (we know you dont like to use modern technology but its nice to hear from you!) Anyway lots and lots of love always from the 3 of us XxX

  2. Aunti Sue and John said,

    Hi Jack

    ‘Body to die for?’

    You look well and enjoying yourself.

    Your grandmothers maiden name was Orr?

    Filled in any job application forms recently?

    Is China still on your intinary?

    Do you think you will ever come back?

    Our best wishes

    As and J x

  3. Matt Green said,

    Lovely bit of reading………apart fromn the spelling obviously, tell me where exactly is mumbia, is it anywhere near MUMBAI? haha, speak soon brother, take it easy.x

  4. mum and marg said,

    Well on your own now Jack gives us a bit more to worry about!
    you must keep the blog going it will be something for you to look back on when you are old and I’m sure the 2 of you could make a film/write a book about your adventures.
    Stay safe
    lots of love MM&T
    xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. polly said,

    hi jackie boy!!!
    great blog, i could help you with your decisions if ya like!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1.come back!
    2.get a job!!!!!!!!!!!
    then maybe get married and have a couple of kids!!!!!
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA do ya reckon everyone else wanted to write that or what!!!!!
    it would be lovely to know roughly when we might see you again, anyway hope all the cuts and bruises have healed oh and no wonder about all the tummy problems!
    take care mate xxx

  6. sara said,

    Hola melon!!!
    Que suerte seguir`por ahi….pedaleando!!!!
    Os echo mucho de menos!!!
    Mil besos y cuidate mucho
    Sara


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