Final party & magic stories from the Maharaja Palace

 

Shortly after arriving, we check into this wonderful hotel nearby. I jump into the deliciously cool pool and paddle about. 2 guys from one of the Norwegians team are also here – they work for a TV production firm that covers the rickshaw run, to be broadcast in 5 parts later on – however only in Norwegian.

After the swim, Stephan and I put on our finest for the big party – which has already begun. Teams were asked to put on clothes they wore during the trip or bought in India – we decide after carrying our cave-man costumes right accross India – that this is what we are going to wear tonight. The following pictures were taken at the finish line:

Then it´s off to the party – which is happening in a real maharajas palace, turned into a hotel – however managed to this day by the current maharaja.

The party is happening in the wonderfully oriental gardens of the hotel. Each team is welcomed with a flower garland and receives a bindi, the traditional lucky charm in form of a red dot on the forehead.

All the teams showed up in traditional Indian clothes, we admire beautiful turbans and capes.

A traditional Indian band is playing, there are fire eaters and fantastic fireworks, an Indian buffet that suits the incredible location as well as lovely drinks.The best part, however, are the many stories we swap with the other teams, there was one that drove their rickshaw all the way to Kathmandu in Nepal – they had a lot less problems with their Tuk.

After that, there are prices for those teams that went especially far or managed some other, outstanding achievement. First price, 2 golden camels, went to us (surprise!) for the best fitted rickshaw of this years Rickshaw Run. This came as a real surprise as we had already gotten first price at the beginning-of-the-run-party for our costumes.

On the dance floor we danced away all exertion until at 1 am, the party moved to the hotel pool and one could see bodies jumping in wearing or not wearing clothes – take a look yourselves:

 

 

 

 

Posted in Allgemein | 3 Comments

End of our adventure. Finally: Jaisalmer

We have finally arrived – after 10 hours drive – we reach the Rajastani desert town of Jaisalmer.
This is what happened on our last leg of this epic journey:

We left our hotel in Ajmer at 5 a.m. 
For the first time on this trip, we manage to get going this early.  
When we arrived last night at about 1.30 in the morning, we discovered to our surprise, that another team from Canada hat parked their Tuk Tuk at the same hotel. Before leaving, we spruced up their Tuk with a couple of our „Zefant“ stickers. Then we haul ourselves into the early morning traffic of Ajmer. At the outskirts of town, Stephan stops to check the oil. We drink another roadside sweet chai and leave the town behind. It´s hilly and our Tuk is slowly crawling up the inclines.

From just above the town, we have a lovely view of the many marble quarries. The light blue material is used for building houses as well as making wonderful sculptures. 

 

 

From here we continue to Jaisalmer.

The early morning temperature hits 30 degrees centigrade and we realize that we are in the desert – and not just because of the heat:

During the day we often see people waving colourful flags as well as small tent-cities, churning out loud music.

 They are celebrating a festival to honour a deity. Since in India there are more than 10.000 deities to be worshiped, we try to imagine how many festivals there must be, if all of them were revered equally….

When ever we pass people celebrating these festivals, people greet us enthusiastically friendly and give us surprised looks – especially when they notice our “Zefant”.

On the road, we get overtaken by another team and after a short chat, we carry on, noticing how much faster their Tuk is going than ours.

 

 
 

It takes only a few seconds before they are just a black dot off in the distance.
At lunch time we spot a second team: one of them rides behind a police man on a motorbike, the other one in a taxi-rickshaw. Both of them sport bandages on their arms. Just before finishing, they unfortunately overlooked one of the countless speed bumps, quite common outside schools and hospitals. They hit it, doing 50 km/h, taking flight in their Tuk and crashing it. They just came out of hospital, having suffered nothing more seriouse than a number of bruises as well as skin taken off their arms. They were on their way to the nearest police station to fill in paperwork. 2 hours later, they actually overtake us in their accident-streamlined rickshaw. The entire frame has been erodynamically pushed back, there is no wind screen and some struts have simply been torn off. It proves what we know already: a rickshaw is indestructable – the continue on!
Just before reaching Jaisalmer, we are stoped one last time on the road by the fun loving occupants of a snazy BMW320 – they take the obligatory pictures of us and our „Zefant“.

 We count the kilometers with every road sign and hope our ever slowing rickshaw will make it through.
 
It is nearly 5.30 pm when we finally arrive in Jaisalmer and cross the finish line.
When we took this shot on the finish line, unbelievable but true, a Norwegian team overtook us….how absurd.
When we reached the actual final destination though, they are nice and let us pass first.
Stephan enters us as team number 61 arriving at the finish line in Jaisalmer.
 
Vikash from “The Adventurists” presents us with our certificates of participation. This is the end of our epic journey.
 

 

Posted in Allgemein | Comments Off

On to Jaisalmer!

….just a short bit of info from the tuktuk front….

after a long series of visits to workshops in Agra, Jaipur and Ajmer where we had the clutch, carborator and breaks fixed, we are now totally set on travelling the last leg of our journey from Jodphur to Jaisalmer. This is why we drove till 1 am last night on roads beyond description, racing through the Rajasthan night traffic. When we finally picked a hotel for the night and drove into the yard to park, we had a lovely surprise awaiting us: another tuktuk there, belonging to a Canadian team!
We got up at 5.30 this morning and there are 300 long kilometers ahead of us today which we will bravely attack….

If you were wondering why there aren´t any pictures posted lately, do not worry, we took literally hundreds of funny, interesting and exciting fotos on our travels lately, hoping to be able to post them in the next couple of days. Without much ado, I run off now, Stephan is already reving the engine!

Posted in Allgemein | 1 Comment

Agro getting to Agra

Hello my dear readers.
Last night, we finally arrived in Agra and are now sitting high up, on the roof top terrace of our hotel, ready to share with you our latest adventures. On my right, as you can see on the photo below, is the Taj Mahal – in all it´s splendid beauty. Our rooftop terrace is, without exageration, the highest all around and allowes us a simply wonderful view of this phenomenal structure.

20120919-110526.jpg

 

Below us, Indian traffic is in full swing, with hongking horns and ringing bells of countless small vehicles . Luckily, there are no trucks, as their horns are brutally loud, due to the simple fact that the alleys here are too narrow for them. We are really enjoying our day „off“, lazing up on the terrace without sparing a thought to driving or fixing our rickshaw. We had a lovely breakfast of banana pancakes and ginger tea – what more could we ask for?!

 

Here comes our report of yesterdays adventures. The usual morning routine gets us started, with squeezing our big suitcase into the rickshaw, checking out of the hotel in Kanpur and getting ready to go to Agra. With the help of the hotel staff as well as the watch man, we push start the rickshaw. It´s quite a spectacle in this small yard and takes several tries before it finally puffs into life. After each unsuccessful try, the rickshaw gets pushed back to the starting point and it starts all over again. Some hotel guests have come to watch, with grins on their faces and after the third try, we are away, weaving through morning traffic, heading for the highway to Agra. It´s been the same procedure for the last couple of days. We put in a short stop to get a blessing from one of the many sadhus which can be found collecting alms in the mornings.

20120919-112802.jpg

Right from the start we notice that our Tuk doesn´t seem to want to go anywhere today. We manage to hit top speed at 25 km/h. Fourth gear refuses to work alltogether, even though we drove in it most of the way so far. After about an hour, Stephan stops at a small workshop. The manager personally changes our spark plugs and cleans the air filter, adjusts the carburator and indicates that this should improve things greatly. After a short test run without much improvement, we carry on in a crawl. After two more hours, in which we covered a mere 30 km, we stop at another work shop. The mechanic here takes apart the carburator, cleans the nozzle, checks spark plugs and air filter and gets exactely the same result as the last one. We drive on in deep frustration, knowing that we´d have to wait till the next big city, hopefully finding a rickshaw expert there to solve our problem. At one of our many fuel stops (the rickshaw uses approx. 6 liters per 70 km), Stephan finally finds the reason for all our troubles: the suspension of the tank shifts during driving and partly blocks the fuel from reaching the carburetor. We use a tension belt to secure the tank and now the motor propells us forward with the lightening speed of 50 km/h. The final 200 km to Agra just whiz by in a blur.

20120919-140126.jpg20120919-140222.jpg20120919-140237.jpg

20120919-140252.jpg

20120919-140438.jpg

20120919-140457.jpg

20120919-140516.jpg

20120919-140535.jpg

20120919-140606.jpg

20120919-140636.jpg

20120919-140619.jpg

20120919-140728.jpg

20120919-140753.jpg

20120919-140741.jpg

20120919-140818.jpg

20120919-140049.jpg

20120919-140552.jpg

Posted in Allgemein | 4 Comments

First Day from Shillong to Guwahati

Hello dear friends,

Sunday morning, we saddle up our “Zefant”, start up the generator to fill up the battery, which runs our most important piece of electric equipment: our multi sound horn including a large variety of other sounds and melodies, including a 150 watt amplyfier – supposedly the only way to get even with those blasting horns of trucks – as well as powering our radio, extra headlights, computer and telephone.

The other teams, staying at the same hotel, are also packing up their rickshaws – compared with us, they hardly seem to have any luggage.

Wir are running late, arriving on the grounds of the Shillong Club, from where the race will start. Almost all the teams are here alredy and there is a fair bit of shouting going on when they see us arrive – we seem to attract the crowd and lots of pictures of us, dressed up as cavemen, as well as our rickshaw are taken.

Spirits rise even higher when we retaliate with a group shot of the crowd taking pictures of us:

After a few speaches by the organizors of the race, as well as local ministers, one team after the other departs from the club at about 1 pm and get on their way to Guwahati.

Only after a few meters, the first break down, some others we catch up with at the next petrol station where everyone is filling up their rickshaws: 8.5 litres including reserve tank. We skipped the long line at the petrol station as we luckily had filled up from our jerry cans before.

Driving appears pretty straight forward, and we have Jenika from the local phone shop with us  for an hour, hitching a ride to her parents house. They run a small cafe besides the main road. We get introduced to all the family and get served up the best coffee of the trip, in small plastic cups. Other teams arrive in time and also praise the coffee. After a while we set off again, the road has lots of bends and I am extra careful, not being able to judge yet how our fully loaded Tuk will deal with the road. On straight parts, we speed up to 50 km/h and slow down to an agonizing crawl on the steep parts.

In the villages, we meet surprised faces, often turning into instant laughter when we wave at them. Especially the children seem to enjoy seing us, reaching out to us and giving us high fives while we drive past them.

Overall, the road is surprisingly good, although it can just as quickly turn into a pothole nightmare, which we navigate with our three wheels in slow motion.

Passing vehicles sport mobile phones, held by passengers taking pictures of us – sometimes we even stop to have our foto taken with them.

We stop in a village with an ATM and half of the population immidiately starts fotographing us – we shake countless hands and pose for even more fotos – it gets hard to get away again…..

After five and a half hours we finally reach our hotel in Guwahati – Stephan navigating through evening traffic along very narrow roads. We did a total of 130 km today.

Posted in Allgemein | 6 Comments

(Deutsch) Multikulturelle Launchparty

Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

Posted in Allgemein | 2 Comments

finally on board

The first shall be the last…. Therefore we where the first ones asked to get on board:

Washing the A380

Our small stools for the next 6 hours

 

We had to pay for the upgrade, so we worked in the in-plane bar

 

The stewardess obviously liked our work

After a 6h shift at the bar we landed in Dubai and after a short stop we go ton the flight to Kalkutta – a bit smaller than an A380. Since there was no bar, we kept being unemployed and therefore overslept the whole flight.

In Kalkuttawe had to rcognize that the Indians could handle the luggage 1000x better than the guys at the airport Munich. In record time of 1 hour we got the luggage and had it dropped back to Jet Airway. Up to Guwahati.

In the Lonely Planet guide there is a helicopter service from Guwahati to Shillong described – at unbelievable 1200 Rupees (17 Euros) at 45mins flight time. We already dreamed about landing in the hotel parking lot with the helicopter – that would have been the show!

But after walking into all and even the dustiest corners of the ariport areal, we had to accept that all seven seats of the potentially scheduled helicopter were already given away. Maybe thats  luck – the Lonely Planet states: “Helicopter flights in india have a very bad crash statistics” -but for the show we would surely have accepted that…

So we had to cope with a simple and microscopically small taxi instead, which drove us for those 120 km to Shillong in 4.5 h.

Our heavy luggage requires the whole airport staff to prepare the taxi

Posted in Allgemein | 4 Comments

lost and found

Nach einer Stunde mit Meli, der nettesten LH-Mitarbeiterin am Münchner Flughafen, hielten wir nun unsere neuen Boardkarten in der Hand.

Wir haben uns für die Fluggesellschaft Emirates entschieden, um dem LH Streik ein für allemal zu entrinnen. Allerdings mussten wir nun unser Gepäck selbst vom Gepäckband abholen und ins andere Terminal bringen, um es am Emirates Schalter wieder aufzugeben. Mit 4,5 h bis zum Abflug sollte dies kein Problem sein

Was einfach klang entwickelte sich letztendlich zum Albtraum:

Hier unsere “Timeline” (nichts für Ungeduldige):

Anzeige “Gepäck in 18 Minuten” 30 Minuten
Anzeige “Gepäck verspätet” 30 Minuten
Nachfrage am Schalter – Vertröstung 30 Minuten

Lost and Found Büro Telefonat: Gepäck sollte schon längst ausgegeben worden sein.Wir sollten nochmal warten, wir hätten noch genügend Zeit bis zum Abflug

20 Minuten

Dann endlich, das erste unserer vier Gepäckstücke erschien, Aufatmen unsererseits, weiteres Warten, aber nichts passierte

15 Minuten
Also wieder zurück zum Lost and Found: weitere Telefongespräche, weiteres Warten 15 Minuten

Zu unserem Erschrecken, persönliche Identifikation unserer Koffer + Taschen auf Symboltabelle und Hinweis auf Nachschicken in spätesten zwei Tagen

 

10 Minuten

Nach unserem Hinweis auf Wechsel von Fluggesellschaft und 130 km Taxi zum Zielort,Stirnrunzeln und Schweissperlen auf Stirn des Bearbeiters,weitere Telefonate und eine letzte Warteaufforderung

15 Minuten
Endlich, Gepäckband lief an und unsere drei Gepäckstücke erschienen, Zeit bis zum Abflug nur noch 1h 40 Minuten 10 Minuten
Hürdenlauf mit je 50 kg Gepäck pro Läufer ins Terminal 1 10 Minuten
Schweißnaß am Emirates Schalter angekommen und Gepäck auf Band geworfen 10 Minuten
An Sicherheitskontrolle vorgedrängelt, kurzer Snack in der Luxus Business Lounge eingeworfen und nach 20 Minuten Flugzeug geentert. 40 Minuten
Großes Erstaunen: A380-800, Gigant der Lüfte und wir in der Businessklasse, gesponsert von HM-Touristik, dem tollsten Reisebüro der Welt!
Posted in Allgemein | 2 Comments