Friday, 10 October 2014

Kolkata or Calcutta ...

What/s up ?? The post title should say enough ... I am broke down in Kolkata India waiting on UPS to deliver motorcycle parts. Its been an interesting two weeks , visiting consulates of Thailand, Myanmar, and Nepal ...I also paid a visit to the national museum, parks, malls, coffee shops, and of course the annual Hindu Durga Puja celebration .. It lasted 4 days ... lots of lights , music, food and people every where ...
I had intended on continuing travels north onto Kathmandu, Nepal,  then east towards Myanmar, but time is running out . October 30th I am entering Myanmar with 9 other riders . We are all on a guided trip thru the country into Thailand so I have no flexibility on dates. The stator on the BMW burnt up the first time in  South Africa ...and now in Calcutta.  It seems to me and most BMW owners, that its a bad design next to the exhaust pipes... and a very expensive fix ... The break down and time waiting for parts will mean no time in the Himalaya mountains, but I am happy it happened now instead of 1000 miles from now in Myanmar on a guided tour.
Over the course of travel I have also become a better mechanic able to repair or replace things like fuel pumps, stators, regulators, fork seals, steering bearings , cables, and wire or tape things up really good !!
If a hammer cannot fix it , its probably electrical !
Taking one's own car or motorcycle into Bangladesh is not really an option,  so the next two weeks I will do a loop around small country east towards the Myanmar border.
India can take some time to get used to, but if you are willing to laugh at things we might find odd, or different it can be a great place to visit. People are everywhere, never alone and always watching where you step !! Riding here  is an experience that  will make me happy when its over.  The country has a growing middle class and everyone wants there independence starting with a motorcycle or car.. making room for the added wheels every year creates a huge problem.. Cars driving right  towards me are normal, as are the many accidents I have witnessed.
Walking can have its hazards also .. a cow walking towards me yesterday did his business just as we passed each other .. the funny was,  we were both using the sidewalk :) ..
Kolkata now exceeds 14 million people , the  growth is amazing .. I see residential development projects that make anything in Seattle look small. Growth rates averaging 6% require new housing to be built to house almost 100,000 new people every year .. Elevated roads are being built, trains and public transport all keep things moving..
The down time in the city has allowed me to rest and eat better than I had been . I have always liked spicy food, but India puts a whole new twist on SPICY ... be careful if making a visit .