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Bhatkal (Murudeshwar) to Panaji

130km (81 miles)

rain 23 °C
View India (Autorickshaw Rally) - 1 Aug to 15 Aug 08 on hilarywh's travel map.

Bhatkal – Facts
Pop 31,785
- Home of the Navayaths, a small yet significant sect among the Muslims.
- A large number of young Hafiz have committed the entire Holy Quran to memory.
- There are 38 large mosques in this small town.

Knackered in Karnataka
Being one of the first teams to arrive at the Karnataka / Goa border we are stopped by the border police and questioned. A demand to see our passports and relieve us of Rs 200 each was met with a show of defiance in the pouring rain. As we stood our ground, the Jokes of Hap Hazard, Two Tukkers in Tuxedos and Knight Riderz arrived and joined in the debate. Finally, overwhelmed by a confident but odd looking bunch of drowned foreigners (some of us in fancy dress), we were angrily waved on our way, passports and rupees still warm and dry in our bags. Not a good time for the newlyweds to break down but with a vigorous jump start Knight Riderz splutter to life and we make a hasty getaway.

All in the spirit of teamwork, I endure a good monsoon soaking trying to capture the all essential moving rickshaw video footage. As my team mates eventually slow down to allow me an opportunity to leap back in to our slow moving Tuk Tuk, they are suddenly distracted by 2 overtaking teams and unexpectedly take off in hot pursuit. Graham, omitting to mention my absence, allows Lindsay to drive a fair distance before she realises I am still missing!

Both participants and rickshaws are starting to show signs of fatigue today. After a wrong turn and a frustrating lengthy detour through the southern towns of Goa we are close to the capital Panaji when the engine dies to earth and slightly worrying clanking sounds. On further investigation, we realise that every nut and bolt has worked itself loose and dropped out on the uneven roads - the muffler, exhaust, air filter and just about everything else has become detached! The engine is quite literally on the brink of falling apart.

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With a stroke of luck it’s not raining so out come our well used 4 basic tools, a reel of garden wire and what’s left of the trusty gaffer tape. Lindsay and I set to work Blue Peter style and within 20 minutes the engine is a beautiful reconstructed work of art. We, on the other hand, are covered in grease and still admiring our handy work when the Mean Machine happen to pass. Words of praise from the all male team are relatively short lived when the start handle fails to get any life back into the engine. With a lot of pushing, a seriously concerning amount of back firing and the loudest exhaust ever heard from a 3 wheeler, we are on the move…slowly.

Lindsay deserts us for a slightly more peaceful ride with the accompanying team while their rickshaw snuggles up close behind and pushes us up the hill towards Panaji. Graham and I are unable to converse due to the extreme noise. People on the streets are frowning as we pass, holding their fingers firmly in their ears. We limp into the capital of Goa, our engine embarrassingly announcing our arrival and attracting a lot of attention.

The mechanics will have their work cut out for them tomorrow. I just hope there are enough hours to fix our Auto along with the other 17 Rickshaws, all no doubt in a similar sorry state of disrepair. We may need to devote some praying time to the divine protector of Auto-rickshaw drivers on our days rest tomorrow.

Shopping list in Goa: Gaffer tape, garden wire, 14 nuts, bolts and washers of varying shapes and sizes, 1 mechanic with a lot of time on his hands.

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Posted by hilarywh 06:56 Archived in India

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