200km (124 miles)
04.08.2008 - 04.08.2008 25 °C
Vellore - Facts
- Too soon to be ill but home to one of the finest hospitals in India.
- Also home of the ‘New Life Centre’, a Rehabilitation Centre for people who have been treated and cured of leprosy.
If you ever have a crazy desire to drive any kind of vehicle in India, here are some useful facts to bear in mind while on the road:
- Cows have the right of way.
- Honk your horn as much as possible.
- Don’t even pretend to mess with trucks or buses.
- Concentrate only on the traffic you can see in front of you.
- Don't be alarmed if pedestrians sleep on the edge of the road. There is nothing wrong, they are just resting.
Today we more than make up for yesterdays failed school visit by being the first team to arrive at Sri Ramakrishna Aided Middle School in Kosapet. This was not such a good thing however as the few hundred initially well behaved children suddenly become uncontrollably excited wanting to shake our hands, get us to write our names in their exercise books and have their photo’s taken…all at the same time. Wilting in the heat entertaining the children with our umpteenth rendition of ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, I have never been so pleased to see the arrival of another team - Batman and Robin, our true Superhero’s.
Later that morning as we pull in for one of many fuel stops, we watch our rear tyre deflate before our very eyes. For the second time that day, Batman and Robin came to our rescue…almost. Locating a spare wheel from a fellow Tuk Tuk, they tip the auto and replace the wheel in minutes, with another flat one! We are becoming accustomed to roadside breakdowns and the patience they require so once again we have no choice but to sit and wait for further help as we wave the convoy on.
With a long day’s driving ahead of us we have ample time to improve our skills. It’s one thing attempting to dodge pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, small cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, cows, dogs and other rickshaws 4 deep on a 2 lane road, but it can only be described as utter madness and total chaos when any one of these start heading towards us, against the traffic in our lane…!
Stopping for a chapatti lunch at the side of the road we are greeted by the locals with amusement as they wave a Chennai newspaper at us featuring our picture. A while later when we ask to buy the newspaper, it seems it has been used to wrap food now being consumed in a nearby village. Fifteen minutes later the newspaper reappears and is excitedly handed over, still warm from the food it has contained. No money would be accepted for the exchange or the effort.
Due to the recent bombings in Bangalore the police won’t allow the rally to enter the city this evening for fear of provoking further attacks. More likely an attempt to encourage a bribe from the organisers but nevertheless, alternative accommodation for 40 odd people is found on the city outskirts. After a very long day we are quietly relieved that the Bangalore traffic will be postponed for another day.
School children handshakes: 437
Text books signed: 292